You can go through the regular TSA line, or fill out an application and pay a small fee to be able … [+]
The biggest challenge facing business today is how to engage and connect with customers more effectively. Organizations must look for innovative solutions if they hope to stand out from their competition and find success. We want our customers to say, “Wow! Thank you!” While the concept of Wow may seem daunting, it’s not really about the Wow. It’s about creating a consistent and predictable experience—one that is easy as well as personalized.
I had the opportunity to meet with Matt Gillin, the co-founder and CEO of Relay Network, a CRM customer service and support platform that creates a personalized customer experience. Gillin believes the most powerful customer experience is one that creates a one-to-one dialogue, whether it’s through technology (bots, AI, etc.) or a traditional human connection. Gillin says, “The world is now on-demand and highly personalized. The secret of the game is to make it easy and frictionless.”
That statement covers three important areas of a customer experience strategy:
1. On-Demand – When customers want something, they want it now. Think of the cable TV channel that offers on-demand programming. You don’t have to wait for it to come on. You don’t have to record it to watch later. You just decide what you want and turn it on. Or think of Amazon—it created a system that lets you order something without even opening the computer. You just say, “Alexa, please order more dishwashing detergent,” and the next day (sometimes sooner) it shows up on your doorstep.
2. Personalization – This is a hot topic today. Customers don’t want to feel like an account number. They want a tailored, personalized experience that is about them—and only them. People are unique individuals who want to be recognized for that individuality. Relay Network’s clients can deliver a “feed,” similar to a news feed or Twitter feed, that is 100% personalized to each customer. Once the customer has shared certain information and given permission, the company can provide content based on his or her needs and interests. This highly personalized interaction is what keeps customers coming back.
3. Frictionless – If you’ve been following my work, you know I’m a big fan of the end-to-end frictionless experience. I even wrote a book, The Convenience Revolution, that focuses on six convenience principles. The first principle is reducing friction. People will pay for this. Consider the security lines at the airport. You can go through the regular TSA line, or fill out an application and pay a small fee to be able to go through the TSA Pre✓® line, which is typically shorter and more efficient. Spend a little more money on CLEAR and you even get to cut in front of the TSA Pre✓® line. Convenience often makes price less relevant, and the company with the easiest experience will win.
These three concepts may seem simple in theory, but as I always say, “Simple does not mean easy.” For example, remember when airlines started pushing online reservations over calling the reservations center? Some customers felt this self-service solution was a way for airlines to cut employees just to save money. Airlines had to educate their passengers and offer incentives to get them to try the new system. When customers realized it was a better process, they were happy. The innovation may have taken a little time to catch on, but the result was a better customer experience.
Change can be difficult and challenging. Sometimes pre-existing processes or even employee resistance stand in the way of progress. Companies must also consider how customers will react to change—especially if that change involves technology and AI and doesn’t seem to benefit the customer as much as the company. However, not making the change could be even more costly in the long run. The key is to constantly grow and improve so as to transform the customer experience into a better experience for all.