Customer experience and digital transformation are both key phrases in today’s business climate. The definition of customer experience, sometimes referred to as CX, is the emotional connection companies make with customers over the entire course of the relationship. This requires businesses to constantly think of new ways to surprise and delight customers rather than make them feel frustrated or confused.
Digital transformation differs from customer experience in several important ways. While both strategies aim to please the customer, those engaged in CX act on more of a personal level by getting to know what customers truly desire. With digital transformation, companies apply technologies such as data analytics, mobile, and smart embedded devices to improve customer relationships and the way that companies conduct business. While one strategy is uniquely human, the other relies on machines. It’s important not to confuse the two or assume that digital transformation is more important.
"Human insight, not digital transformation, is the most important piece in the customer experience endeavor. Digital transformation plays a vital role as wingman."
- source: CMS Wire, "Don't Confuse Digital Transformation with Customer Experience"
Customer Centricity Must Come First
Far too many businesses still put the company’s needs first when introducing a new product or service to the marketplace. Company leaders arrange press releases and interviews to discuss the benefits of the product or service and what it can do for customers without truly understanding their needs.
A customer centric business, on the other hand, understands at a deep level how customers will use the product or service along with the impact it will have on their lives. Customer needs, not company needs, should be the first place any business starts. Design thinking, an innovative approach that allows businesses to grow organically and bring actual value to customers, is something to seriously consider as well.
Deliver Customer Experiences Using the Preferred Channel
Providing customers with what they want and when they want it is only part of the equation when it comes to an excellent CX. It’s also essential to know the customer from a 360-degree view, anticipation what their needs will be and knowing their preferences. For example, email and direct mail were the top choices for consumers in the past. Today, a customer might expect to obtain their experience through voice or social media. Smart marketers stay ahead of the trends and offer new ways to provide an excellent CX long before the competition does.
Never Overlook the Power of Empathy
Having a strong sense of empathy means that people can see situations from points of view other than their own. This is especially important when it comes to creating a memorable CX as well as creating a positive working environment that motivates employees to go above and beyond for the customer. According to research published by Salesforce, professionals who learn to actively listen to others and respond appropriately perform better in nearly every area of work. Some of these include planning, decision-making, organizing, coaching, and engaging with others.
If this strategy works so well in a sales office, imagine how it can play out with customers. When they feel listened to and respected, customers are much more likely to trust the company enough to follow through with a purchase. Repeating the empathy experience each time ultimately leads to customer loyalty more than any type of technological advancement could do.