Customer Experience Management Requires More Than Just Tech

Customization, automation, and the growing use of neuromarketing are reshaping the customer experience, according to a new report by Forrester.

Customer Experience Management Requires More Than Just Tech

Posted on 08-11-2019

Customization, automation, and the growing use of neuromarketing are reshaping the customer experience, according to a new report by Forrester.

The study, “The Future of CX,” examines how the emergence of tools such as artificial intelligence (AI), customers’ use of “personal digital twins”—assistants that personalize their experiences online—and the mainstreaming of neuroscience into user experience design and market research are changing how CX is built, measured, and managed.

But just as important as upgrading tools and technology is a corresponding change in internal structures and strategic approaches, said Rick Parrish, VP and principal analyst at Forrester. Many companies make “the classic mistake” of assuming solely investing in new tools will upgrade their CX management. As a result, they neglect to revamp their processes to make them more nimble and able to stay ahead of consumers, he said.

“Technology is one piece of the puzzle, and it’s an important piece, but it’s only one piece—necessary but not sufficient,” Parrish told CMO by Adobe.

## CX Drivers

The future CX model will have to be agile enough to change as technology and consumers change. This will require not only the work of creatives and technologists, but also neuroscientists and anthropologists for an in-depth, scientific understanding of human behavior, according to the Forrester report.

“Cultural instincts and dopamine triggers will become the lingua franca of CX design,” the report stated.

CX also will have to be responsible for driving growth in both the business’ top line and margin by opening new markets. And it will have to take stands on issues that matter to the consumers it targets.

“Until companies keep focusing on the things that are going to drive CX success and improve CX loyalty, they’re spinning their wheels,” Parrish pointed out.

The report prescribes that enterprises keep CX front and center in their decisions about strategy and finance. One common mistake they make is investing in technologies as a money-saver rather than looking at them in the context of building improved CX and loyalty.

“If you just plug new technology onto doing things the same way, you will keep making mistakes—only doing them in a shinier way,” Parrish explained.

In addition, investments take time to show a return. The quarterly grind is not a long-enough time cycle to see some of these advantages come to fruition, Parrish said.

## New Priorities

According to Forrester’s CX Index, which measures how successfully companies are delivering customer experiences that create and sustain loyalty, few are really differentiating themselves.

That said, Forrester sees many companies working really hard. It’s just they are making slow progress, and customer expectations are rising, too, Parrish said.

“They are doing things, but at the same pace at which expectations are rising, the quality of CX is only meeting expectations,” he said. “You have to get out in front—otherwise there’s no improvement.”

The index also found loyalty to companies is on the wane among Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z consumers. These consumers choose brands based on their personal values, which change across time, so brands will have to do more than just keep up, the report said.

Still, that can be tricky. Consumers are also increasingly protecting their personal data, especially with more digital assistants mediating their brand experiences, along the customer journey. This makes it all the more important for companies to assure their customers they’re using data and automation properly.

Overall, these new priorities will lead CX pros into a new, more rigorous discipline, and companies will have to make them more central players in a new ecosystem built to prioritize CX, according to the Forrester report.

“Raise the CX field to the level of a rigorous business discipline, and you become a real driver of this top- and bottom-line growth,” Parrish said. “You’re not only improving the business, but internally you’re building the stature to be able to do this other stuff [and get] all the resources that you’re going to need.”

Customer experience management isn’t just nice to have. It’s a must have.Learn More

For brick-and-mortar retail associates, an unhappy shopper can be addressed in real time. If a customer appears frustrated, the retailer can offer in-the-moment assistance, such as providing a different shoe size, setting up a fitting room, or giving directions to the proper aisle for the product being sought.

But how can marketers address similar frustrations online to provide a better experience? Because in today’s digitally driven world, users expect the same treatment online as they would receive in-store.

Transfering Tactics

Marketers must put their feet in a customer’s shoes to understand buying preferences and motivations. But doing so is more difficult when the experience is online. For example, if a consumer, who has been targeted with a pair of sneakers for a period of time, finally decides to buy them, he’s then looking forward to the purchase. But if the website has a malfunction–perhaps the product page is down or the checkout link causes an error page–he will be nothing short of aggravated. But online retailers can’t visually see that a customer is upset. All the marketer can see is that the person ultimately didn’t make the purchase, without knowing why.

In this day and age, it’s critical that marketers have insight into why a shopper had a bad experience and be able to show empathy when an issue arises, particularly when the brand is at fault. Marketers must be able to understand and measure customer experience, which requires not only knowing how shoppers are behaving on their sites, but how they are feeling when they do it–and why.

Engaging with a consumer online is becoming more critical each day. To get the level of intelligence required to best understand and connect with those consumers, marketers need to take what has long been done on offline channels and apply the same practices online: measure, manage, and improve.

Understanding Motivations And Intentions

Measuring and managing online experiences to understand the “why” behind behavior goes far beyond clicks and hovers. It’s no longer enough to solely rely on piecing together and testing what is working (and not working) on your properties. To understand a customer’s state of mind, marketers must be able to read online digital behavior the same way they would in a physical store. Fortunately, similar to in-store shoppers, online consumers provide warning signs of an issue through digital body language.

Digital body language accounts for every interaction and gesture a consumer makes on a website or app–including what happens between the clicks. It is essential for gaining insight into and benchmarking how users are feeling throughout every online session. Multiclicks, for example, are indicative of user frustration. If a link is broken or a confirmation button is slow or unresponsive, online shoppers might click repeatedly until the page responds.

Another indication of frustration is bird’s nest behavior, or when a user rapidly shakes the mouse around, leaving a jumbled mouse trail that, in session replays, resembles a bird’s nest.

Multiclicks can be broken down into “unresponsive multiclicks,” where the behavior falls on an unresponsive element, such as a paragraph of text or an image, and “responsive multiclicks,” where the behavior falls on a responsive element, such as a link or a slide show arrow. Another indication of frustration is bird’s nest behavior, or when a user rapidly shakes the mouse around, leaving a jumbled mouse trail that, in session replays, resembles a bird’s nest. This often occurs when a page won’t load or consumers are not able to find what they’ve come to the site for.

Through the analysis of 3 million user sessions with its website’s “Get a Quote” form, a major financial services company found that the average completion rate of the form was 77%. For sessions that contained a responsive multiclick behavior, the completion rate was just 17%. For unresponsive multiclick behavior, the completion rate was even lower, at 14%. Reading and understanding the variations of digital body language allowed marketers to understand where users became frustrated or confused on its website. This is critical for marketers to not only ensure individual customers have their issues addressed immediately, but also to benchmark and improve experiences over time.

Through the analysis of 3 million user sessions with its website’s “Get a Quote” form, a major financial services company found that the average completion rate of the form was 77%. For sessions that contained a responsive multiclick behavior, the completion rate was just 17%. For unresponsive multiclick behavior, the completion rate was even lower, at 14%. Reading and understanding the variations of digital body language allowed marketers to understand where users became frustrated or confused on its website. This is critical for marketers to not only ensure individual customers have their issues addressed immediately, but also to benchmark and improve experiences over time.

Marketers need the right data in order to understand and address the pain points that customers experience. Without the ability to read digital body language or understand when and why a customer is frustrated or confused, it is impossible for marketers to create a positive, meaningful experience for each individual shopper.

By acquiring this level of intelligence and creating better experiences, customer loyalty will ultimately increase as does potential revenue. The cost of acquiring customers is high, so it’s critical to maintain and please existing customers via engaging and empathetic digital experiences.

Marketers need the right data in order to understand and address the pain points that customers experience.Learn More

“The Deloitte Consumer Review: The growing power of consumers,” Deloitte, 2014, www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/consumer-business/consumer-review-8-the-growing-power-of-consumers.pdf.

“Gartner Says 8.4 Billion Connected ‘Things’ Will Be in Use in 2017, Up 31 Percent from 2016,” Gartner Press Release, www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3598917.

Gina Casagrande, “Let the Crowd Fuel the Demands for Optimized, Personalized Content,” Adobe Blog, September 27, 2017, theblog.adobe.com/let-crowd-fuel-demands-optimized-personalized-content.

Customer experience has become a brand’s most critical competitive differentiator. For example, a recent Adobe survey found that 64% of Generation Z shoppers and 72% of Millennial shoppers think brands should provide a personalized experience.

Topics: Experience Cloud, Insights & Inspiration, Digital Transformation, Marketing, CMO by Adobe

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