It’s no longer a product. It’s not even a service. Today, brands can maximise their impact by creating an experience that begins well before sale and endures long after.
Even with the most mundane products, customers are increasingly conscious of the process of validating their buying decision, the smoothness of the transaction, the immediacy of service. Even the delivery, packaging and unboxing are part of the “experience”. If they’re unsatisfied? Often, they’ll simple seek out a better experience in a totally different sphere.
And a key lesson from our survey of more than 7,000 consumers in seven countries is that while Millennials are leading their way in expecting excellence through this customer journey, older generations are not far behind.
Customers of all ages want an end-to-end journey that requires minimal interventions and maximum convenience. Brands that can be a bullet-train – smooth, fast and comfortable – in customer experience (CX) will win.
Millennials, as early adopters, like to switch between devices and channels at speed. So sleek and consistent CX between touchpoints is key. Yet the same digital transformation that underpins these journeys also acts as a foundation for GenX and Baby Boomer customers with their own multi-channel needs. All generations like to be able to switch to human agents, for example.
To find out more, we asked consumers to tell us their biggest frustrations with companies at the different journey stages.
Challenges across the user journey
A blended approach is a must-have: the web is generally key to research; face-to-face grows in importance in buying; the email and phone rise up the rankings after sale. Social media was more prevalent as a purchase information source for the 18-34s – but none of the 14 channels we suggested was totally irrelevant among consumers.
Brands need a consistent, portable, rich view of their customers. Only businesses capable of underpinning multiple sources with consistent, timely messages and transaction methods can hope to appeal across age ranges and journey phases.