Why making it memorable is key to customer experience success
Consumers are constantly undergoing new experiences, but very few leave a lasting impression, with only those that are truly memorable remaining in our brains. These tend to be experiences that drive strong emotions – either of delight or anger. This is particularly true when it comes to the experience consumers receive from brands, with the majority quickly forgotten. This means that if a company provides an extremely positive experience it will create a loyal customer, or if service is dire, someone that will take to social media to share their disappointment and anger.
This concept of the importance of memory is the central theme of the 2016 KPMG Nunwood Customer Experience Excellence study. This surveyed over 10,000 UK consumers, asking their opinions on 287 brands spread over 10 sectors. What it found was that the companies that scored highly were investing to make the experience they offered memorable, going above and beyond good service to create something that helped them stand out from the competition. This drive saw overall ratings for empathy in the study rise by 1.5%, helping the UK score to move from 7.25 to 7.33 in 2016.
This year’s rankings also saw a lot of change – every organization in the top 20 either moved up or down in the rankings, with none standing still. This demonstrates the importance of continual investment and innovation in customer experience to meet ever increasing consumer demands.
Looking through the research there are five key lessons for every business that wants to build emotional connections with their customers:
1. Get the basics right
There is no point striving to be memorable if there are issues with routine customer service and the experience that consumers receive. Sort out your processes and ensure you have the right framework in place to satisfy all customers before aiming to delight them.
2. Refocus on the customer
Traditionally companies were organized on departmental lines. Most customer journeys cut across this model, requiring a new way of operating that focuses on the customer rather than company structure. The KPMG Nunwood report points out that those organizations that have adapted themselves to the customer journey, or were created without departmental silos, are one step ahead of their competitors here. One way of achieving this shift is to create customer hubs, multi-skilled teams of staff drawn from multiple departments but located together. This makes it easier to solve individual customer problems, and to build journeys that are satisfying and memorable.
3. There is no one customer journey
Companies are increasingly realizing that the whole concept of a single journey fails to do justice to the complexity and range of conversations and interactions that take place. Essentially, rather than a single journey, the customer travels through a network of touchpoints that may be unique to them. Therefore, businesses need to look at how journeys intersect and ensure that they are flexible enough to deliver a memorable experience across every one of them.
4. Digital is not standalone
When digital channels were first launched they were often separate to existing infrastructure, such as shops, branches or telephone operations. The companies that score highly in the KMPG Nunwood Study, such as First Direct and John Lewis have taken a step back, and integrated digital operations into their core business. This means making the overall experience seamless, however the customer interacts with the brand, and no matter which channels they use.
5. An experience has three parts
Psychologists have found that humans think of experiences in three distinct parts - the first impression, the emotional peak and the last impression. Essentially there is a beginning, middle and end to the interaction and companies need to score highly on all three if the experience is to be truly memorable. Organizations therefore have to pay equal attention to all parts of their experience if they are to succeed in creating loyal, happy customers.
Given today’s intense competition it is therefore time for businesses to focus on making the experience positive and memorable, across every conversation, if they want to win and retain customers for the long term.