In Part 1, I explained that both sides of the customer experience equation—what I am led to expect, and what I perceive I received—are both heavily influenced by today’s hyperconnected world. Let me recap briefly before I explain how we can approach customer experience in this new world.
Today, I can easily compare products across the globe—and get any number of reviews on your products versus any others. Perhaps even more influential are the social media networks, where those I listen to most—my friends—can quickly influence me and make or break your product.The same effect can be seen on the “perceived experience” side of the equation. Having sampled the soda mentioned in Part 1, my first reaction would be to check with my social media friends and/or other review sites to see if what I perceived to be slightly fewer than 50 bubbles mirrors the experience of others. If everyone else reports a good experience, I am inclined to re-evaluate my own experience.
Furthermore, today’s hyperconnected world has significantly broadened the scope of elements that make up consumers’ “total experience” regarding a company’s products and, indeed, about the company itself. These elements can, for example, help me determine whether the company has a good employment record or uses sweatshops in Asia—or whether they are environmentally responsible, or create toxic waste in India. All of these issues, and many more, now add to the total experience consumers perceive—and it matters to them.
Advertising is as important today as ever, but alone it is not enough. You have to think more broadly and ensure you are delivering the right “total” experience for your customers.
First, you can use products like Cisco® SocialMiner™ to understand what is really being said about your products and your company on social networks and websites around the world. This is crucial—you cannot manage what you cannot see (or hear).
Second, you have to reach your audience in the way they want—you have to insert yourself into their life processes. Today, that means social media channels, a unified online / in-store experience, and through use of highly rich media.
And finally, you have to be able to collaborate—not only among employees within your company, but also with your suppliers, partners, customers, and anyone else who contributes to the total experience.