In a world where constant change has become the only certainty, human-centred thinking and design practices are more important now than they’ve ever been. But to create a better customer experience, you may need to look at your business from an entirely new perspective and redesign aspects of it that you’ve never really thought about before. Fortunately, nothing excites our customer experience team more than a “new perspective”. VMLY&R South Africa chief experience officer Jacqui Maroun, and Karen Boswell, chief experience officer for VMLY&R IMEA region give us the low-down.
Grab a glass of water; here comes the red pill…
What Exactly Is Customer Experience?
Essentially, it’s the overall journey of a customer – from becoming a prospect all the way to becoming an advocate. It begins with your brand promise – what the values of your brand are and how those values will meet the needs of the customer. Your brand promise creates expectation and differentiation so that a customer can choose if yours is a brand that they want to participate in. Once they opt in, the next step in the customer experience journey is how well your brand delivers on that promise. A poor brand experience will break a great brand promise. And while 89% of companies believe they are delivering a good customer experience, only 17% of customers believe they are receiving it. Yikes. These principles will help close the gap.
a.k.a. How might we empower people to do what they couldn’t do before?
That’s the question at the heart of customer experience thinking. And while it looks simple enough at a glance, it means slipping into your customer’s brain and looking at your business through their eyes. Customer experience is rooted in empathy – but at scale. It’s understanding why people do what they do and what triggers and emotions are influencing their decisions before, during and after their interaction with your business. Ultimately, you want to design a seamless, enjoyable experience for the customer that makes them want to come back – and bring all their friends.
2/ Design Thinking
When people think of design, they tend to think of art or graphics – how something looks. In reality, it’s not about appearances at all; it’s about problem solving. And, more specifically, solving problems by understanding what the real need is below the surface and addressing it at the source. Essentially, design thinkers are engineers. When a tenant asks for a high-pressure hose because they’re struggling to water the garden at their rental home, the design thinker finds and fixes the leaky pipe underground that was causing the low water pressure in the first place.
This is how you build relationships with the humans you’re connecting with. By looking at the data you’ve collected about a person, you can understand the journeys they experience in their world:
What their daily lives look like; what steps they need to go through to get things done. From there you can start to anticipate their needs and see how your product or service can be relevant in the context of their journey.
Want To Hear More?
Jacqui Maroun recently chatted customer experience with Audrey Naidoo on her podcast Let’s Talk Digital. Listen to the episode here.
VMLY&R is a global brand and customer experience agency that harnesses creativity, technology, and culture to create connected brands. Named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Global Marketing Agencies for five consecutive years, VMLY&R is made up of more than 12,000 employees worldwide with principal offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kansas City, New York, Detroit, London, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. VMLY&R works with client partners including Absa, BAT, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, Dell, Ford, Nando’s, New Balance, Pfizer, Vodacom and Wendy's. For more information, visit www.vmlyr.com. VMLY&R is a WPP company (NYSE: WPP).