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3 Macro Trends Calling For Brands To Double Down On Customer Experience

Today, customer experience is a pre-eminent factor influencing consumer purchasing behavior, and its importance as a differentiator is growing at a pace that’s largely eclipsing brand response.

With the arrival of new methods and technologies that emphasize greater personalization and visibility into brand interactions at every point along the customer life cycle, businesses that neglect to analyze the customer experiences they offer—and act upon those insights—will be left behind.

Here’s what we are seeing as the critical drivers.

Solid CX Provides A Competitive Edge
With competitors flocking to implement superior customer experience practices in order to gain an advantage over competitors and create word-of-mouth-worthy sharing, a healthy amount of FOMO can really serve a business well. Brands—and, of course, the agencies that serve them—are now realizing competitive benefits by more tightly integrating their strategy, creative, technology, and data science teams.

These cross-discipline collaborations are proving effective at developing capabilities for identifying and constructing experiences that more adeptly engage and retain a brand’s customers. In this process, carefully gathered customer behavioral and sentiment data is used to illustrate the customer perspective for given scenarios, allowing creative and strategy teams to more accurately apply their expertise. Doing so ultimately allows the brand to design and implement better experiences for consumers.

Like never before, brands are in an environment where customers won’t think twice about jumping to a competitor if their customer needs and expectations aren’t met. By adopting a collaborative and agile approach, brands are better able to prototype, iterate, and improve on specific customer interactions more quickly, effectively outpacing the competition when it comes to the quality of the experiences those customers receive.

Customers Want A Reason To Be In A Long-Term Relationship
Any notion that customers look at an offered product and see only the product itself is, with few outliers, outdated. Today’s customers are increasingly likely to take the long view, considering the brand and the product’s value beyond the one-time purchase. Again, technology is driving the strategies for how brands capitalize on this. With customers seeking lifetime value and positive results, smart brands are utilizing integrations within their technical stacks to offer newly tailored business models.

Within both the B2B and B2C worlds, customers are now presented with products and payment plans that are tied to consumption and value received, rather than a set product price point. Examples of this are everywhere: mobile plans, sharing economy services such as Lyft and Uber, loyalty programs, cloud computing contracts where the customer no longer buys a server but capacity on someone else’s hardware, etc.

As customers grow to prefer the experiences inherent within these models, brands would be wise to explore business model adaptations that support value-driven customer relationships.

Customers Expect Data And Technology To Empower Their Experiences
A clunky interface or an obvious piece of functionality that’s missing-in-action no longer gets the benefit of the doubt. Customers know the potential of their experiences (because other brands are giving it to them) and want to push the envelope.

This is a huge opportunity for brands ready to embrace newly arriving possibilities in technology-driven customer experiences. From apps and chatbots to constant connectivity, the smartphone is already transforming automation, accelerating business velocity, and generally setting the expectation that every brand touch point we experience must make it easier for us to be us.

For brands that understand their customers’ journeys and possess the expertise to deliver thoughtful experiences via new technologies, it’s now within reach to win over customers through mediums like virtual reality and augmented reality interactions, or even more simply through the fun and ephemeral nature of Snapchat filters. Most importantly—and regardless of the specific technology—the customer should feel in full command of any data and technological functionality that’s required to get the most out of a brand (and to have it delivered within a positive, engaging experience).

Customers are thinking about purchases with the consideration, “What kind of experiences is this brand going to give me?” Brands that want (or need) to win those customers need to make the same consideration—and if they aren’t already doing so, the clock is ticking.

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