Trends in marketing that drive customer experience

Marketers today are embracing technologies such as AI, ML, Robotics, Algorithms, among others to ensure a superior customer experience

Social media remains a double edged sword and needs skillful wielding.
Social media remains a double edged sword and needs skillful wielding.

By Piyali Chatterjee (Konar)

Traditionally, the role of marketing has always been about defining and introducing the brand to the customer. Today, customers are self-empowered, have unlimited access coupled with information, and are more discerning. Customers are no longer relying solely on advertising of the brand; in turn marketers are required to increase their capacity from just defining and managing the brand to also focusing on strengthening the customer-brand relationship.

It has become vital for marketers to not just understand the business, but to also understand how brand value can be delivered via customer experience. This shift has led to customer experience (CX) becoming critical to the ultimate success of an organisation’s marketing strategy. The pandemic has certainly changed the Customer Experience (CX) landscape. The change in CX is reflecting in what customers value, how they want to interact with the brand, and what they expect as benefits for their loyalty.

Marketers today are embracing technologies such as AI, ML, Robotics, Algorithms, etc. to ensure a superior customer experience. These tools allow brands to;

• Gather and analyse social, historical, and behavioral data about customers to gain a better understanding of the customers
• Offer better customer service
• Commence digitally customer self-service tools
• Eliminate some of the pain points in the customer journey.

Driving Personalisation with Intent:

Brands ahead of the CX curve are driving personalisation with the intent to provide greater value to customers in terms of time savings, effort, and a better product-service fit. When there is intent, the personalisation drives customer loyalty and retention. The ‘2021 NPS DIGIPAY’ study conducted by Hansa Research puts Amazon Pay as the leader as far as Net Promoter Score (NPS) is concerned along with MobiKwik and ICICI Pockets. Market leaders like Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay score much lower. Net Promoter Score is a trusted customer loyalty metric used by brands to measure the health of customer relationships. Amazon Pay has all the components such as easy gauging of instructions for usage, ensuring the drive of personalisation with the intent of ensuring quick and seamless transaction. The fact that the user already has established trust in the Amazon brand having used it all these years helps Amazon Pay in making inroads into creating the right CX for the customer thus boosting its NPS.

Measuring and Managing Social CX:

Social media is no longer a place just to send out information. It is emerging as a highly interactive channel between the brand and its customers. It is key to driving customer experience on the brand’s social media platforms through consistency, responsiveness, and transparency. Marketers need to recognise that Social media is now a valuable customer support channel and also a vital listening tool for insights. Mobikwik in recent times has faced backlash because of a rumored charge on dormant accounts being levied on its platform. Mobikwik was quick to take stock of the situation and put in corrective measures to reach out to irate customers who wanted to disengage from the platform.

Social media remains a double edged sword and needs skillful wielding. It can however play a pivotal role in enhancing the CX of a brand manifold if used well.

Include Focus on ‘Empathy and Personal Safety’ to remain relevant and connected to the customer:

The new normal warrants, brands focus on being more empathetic to customer needs. This pandemic has resulted in organisations demonstrating generosity by having flexible processes, listening to customers better to resonate with them at an emotional level. Personal safety is another critical element and is now a basic expectation in the minds of the customer e.g. mobile and contactless pickup or check-in options and it is here to stay. The sudden explosion of digital payments across the country has been massively aided by the need to go contactless. QR codes at every vendor including the bhel puri wala and the kirana store has helped digital payments gain massive traction. This is in turn has helped the local vendor showcase empathy towards his customers’ need to stay safe during the pandemic and also helped the CX of the digital payment brand that facilitates quick and seamless exchange of money.

Keeping ‘Human’ Customer Support accessible, while digitising:

While self-service tools have huge advantages in terms of costs to organisations, the human touch is still very essential in helping build trust in the mind of the customer. The value of being able to connect with a person when there is a concern or a special situation should not be undermined. Marketers need to create frictionless paths to contact their human support team. Inability to do so could lead to customers defecting in the long term. Tata Sky, a popular DTH brand of Tata is known for its great customer support. The customer service person from Tata Sky always makes sure to address all queries and assist the customer in making sure that the service runs without any hindrance. This in turn means that Tata Sky would still score high on CX and also retain the customers’ trust. This helps the brand in keeping a customer base that is currently disrupted by the rise of OTT platforms.

Surprise customers to delight:

Today, engaging customers is one of the challenges being faced by all brands. One great way of engaging customers is through the element of surprise. This can be a single big surprise or a steady stream of small surprises that build over time. It can be used successfully to make customers start generating positive word of mouth;After the last test in the Australia vs India test series and post India’s nail biting win in the last test at The Gabba Zomato did a spot promotion using its social media platforms to celebrate the same. Coupon codes like ‘PANT’ and ‘THE GABBA” were promoted which afforded the customers to get sizable discounts on their orders that evening. Zomato was thus able to be topic relevant, showcased how cool it was and scored big points on CX by getting a cricket mad nation to flood its platform with orders to celebrate the win. This was a great example of how customers can be pleasantly surprised into using a product and generating great CX.

The author is SVP of Hansa Research (CX Vertical). Views expressed are personal.

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