Customer experience and experience management are among the most important topics in business today. So, what is experience management and where is the future of customer experience going?
“There is a disconnect between what companies feel that they are delivering in the form of experience and what consumers actually feel like they are receiving,” says Alicia Tillman, the Global Chief Marketing Officer at SAP said in an interview with CXOTalk.
“It creates an incredible marketing opportunity for companies to really think about how do they solve the experience gap and how do they ultimately win in this experience economy that we are operating in right now,” she adds.
What is experience management all about?
Experience management is about getting closer to the target customers by understanding how they feel what their expectations are.
Once you have understood this, the next step is to build a business model that responds to their feedback or use it to anticipate how you may or may need to reshape your operations.
The brand’s promise is another aspect of experience management. What is the commitment that you’re making to the customer? How do you fulfil that promise?
These days, consumers do not buy products, they buy experiences. They wish to be a part of communities and have a sense of belonging. You may associate yourself with the company not because they have the best product, but for what that brand stands for and what it allows you to become part of.
Finally, all of these aspects need to work together. If the culture of your brand is effective, relevant, understood by the consumers, and works hand in hand with your ability to understand the customer’s needs, that’s when you enter the business of delivering exceptional customer experiences.
Why is it important to address customer experience management?
According to Tillman, the gap created due to the lack of understanding of experience management has led to a £35 billion addressable market.
“If we think about the money that it takes to build a brand and to deliver an experience with a customer, and the amount of money that you’re losing when you turn customers as a result of a poor customer experience, the addressable market size is incredible,” she says.
Imagine if you knew that an employee was so unhappy with you that was out looking for a new role. Alternatively, what if you could understand that feedback more frequently so that you could prevent mistakes from happening again?
Addressing experience management will create the very basis of an intelligent enterprise that will stand victorious in today’s experience economy.
Why is it difficult to create a great customer experience?
Imagine you are a businesswoman who travels to Spain regularly for work. Every time you are in Spain, you choose to live in the same hotel because you are familiar with it, it is convenient for you, and you have had a great stay whenever you have checked in there.
However, during your latest trip to this hotel, you are met with a serious case of bedbugs that completely changed your image of this hotel. The next time you are in Spain, you may wish to check into a different hotel because of two major reasons:
The image of the hotel that you have formed in your mind after the unpleasant experience;
The abundance of options available for you to choose from. There are other hotels in Spain that may fit your expectations a lot better now.
Even though the first hotel provided great service in the past, this one bad experience may make you pick an alternative in the future.
Often, a consumer judges a brand based on every single experience they have had with them. They don’t look at their experience over a period of a year in order to decide whether or not they will continue to use that one company’s services.
Even one poor experience can ruin the image of the company, even if they had provided a dozen great experiences before. That one poor experience may be good enough for the customer to move to another competitive brand very quickly.
How can companies become better at customer experience management?
Companies need to be in sync with the feelings of their customers with each and every experience that they have with them.
These days, technology provided by brands like SAP’s Qualtrics allows companies to get access to specific data which enables them to understand their consumers’ feelings. This helps these companies with activities like anticipating their precise needs.
For instance, the Spanish hotel you loved so much may be using such data to anticipate your likes and dislikes. So, when you arrive at your hotel, your room may be personalised to your liking. From the pillow size you prefer to whether you like your window blinds open or closed when you enter the room, the data can give immense insight into such details.
These are the things that make or break an experience for your customer. And if the brands could understand that, they can have the ability to shape that experience in advance. It could have you coming back time and time again.
Conversely, if the hotel doesn’t invest in understanding their customers’ feelings, while their competitors surely are, that’s when they lose the race.
Key Learnings On Experience Management
Learn the needs and desires of your customers upfront;
Measure the effectiveness of the experience that you’re providing every single time;
Invest in technology to understand your customers’ feelings;
Use the insight to shape that experience in advance;
Finally, develop the operations of your brand overall to meet and anticipate the needs of your customers.
Experience Management is a massive issue for most companies and the inability to understand it takes away their opportunity to tap into a £35 billion market across sectors. If you'd like to get started in your own experience management journey