Customers view experiences in surprisingly simple terms. Whether you’re dining out or calling a customer service hotline, these can all be boiled down to a five-star rating system. It’s an effective and concise way to sum up a single interaction with a business.
In the experience economy, five-star experiences aren’t a luxury, they’re the expectation. Every organization is challenged to deliver bold, exceptional touch-points at scale, and failing to act on this can and will drive would-be advocates to the competition.
But businesses struggle to provide a five-star experience because they still lack a complete, accurate view of how well their customer experience strategy is performing.
In fact, 80 percent of CEOs believe that they deliver a superior experience to customers, but only eight percent of their customers agree. That’s a massive disconnect; we call it the experience gap. Everything the IT industry has done so far to close the gap gives siloed answers.
To consistently craft five-star experiences, there are a few guiding principles businesses need to embrace:
- Personalization: Across all channels, physical and digital, every engagement needs to feel perfectly crafted to the individual on the other end.
- Trust: Bold customer experience starts with a strong foundation of data collected from customers, and brands must treat that data respectfully.
- Empathy: It’s what makes the human connection so powerful, caring about the voice of the customer and ensuring their feedback is addressed proactively.
- Deliver in the moment: Technology enables businesses to create value for customers in real time, and that starts by connecting the demand chain to the supply chain.
- Engagement: Engaged employees create engaged customers. It’s all about people.
The formula for bringing these to life is simple:
- Get strong commitment from the top. Customer experience programs need to be led by the CEO.
- Share data across the enterprise.
- Choose a platform that allows you to connect your marketing, sales, and service activities.
The foundational layer to delivering five-star experiences is data, shared freely across the enterprise. First, you need experience data (X-data); this is what the customer feels about your business, or how many stars they’re giving you. Then you need operational data (O-data), the by-the-numbers breakdown of what makes you earn your rating.
Together, understanding your X- and O-data creates the foundation for delivering five-star experiences. That complete view helps close the experience gap and aligns expectations between employees and customers alike.
This week at SAP Customer Experience LIVE, I was joined by customer and internal experts to discuss the experience economy, the role of X- and O-data, and how to be a bold, five-star business.
In short, good isn’t good enough anymore. In a world of continuous connection, if you don’t get five stars, you don’t just lose trust, you lose customers.
Alex Atzberger is president of SAP Customer Experience.
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