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3 Key Imperatives for Customer Experience in the Digital Age

As customers, we see for ourselves how our experiences and expectations have changed over the years. Today, customers are engaged at a deeper level with any business and they expect a seamless experience. Customer experience is a key differentiator in today’s digitized world. A research by Harvard Business Review1 has indicated that business leaders believed customer experience was the second most critical differentiator for their business, after the quality of their products and services. Digital has also created massive disruptions in the way business and our lives are conducted today. With increasing penetration of digital, particularly through the mobile devices, there are some challenges as well as opportunities.

The concept of customer experience has changed with changing customer expectations with regards to products and services, their delivery, and how an organization communicates. As customers, we buy through several channels, make purchase decisions based on social media influencers, and also give feedback through digital channels. So, the manufacturer or service providers’ interaction with the customer is multi-channel and multi-fold.

While the impact of digital on any business is stupendous, not many organizations have figured out what exactly they need to do. Here are 3 key imperatives that can be leveraged to brace for the digital impact:

  • Make the customer the focus of your products and services

    For a great customer experience, an ‘outside in’ view is essential. Organizations must understand in-depth how the customers experience their products and services. In order to focus on customer centricity, there needs to be willingness to undertake a paradigm shift in the organization’s operations, supply chain, marketing, and finance. Take the example of CEMEX USA2. The company has completely revamped its operations while making significant improvements to the up and down supply chain. By leveraging customer engagement, they have turned their commodity business into a customer centric one.

  • Leverage technology extensively to provide a unified customer experience

    There are several ways in which technology can be leveraged to provide superior and personalized customer experience. Organizations must focus on key areas to delivery technology led customer experience including enabling channels such as social media and mobile to create a unified experience. In the digital world, the customer remains the same, but the proliferation of social media and mobility has radically changed their behavior and preferences. There is no longer a linear pattern in customer decision making, customer retention, and loyalty. Technology is available today to integrate communication channels such as social media, emails, phones, and other mass media to provide a better and targeted customer experience.

  • Harness analytics to improve customer experience

    With new technology, there is also abundance of data available to any organization to gain a deeper understanding of their customer preferences, thus helping organizations to improve customer retention and loyalty. Organizations have access to several types of data—both internal and external. Leveraging predictive analytics to understand customer feedback, requirements, and behavior can help organizations design their customer experience strategies accordingly. Digital offers organizations several opportunities to tweak the customer experience in real time. Organizations can move to a data and analytics driven process that helps continuously measure the outcomes and improve customer experience.

    Being digital is only one of the critical elements in providing better customer experience. Organizations must leverage digital technologies to provide their customers with a unique, differentiated, yet satisfactory customer experience.

1 https://hbr.org/resources/pdfs/comm/verizon/HBR_Report_Verizon_CX_Oct2015_fl.pdf

2 http://www.sap.com/bin/sapcom/en_us/downloadasset.2014-08-aug-08-20.inquiry-4-ways-to-make-customer-experience-the-heart-of-your-business-pdf.bypassReg.html

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