What defines a good omni-channel customer experience

An exceptional customer experience is more than the sum of its parts: You need to orchestrate and architect every interaction, across all channels, to create an experience that flows and that keeps customers satisfied and coming back for more.

Through our experience in projects aiming to achieve just that, we have identified 5 key factors to a winning omni-channel customer experience

 

1. CONVENIENCE

Today’s consumers are time-strapped, and this means that convenience is not just a benefit—it is a central principle of a strong customer experience. Customers are lazy. Think how you can save their time , lower their effort to buy from you and make life easier for your customers. As we are all creatures of habit, improving convenience will result in customers coming back for more.

When you think of Amazon, you might think of low prices and big selection. I can name dozens of other companies, both online and brick-and-mortar that do the same thing. Amazon knows it competes with all retailers. So, they broke out of the low price and big selection game with convenience. They want to save time and make life easier for their customers. They created the Amazon Prime program that gets merchandise shipped to you, without shipping charges, in two days or less. They created the Dash button that allows you to purchase merchandise with the simple push of a button. They want to eliminate as many steps as possible from the time a customer is thinking about purchasing a product until that product is delivered. Speed and simplicity is what they are about.

Zalando now picks up returns at your doorstep, no need for the hassle of going to the postal office to send back your returns, enhancing the convenience of buying and building competitive advantage over other online retailers.

 

Today customers expect convenience. They expect to view the same pricing online and offline, they expect to be able to buy online with a few clicks and pick up in-store or buy in-store and get goods delivered to their door. Etc.

 

We see companies investing heavily in convenience however, only a third of companies have operationalized even the basics such as store pickup, cross-channel inventory visibility, and store based fulfillment, return handling etc.

 

2.CONSISTENCY

Remember: you are only as good as your last interaction!

Consistency is vital when building a true omni-channel business,it may not seem sexy, but consistency is the secret ingredient to making customers happy. It is also indispensable to create experiences based on a unified brand presence that consumers can trust. However, it’s difficult to get right and requires top-leadership attention.

 

Customers want to have confidence that you will deliver on your promises every time, not just when it’s convenient. You need to consistently deliver good products and services across your organization, you need to mean what you say and do what you say.

Customers expect a product and service offering to be the same across multiple channels, they expected support to be consistent across online, offline, and social touchpoints.

 

Companies largely still operate in silos, which by design introduces friction into the customer journey. Each department often acts as on its own, designing and managing their respective touch-points differently and adhering to deferring standards and metrics thereby causing challenges in ownership, responsibilities, etc.

Customer-facing departments don’t talk to one another. Marketing doesn’t talk to product development. The digital or web support teams talks to customers via a ticketing system. And everyone seems to be bypassing the value of IT.

The traditional customer funnel mindset contributes to the problem. Customer journeys are no longer linear. The steps that are supposed to guide customers through each stage of engagement are distributed across different departments and the people that support them.

 

Building consistency throughout the complete non-linear customer journey means focusing heavily on end-to-end processes, policies, guidelines and re-structuring all teams to be able to collaborate together to provide a consistent experience from sales towards support and IT.

 

3. RELEVANCE

The new consumer expects interactions to be real-time, highly personalized, and tailored to buying preferences, transaction history, and user behaviors. Consumers would share personal details and are comfortable with brands collecting personal data  in the name of creating a personalized customer experience. Data analytics can realy boost the personalized experience. You can use data mining to autonomously tell you which offers to make to which customers with a full explanation as to why . By using predictive analytics, you are able to deliver custom-tailor messages to specifically meet individual needs of your customers.

You can create behavior-based segmentation to find trends and make custom recommendations. Use all data insights to further increase your segmentation. This builds more relevant content based on what the customer wants to receive.

Using data to enhance your relevance is not only imperative internally to gain a clear, value-based understanding of your customer base but also to your customers to ensure a highly personalized customer experience.

Data allows you to show your customers how much you care on an individual level and ensure loyalty for years to come.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Theodore Roosevelt.

 

4. EMPOWERMENT

Did you know that revenue for most companies comes from 20% of their loyal customers? That cross-sell and upselling to a prospect is 5%-20%, whereas the probability with an existing customer is  60% – 70%?

Most organizations understand the basic truth that even the best customer experience strategies can be derailed if customer-facing employees don’t do their part. Your workforce is the lifeblood of the company and your primary point of contact with customers. Employees can make the company, the service and the customer experience look fantastic—or not. When service suffers, the challenge isn’t in deciding how valuable your employees are, it’s determining why your employees aren’t executing the customer service strategy you’ve laid out.

All too often, bad customer service is written off as apathy, laziness or an unwillingness to comply with company expectations. That may or may not be accurate but the reality is that these problems are usually symptoms of a different issue entirely—a lack of employee empowerment. If the people you hire to interface directly with customers don’t have the authority or the resources to ensure a positive customer experience, it’s virtually certain they won’t be able to deliver superior service. Conversely, if an employee is put in a position to succeed and meet the customer’s needs at every touch point, your chances of maintaining a contented customer base increases exponentially.

All of this begs the question: How does one empower their employees to the point that they are positioned to deliver excellent customer experience across the complete customer journey? It’s an imprecise science that varies depending on your company, product, industry and a host of other factors.

Employee empowerment is a win-win proposition. Your customers enjoy the benefit of great service hence staying and becoming loyal customers. Your employees get better job satisfaction, engagement and experience

 

5. AGILITY

Companies designed in the 20th century have very little capacity to evolve and adapt. They are rarely adaptive organisms, at least on more than a superficial level.

Technological acceleration now means that capturing connected customers depends on the companies ability to take an agile approach. Businesses must adopt to market changes and shifts in buyer behavior, as well as organize themselves for autonomous and agile teams, scalable and fluid processes and systems that enable fast action when opportunities present themselves.

“The key to doing better,” argues Oxford economist Eric Beinhocker,“is to ‘bring evolution inside’ and get the wheels of differentiation, selection, and amplification spinning within a company’s four walls.”

An approach we use ourselves @ Möbius is called Holacracy. It offers the possibility of doing just that: embedding an enhanced capacity to dynamically and continually evolve, within an organisation’s core DNA. It helps create organisations that are fast, agile and succeed by pursuing their purpose, free from the tyranny of top-down planning or the time-consuming pursuit of consensus. It’s not a silver bullet – it takes hard work and practice to make the shift into such a dramatically different way of organising, but those who see and experience it in action are excited about its results.

In the words of David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done” and a business leader with years of Holacracy experience in his own company,

“Holacracy is not a panacea – it won’t resolve all of an organisation’s tensions and dilemmas. But, in my experience, it does provide the most stable ground from which to recognise, frame, and address them.”

Still powerful customer experiences are not just about maintaining consistency, relevance, empowerment, convenience and agility at any cost.

It is about creating equally seamless customer dialogue across every stage of the customer journey, from pre-purchase research to post-sales touches.

 

Vincent Defour

Digital transformation expert

M +32 495 45 75 71

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vincentdefour

Omni-Channel To Omni-Fail: 3 typical omni-channel fails during a Christmas purchase

 

It’s 21 December. The time I started thinking about Christmas gifts. Every year, the same story : too busy at work, thinking you have all the time in the world until it’s almost too late.

Not to worry… these days online retailers deliver the same day or the next day.. so I started my discovery on the web and came across a side table I knew would WOW my mother. I wanted to purchase it online through a local home decoration retailer because the delivery range was 2 days. Nice service, right on time for me!

But finishing up the purchase, to my surprise, they added a 10€ delivery fee to the purchase.

 

Fail 1:  the table costs 120€, it would be delivered within a 20Km radius from the central warehouse and even then, the retailer forwarded the delivery costs to me, their potential customer. I’m what you would call a global shopper, the internet is my shopping street. I purchase items in US, China, etc. through online shops and market places sometimes products as low as a couple of euros. In 9/10 of the cases these providers never charge me delivery costs, it’s all free delivery these days, isn’t it. So for me paying 10€ extra was not what I expect from a customer-centric experience point of view, especially when I knew the warehouse was that close to my home.

The benefit for me: as it’s a retailer with physical stores not far from where I live, I decided to go the store and buy that same table over there, easy and fast. So I jumped in my car, taking my wife and daughter with me, and we went on a 15Km trip to the store. My wife had the bright idea to go with me to see if the table was in a perfect state especially because we didn’t want to give a costly damaged gift to my mother.

Once arrived we immediately searched for the same table and wanted to purchase it..

 

Fail  2: When asking the nice lady in the store if we could buy and see a table on stock and take it with us, that wasn’t possible. They only had 1 showroom model which wasn’t available for purchase. We could order it in the shop itself, but we had to wait for 1 week for the table to be delivered to the shop, it wasn’t even possible to send it to my home and within 2 day time range that they provide online. The only option that I had left was order it online through the website and pay the 10€ delivery fee.. That really blew my mind.

Ok, I’m a digital transformation consultant, I advise my clients to provide top notch digital customer-centric services and processes. That’s what I do every day,  so maybe my level of experience expectations are a bit too high compared to “normal” consumers. I then turned to my wife, asking : “do you think this is a good service?” but also she was dazzled with this strange fact. She wanted to leave immediately. Which we did.

But as Christmas was knocking on the door and I really needed a present, I decided to order it online and pay for the extra 10€. In the back of my head : thinking it was the last time I bought something from that company ever again.

 

Fail 3: it’s Christmas day, time to unpack the presents.. everybody is excited. My mother opened up her gift, seeing the smile on her face, gave me a good feeling about the purchase. Even with the bad experiences described above. So far so good. But then I saw my mother looking at the table, to my surprise it was damaged.. grrrr.

Time to act.. I’ve learned an important and surprising fact: When a customer shouts the hardest, he is helped faster and better than a well-behaved and obedient customer. For some reason that always helps: complaining, escalating, threatening, writing complaint mails etc. (recognize this? )

You could call it: “the journey of the biggest bully”.

When that happens, a ( mostly informal ) process is triggered within that company and the complaint gets escalated to a certain power level who demands a fast solution for that customer who isn’t happy, because no manager wants detractors (from an Net promoter score point of view) on their monthly KPI’s. Cost, current workload, internal guidelines and operational processes are then of inferior importance, just get that complaining customer of our backs!

So that’s what I did, I went for the bully approach. I’m not proud of it.. and I would have appreciated a consistent and qualitative customer experience much more, but necessity is the mother of invention.

I first wrote a customer complaint email through their support channels, I waited a day and then I called customer service, demanding power level access for more effect and started my complaint, I threatened to use social media to tell my story to the world etc., it wasn’t pretty, I can tell you. But as I suspected, my story got answered, fast.  … And how .. It seemed that they could not deliver a replacement as it was out of stock due to high purchases in the holiday season. But they offered me a more expensive model, would pick up the damaged table and deliver the new table within 1 day at my mother’s doorstep at no cost.

No isn’t that a superior bully service..

 

If you think about the outcome for that company:

Wouldn’t it have been easier, better on the long term and less expensive, just to think about their omnichannel experience more than 2 seconds. Creating a seamless off- and online experience, putting experience before marginal costs along the complete customer journey and trying to create a WOW effect that would turn me into an ambassador advocating their brand online to other potential buyers, and also purchasing most of my furniture from them..

All they got now : the cost for them had tripled : a damaged table that they could not sell, a new more expensive table for free and extra delivery costs, an unhappy customer spreading negative comments and a forever lost customer.

 

Vincent Defour

Digital transformation expert

M +32 495 45 75 71

https://www.linkedin.com/in/vincentdefour

Designing the right experience …fortunately not a walk in the park!

See the four step cycle above you should remember to shape, deliver and enhance customer experiences!

 

As explained by Denise Lee Yohn in her bestseller “What Great Brands Do”, your business should be brand led and customer informed. This means you should lead your business according to your brand value and vision (what does your brand/business stand for?). Great brands are first grown inside-out and built around a strong culture. This is important in a time where customers value authenticity and integrity. At the same time, you should be obsessed by your customers. Define your target group and know what really matters to them. Do not try to win everyone’s attention as you will not build sustainable brand equity by trying to address everyone. You want to focus on those customers that add value to your business.

Once you have defined and understand your target group, you should gain insights on which value matters to them in order to create experiences that stick. And remember, experience refers to the sum of all interactions between a customer and a brand/company. It is not limited to delivering outstanding products and services.

Use storytelling and experential marketing techniques to communicate about your meaningful experiences.

 

Great brands stimulate business success. If a brand equals experience, it should not be limited to the responsibility of marketing and sales. Your entire organisation is responsible for creating amazing and consistent customer experiences. A great product with splendid marketing will not lead to sustainable customer loyalty if the customer support sucks. So say farewell to those silos! It is time to mobilize your organisation as a whole to deliver experiences that matter. You will need to combine your precious data (technology) with human forces (empathy and creativity) to make the magic happen!

All your business processes should be aligned, end-to-end, around creating the right experiences. This requires a customer centric mindset amongst your employees.

 

And last but not least, keep monitoring your customer efforts. Capture all possible data and use it well. Stay customer obsessed. Never stop listening to keep yourself informed about changing needs and preferences. Evaluate your offered experiences and dare to adapt, improve. Be agile, but most of all, stay empathic and creative!

 

I wish you lots of success!

 

Dorothée Laire

Customer experence architect

M +32 473 31 63 50

It’s the EXPERIENCE, stupid!

A brand is the sum of all interactions a customers has with it. Instead of looking at your product or services separately, you should consider your whole business as a brand. When you do this, you are dealing with customer experience. Or X as Brian Solis, the customer experience guru calls it. A great experience is relevant, valuable, mutual and respectful. Shaping such great experiences does not happen overnight. Best-in class brands invest in creating experiences around their products and services. The best experiences become memories. And when that happens, customer loyalty increases.

Think about it. What makes Apple and Disney so great? Their product are of outstanding quality, of course, but there is more to it. Both Apple and Disney are recognized for the experiences they shape in line with the way of life of their target groups. Think about the simplicity and user-friendliness of Apple and the mesmerizing world of Disney. Their offered experiences are well designed and thought true. These brands draw story-boards that explain what their experiences will look like. Apple is so methodical in its customer design that it even draws story boards on how its boxes will be opened.

Creating great experiences around your existing products and services is referred to as experiential marketing. Experiential marketing tries to immerse customers within the product by engaging as many other human senses as possible. Brands utilize a variety of marketing strategies in order to achieve this emotional connection with their consumers.

Adidas, for example, organized the “D Rose Jump Store” in London to promote Derrick Rose’s signature Adidas sneakers. Although the concept was simple (use Derrick Rose’s presence to create buzz among fans), Adidas took it to another level by adding depth to their activation. In addition to meeting the famous Chicago Bulls point guard, fans had the opportunity to win a free pair of the signature sneaker if they could jump 3 meters to reach them. By having participants jump the same distance needed to reach a regulation basketball hoop, it gave each consumer perspective into the basketball player’s life. Whether participants walked away empty handed or with a new set of shoes, they all had an experience that they will always remember and associate with Adidas.  https://vimeo.com/71410227

A more charming example and one that illustrates a campaign that stands on its own, is one activated by Milka. The chocolate brand made the effort to manufacture 10 million bars that were missing one piece. Puzzled chocolate eaters then learned that the one piece had been set aside for them to choose whether they would want it mailed back to them or mailed, with a personalized message, to a friend or loved one. This campaign helps Milka not only form an emotional connection with its consumers, but also to whomever the consumers decides to send the single piece of chocolate to. Briljant! No? Positive buzz guaranteed, if you ask me.

How about your business? Which amazing experiences do you want your customers to remember?

 

Dorothée Laire

Customer experience architect

M: +32 473 31 60 50

Your customers are truly changing

Over the past years, customers became more connected, hence more and better informed. The more they are socially connected and informed, the lower their brand trust. Today customers, both in B-to-B and B-to-C markets, are surveying before making their decisions. They learn with interest about interactions their peers have recently experienced and form their own opinions. Word-of-mouth has become more important. This also explains the increased popularity of YouTube videos within their purchase decision process.

This affects the way business should interact with customers. In the past, businesses invested in creativity and product development and emphasized their marketing efforts on explaining their added value. Today, customers decide for themselves what value means to them. They own their experiences!

 

The trick is to better understand what they want, desire, dream of. In order to increase loyalty you will have to work on personal relevance. This means it is no longer enough to merely understand customer behaviour. You will need to know WHO your customers are, what they DREAM of, what they VALUE and PREFER. That really is a challenge. You will need to listen with more empathy than ever before!

This means you will need new models, systems and tools. The currently used marketing and customer research tools have become obsolete. Today, you need to see and experience for yourself how your target group lives your brand/company/business interactions. Only then, you will be able to close the gap between what you believe matters and what really matters.

 

Dorothé Laire

Customer experience architect

M + 473 31 63 50

Trends artikel CEO MÖBIUS Group: “Nog teveel bedrijven kiezen voor technologische veranderingen, terwijl ze intern traditioneel blijven werken”

Om hun overlevingskansen te vergroten, moeten bedrijven zich bewust zijn van de steeds evoluerende digitalisering van onze wereld. Een gesprek met Hendrik Vanmaele, CEO van de internationale groep van business- en technologie consultants Möbius.

Are you digital : looking back at an inspiring event, tx to www.ab.be

12 jaar. Dit is vandaag de gemiddelde levensduur van een bedrijf. Amper 12 maanden geleden was dat nog 15 jaar en 50 jaar geleden leefden bedrijven zelfs gemiddeld 60 jaar! Ja het gaat snel. Steeds sneller. Hoe ga je daar als bedrijf mee om? Het antwoord: jezelf continu transformeren en telkens opnieuw vervellen. Zoals een kameleon. Of anders gezegd: forever young (yup, zet die bekende Alphaville song maar loeihard).

Dàt is wat organisaties vandaag moeten zijn. Dit is maar 1 van de inzichten tijden het ‘Are you digital’ event van Möbius op vrijdag 29 september. Vanaf het begin is het duidelijk: collega Lien en ik zullen ons hier geen moment vervelen.

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A customer centric digital travel journey

A customer centric digital travel journey

Now that the holidays have ended, everyone is back in their usual place again, albeit looking tanned and well rested. But do you remember the days, about ten years ago, when planning a holiday was a huge undertaking and you would make your choice based on very little information? You would get all your inspiration from the travel agent’s two streets over. You would pop in, the agents would greet you in a friendly manner, you would be asked to take a seat at one of the desks, and you would be literally bombarded with questions. Do you want to travel by car or by plane? Do you want a sporty vacation or do you prefer to relax? Nature and mountains or sun and the beach? A hotel or a campsite? And so on… At the end of this lengthy process, you would go home with a stack of brochures to finalize your choice.

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Digital customers and the connected world

Digital transformation is not a technology issue

We live in exciting times! As a lot of things are changing and changing dramatically! We live in a digital context which we as a consumer, company and society can no longer avoid. New technologies such as mobile, social cloud computing, sensors, virtual reality and 3D-printing are being introduced at an ever increasing rate and are unleashing a real revolution in our way of living and working. This digital context puts traditional organisations under pressure, results in new organisational forms (e.g. the Uber-type models such as AirBnB, Netflix, Spotify, Alibaba, etc.) and in this way forms a new society.

In this new society or connected world customers increasingly expect consistent personalised experiences through every service and communication channel. Organisations cannot afford to be left behind and must become mathematical champions that by the use of analytics (or to use a buzz word, big data) build clever algorithms to provide better or completely new customer experiences. This transition is not only vital to remain successful in the digital era, but also necessary to fulfil the expectations of the youngest generation (younger than 17 years of age), the customers of tomorrow. The customers of tomorrow or “network natives” live mainly in a virtual and global world. They are masters in the use of social media, spend a lot of time on their tablet or pc and make maximum use of all the online channels available to them. They are growing up with concepts such as crowdfunding and crowdsharing. In short, they consume differently.

Digital transformation is not a technology issue, but is primarily about reshaping your organisation in line with all your customers who seek both digital and human interaction

Organisations that answer the digital challenges by (purely) purchasing more technology without taking a good look at their organisational model will gradually get left far behind. They run the risk of being disrupted by new organisational forms. Just take the example here of the Uber-type models that use clever algorithms to connect customers, partners, employees and even products. Their organisational model is based on simply dealing in information without dealing in assets.

Uber: the world’s biggest taxi company does not have any cars; Facebook: the world’s most popular media company does not create any content itself; Alibaba: the world’s largest retailer has no stock, and AirBnB has no property. These companies make clever use of technology, but are above all highly connective, communicative and creative in their relationships. They make very sophisticated apps to connect in time and place with their customers. Via online communication, online diaries, social listening, public datasets, APIs, etc., they create added value for any interested party.

And above all the success of these companies is based on their flat organisational structure with short decision lines and high degree of autonomy (or self-control). They cultivate a climate of entrepreneurship and innovation and attach a great deal of value to the person behind every employee. Digital transformation is not a technology issue! Technology is only a means to reformulate and strengthen your organisational model to give your customers what they want. Digital technology enables you to act as a network rather than a hierarchy, to process masses of data continuously, to use organisational resources cheaply and on a global scale, to deal with uncertainties more effectively (by improved forecasting), to respond more quickly and more flexibly, etc.

It is high time to take a look at your organisational model too! How do you put your customers central? How do you connect with your network on a continuous basis? How do you use clever algorithms to improve customer experience end-to-end and/or overhaul it thoroughly? What actions are you taking today that will make you more resilient? How do you stimulate and reward innovation and entrepreneurship?

Becoming a digital company equals becoming a connected company, a customer company. It’s a journey: you need to start as early as possible, and there is no finish line. After all, when it comes to technology, the only constant is change.

Karl-Heinz Streibich, The Digital Enterprise

The digital patient is social, virtual and self-reliant

These are exciting times!

For the first time in human history, we are being simultaneously inundated with various disruptive technologies. Real game changers such as 3D printing, robots, virtual reality, big data and the Internet of Things are all on the edge of the breakthrough to the general public, while others such as mobile and social media are already established. You read everywhere that the impact on the healthcare sector is enormous, but in practice how tangible is it today? I will just zoom in briefly on a few of these trends.

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