If you are in the midst of investing in isolated digital touchpoints, such as an iPhone app or an in-store interactive screen, without first endeavoring to understand the complete customer experience for your brand, there is a high probability your efforts will be wasted.
These are exciting times for brands in the retail arena. Retail in the 21st century is no longer about a simple transaction, but an experience. And the playground of digital technology has sparked an explosion of interest and excitement around the creation of great customer experiences. But retail is not strictly technology-based. Retail brand and CPG brand experiences extend beyond the purchase to interactions around all a brand’s incarnations, from websites, to stores, phone calls, sponsored events, Sunday circulars and conversations–a mix of digital, physical and human.
The scary part of all this new excitement and interest is that, under the very real pressure of keeping up with the customer, all too often companies hastily assemble digital touchpoints that are misunderstood, misused, discretely managed and deployed. How can something done in isolation and created with little shopper insight be expected to have an impact? True value creation stems from managing the customer experience informed by research, according to a single view.
Customer experience analysis is too often missing from digital initiatives, despite that fact that every retailer would agree that a customer-centric view drives choice and cements loyalty. Putting the customer at the center of the brand universe also inspires internal teams with the confidence that they are always doing what’s right for the customer.
Our research work for clients in professional services, retail and B2B categories consistently demonstrates that ideal experiences are composed of a combination of digital and physical touchpoints deployed together seamlessly. The role each touchpoint plays modulates up and down based on where a customer is in his or her decision making process. Touchpoints, digital and otherwise, help move customers through their process to a choice of one brand instead of another. When studying touchpoints and empowering actions related to each, three fundamental truths exist:
One. In each touchpoint, customers have a core set of functional and emotional requirements in that must be met (and hopefully exceeded) in order to move to the next step in the decision process.
Two. There are key messages — appropriate and inappropriate — for each touchpoint, which determine the communications to be expressed therein.
Three. Every touchpoint must link to every other touchpoint, which requires a customer experience analysis, across all the touchpoints and the disciplines involved in creating them, in order to be as effective as possible.
It’s not about pixels, it’s about people. When we tackle touchpoints from a research, strategy or design standpoint, the type — digital or physical — does not matter and should not be a determinant. If your company is categorizing touchpoints based on how you organize your internal teams, allocate your resources, and make decisions internally, I strongly recommend you cease and desist. Unless you are endeavoring to understand how the complete brand experience weaves through the lives of those you serve, you are basically working in a vacuum.Digital Customer Experience | No Comments »-->