How to improve customer experience: Steps to take now
Experience is everything, especially at a time like this when people and their needs should be at the center of every company's business strategy. But not all experiences are winning and relevant: you’ll need to identify the right features to capture the user's attention and establish a lasting relationship of trust. How to improve customer experience?
The first thing, then, is to make sure that the experience works as well in real life as in digital. Second, digital really means mobile. Smartphones are the device of choice, so the experience must be perfectly adaptable to mobile. Finally, the perfect experience is also customizable and personalized, so that everyone feels like they're the protagonist of something designed specifically for them. For all these reasons, personalized videos are an indispensable tool for building a truly memorable customer experience.
Human needs at the center of winning strategies
The COVID-19 crisis has changed the whole world and especially many of our behaviors.
The interesting thing to note is that the pandemic has imposed changes across all areas of our society that will be felt for many years to come.
Even marketing has been affected by the situation we are experiencing, as many companies have been pushed to rethink their way of communicating and relating to consumers.
Confirming this radical impact is the Global Marketing Trends 2021 survey by Deloitte, which identified some "unusual" trends united by a shift away from the traditional business mentality that focused only on processes, earnings, and optimization.
The year 2021 will see human needs at the center of winning strategies, including marketing strategies.
This, according to many observers, is a clear consequence of the months spent in lockdown, during which many companies have had to establish a new type of communication, one that is more empathetic and closer to consumers, also in order to fill the huge gap left by isolation and social distancing.
Therefore, the focus is no longer on business but on people, who are no longer simply consumers or users, but bearers of real individual moments and experiences that must be taken into account.
An existing trend
To be precise, putting people at the center of your choices and strategies is a trend that was already growing, even before the pandemic.
Companies have been rethinking the way they approach and engage with their customers and consumers for some time, as they have become more sophisticated and demanding, especially of the brands they do business with.
In fact, brands will increasingly become three-dimensional entities whose values and characteristics must emerge not from a simple advertisement, but from an organic, in-depth, and horizontal storytelling.
This is underlined by Think Forward 2020 by We Are Social, which showed how, on digital mediums, people expect companies to provide positive content, with high added value and conveying knowledge and skills.
Users are no longer willing to spend their time-consuming content that does not improve their lives in some way or that doesn’t indulge their interests.
The same is true even when they have to buy something.
Buying is not just an action aimed at satisfying one’s functional needs, it’s much more than that.
Many people, when they approach a brand and decide to buy its products, need to feel "represented" by what they buy and to feel a certain closeness between themselves and the brand they choose.
In other words, what people are increasingly looking for is a brand experience, i.e. an experience that goes beyond the simple purchase and that makes them live memorable moments in order to nurture a relevant and meaningful relationship.
The brand experience must be able to "excite" consumers, and it must also consistently reflect the values of the brand, which people can then experience concretely and with which they can ultimately identify.
Only in this way will people be able to become brand ambassadors, i.e. not simple buyers but true representatives of the brand, understood as a lifestyle to be shown, told, and spread among as many people as possible.
The importance of a digital experience
In light of this, it is clear that every company must build its strategies in such a way as to ensure that people have an experience: only in this way can a company hope to be memorable and therefore truly competitive in the market.
Obviously, when we talk about experience, we mean it in the broadest sense of the term. Not all relevant experiences must necessarily be physical. Indeed, the pandemic, among its many effects, has given even more importance to digital or hybrid experiences.
It is no coincidence that phygital, and in particular phygital marketing, became a relevant trend in 2020, the importance of which is bound to grow over the years and which companies will have to take into account.
From this we understand that even in the creation of digital content, brands will have to be particularly careful because they can represent a part of an experience or an entire experience that, in order to be truly relevant, will have to have specific characteristics.
An experience at your fingertips
In order to know how to build these experiences (specifically digital ones), we need to start by observing the users themselves and the way they use and interact with technology.
The first thing that stands out is that people use their smartphones to perform even the simplest actions, from buying, to booking a visit, to watching entertainment.
This is confirmed by the most recent statistics: the spread of mobile devices is constantly increasing, and 4.32 billion of the world’s people are navigating the internet using a smartphone.
Consequently, smartphone usage is continuously growing over time. In 2020, the average person was connected to the internet via smartphone for 3 hours and 39 minutes per day.
Starting from just these few data points, we can make a consideration: any kind of experience we want to provide to the user must necessarily be smartphone-based.
This means that everything must be able to take place simply with a tap, in a smooth and simple way, considering that mobile devices are the most important touchpoint to include in your strategy.
In this sense, it's no coincidence that some mediums are rethinking their internal workings with a view toward providing the user with a more comfortable and fluid experience.
Purchasing via social and interactive email: Facebook and Gmail
Think of Facebook's integration of the "marketplace" section, which gives users the chance to sell and buy objects while remaining within the platform.
The same thing has been done at the post level thanks to Facebook Ads, which look like traditional visual content that directs the user to a specific e-commerce page, with just a simple tap. Here, users can see the products in the picture, find out how much they cost, and then purchase them.
All without ever leaving the post.
A similar mechanism is also in place on Instagram thanks to the new Shops feature, which is a true "immersive, full-screen showcase that allows companies to tell the story of their brand and promote the discovery of their products" by taking advantage of a native shopping experience, which can then be enjoyed directly within the app without the need for additional procedures.
On closer inspection, this trend is also imposing itself on other touchpoints that are much less recent and which, in any case, have begun a process of transformation to meet the needs of the customer.
An example of this is email and in particular, Gmail.
For a few years now, Google's email service has been working to develop a type of electronic message that is more interesting for the user and ultimately more effective in achieving its goals.
This result seems to be within reach thanks to the implementation of AMP technology.
AMP technology is nothing more than a website creation language derived from HTML, which was initially meant to help websites and digital content load faster on mobile devices.
Subsequently, AMP has undergone a series of implementations until it became an open source that allows you to create interactive and fast-loading pages even through medium power devices.
The implementation of this solution to email means radically changing the way people use it.
First of all, users' browsing will become more profound, since each email message will be able to contain different levels of communication, using different formats at the same time (videos, images, gifs, etc.).
Secondly, the actions that a single user can perform will multiply, from reading email to responding to an offer, filling out a questionnaire, or even responding directly to a comment.
Finally, the email will stop being a "passive" touchpoint. On the contrary, each message received will become an object with which each user can interact as he/she sees fit.
In this way, brands will be able to create a much more satisfying and comfortable user experience and at the same time significantly increase the effectiveness of their communications.
What's more, each email can become a truly relevant and memorable experience that people can enjoy directly from their smartphones.