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6 Tips How to Innovate Customer Experience
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Why are we even talking about customer experience innovation? While businesses’ attention is mainly focused on innovating the product, CX innovation is gradually getting into the limelight, too. Both being customer-centric approaches to innovation, these two strategies have some differences:
- Product innovation requires significantly higher upfront investments than experience innovation.
- Product innovation can be copied or outdone by competitors while experiences are more unique.
- Customers value experiences more than products, with as many as 86% of them willing to pay more for a great experience.
Innovative experience is not just an improved experience. It is something unique and unusual, something that makes customers say “Wow!”, something that stands out and is remembered long after.
A classic example is the Dollar Shave Club case when the razor manufacturer offered its users to subscribe to razors at a reasonable fee. The company was the first to combine “razors” and “subscription” in a single sentence, but its concept shook such giants as Gillette who continued to experiment with adding more blades to their razors.
How to Innovate Customer Experience
So, how do you build innovative experiences? Read on to find out.
Survey Your Customers and Collect Feedback
Jeff Bezos described his business’s approach to innovation as follows: “We innovate by starting with the customer and working backwards. That becomes the touchstone for how we invent.” This may be the core concept of every CX innovation strategy – it should always be focused on the customer, otherwise, you will miss the mark totally.
But how do you get to know what customers want and like? By asking them, of course. Today businesses use customer service tools to collect feedback from users in the form of “rate your live chat experience”, or surveys shared with customers in proactive messages and email campaigns.
So, what kind of customer service platforms for communication and feedback collection do businesses usually choose? One of the first names that come to mind is Intercom, comprehensive yet barely affordable for SMBs. Fortunately, there are many Intercom alternatives on the market today for any budget. Explore your options carefully before jumping into anything with any tool. The best tactic would be to get a trial period first, and then make a decision.
Leverage Technology to Create Innovative Experiences
The explosive development of technology opens unprecedented opportunities to amaze customers with unique experiences. Artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality creating whole new digital worlds – literally, the sky is the limit.
While there are many AI implementation strategies, you can start by integrating a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence to communicate with customers. When the bot is trained to hold almost human-like conversations, you are guaranteed to create one-of-a-kind experiences.
As an example, check out Insomnobot-3000. The bot chats with people who cannot fall asleep, and while it does not really sell anything, it creates very positive experiences for its parent company, Casper mattress manufacturer, and attracts more customers to it.
Personalize Customer Experiences
You may argue that experience personalization has been around for years, and it can hardly be called an innovative technique. True, building experiences based on customers’ personal details is a tried-and-tested approach, but who said you cannot innovate personalization itself?
Personalization has a multitude of faces, and you can choose the approach that works best for you and your audience. Targeted product recommendations, birthday gifts, personal notes and reminders – yes, we’ve all been there before, but you can give all these techniques a new twist to create unusual experiences.
For example, Grammarly, an AI-based typing assistant, follows its users’ activity and compiles personal weekly reports. You can see your progress and productiveness compared to other Grammarly users. This way, the business boosts engagement and loyalty in its customers.
Integrate Unique Merchandising Opportunities
An innovative approach to enhancing the customer experience lies in unique product offerings. For instance, let’s take an established band as an example. Allowing fans to personalize their favorite band merchandise can create a memorable experience for them. This not only gives fans a sense of ownership, but it also strengthens their bond with their favorite musician or band. Such innovative product offerings make customers feel more engaged and valued, leading to increased loyalty and brand appreciation.
Engage Customers Actively on Social Media
Establishing a firm and consistent online presence has been a must-have for businesses, but you can also use your social media platforms to build unique experiences. Your options are multiple – live presentations, webinars, quizzes, contests, and direct communication with customers in comments.
Such activities, on the one hand, strengthen your bond with the audience and improve engagement and, on the other hand, provide unique insights. From social media, you can learn how your product and brand as a whole are perceived by customers, what they love about you and what they would like to be improved.
However, to achieve these benefits, you need to create new and engaging experiences. As an example, check out Mailchimp’s YouTube tutorials. They cover all possible email-related issues, from composing a simple message to setting up marketing campaigns. The comments section provides all the necessary feedback to base further improvements on.
This one may be tricky because rolling out new features is always a bit of a risk. However, with thorough research and preparation, a new feature added to the existing product may result in a sum greater than its parts – an innovative experience that customers appreciate.
For example, Zara, a clothing retailer, experimented with fusing the convenience of online shopping with the sometimes missed experience of brick-and-mortar stores. In the UK, Zara launched the Store Mode in its app allowing users to see items available in the local store. You start with the usual online shopping procedure and pick up the selected items in an offline store two hours later. Moreover, the app includes in-store directions leading you to the place where your purchase can be found. And who knows what you can pick up on the way there…
Maintain Proactive Customer Service
Proactive service means anticipating customers’ needs and requests rather than acting on the issues that have already occurred. Being proactive brings multiple benefits, most of them in the area of better customer experiences:
- More precise identification of customers’ pain points.
- Real-time service.
- Faster issue resolution.
- Customer churn reduction.
Here, the innovative approach lies in the very principle of proactive service – the issue may be resolved without the need to reach out to the company and complain about it. Most often, businesses implement proactive support by adding a chatbot to their websites. The bot gives customers a convenient channel for both contacting the company’s representatives and browsing its support content.
Check out Chicago Music Exchange, a website for selling and trading musical instruments. The website includes a chatbot that offers a customer several options for resolving the issue they might have – connect to a sales rep, perform a trade, or track an order. And, by the way, the bot also informs the visitor when the support team is going to be back in the office.
Ready to Build Innovative Experiences?
Today’s technology gives you unique opportunities to revamp customer experiences and offer your audience something new and unusual. Hope our guide on bringing innovation into your CX will help you on this journey.
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In the modern Digital Age, advances in technology and communication, combined with the explosive growth in data information, have given rise to a more empowered global customer. Recent economic and political events highlight the need for organizations to understand how consumers view the world and the most important attributes for their purchasing decisions.
Thus, increasingly more organizations are seeking to invest and focus on Customer-centric Design. A clear understanding of customer needs and behaviors across the organization will help drive profitable growth strategies and provide the confidence to invest in opportunities at a time when staying within budget can be extremely difficult.
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About Shane AvronShane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.
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