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We’ve already mentioned multiple times in other JMARKIAN posts the ever-high importance of customer experience in business success today. However, just in case you’ve missed those articles, here are a few statistics that will introduce the context:
- According to a report by Walker, customer support will become more important for buyers than price or product.
- A different report by Gartner states that up to 89% of businesses compete through customer experience.
- To top them all of, Accenture has found that companies in the U.S. lose around $1.6 trillion due to customers switching to competitors after receiving bad customer service.
The shift is not difficult to explain: most markets today are dominated by products and services that are similar to one another. Are Nike’s shoes really that much better than those of tens of thousands of other, less-known brands? Or is it something else that drives consumer motivation here?
Being the main vehicle of corporate innovation today, I.T., naturally, is widely used to create superior customer experiences. From tech support and pre-purchase presentation to user-friendly service management systems and post-purchase retention processes—I.T. has evolved to a point where it can make most any customer touchpoint better.
While customer experience is definitely the main frontier of competition today, industry leaders employ I.T. solutions to gain an advantage through other business areas, too. Cutting costs through leaner, more effective I.T. infrastructures has allowed companies to reinvest more money into their growth; adopting cloud and edge technologies helps prevent disaster scenarios and protect reputation—arguably, the single most valuable metric in 2019; A.I.-powered tech has proven to help decision makers gather insight on consumer behavior and other business data.
How Do Customers Really Make Up Their Minds?
Customer experience is no longer a decision making factor for consumers—it is the decision making factor. However, how exactly does I.T. help businesses create better customer experiences?
At the macro level, businesses today focus on creating smooth and immersive customer experiences across all devices and all touchpoints.
Previously, tech-powered customer journeys were often abruptly cut off at a certain point (usually, when the marketing part was over). You’d see an ad on your social media, click on the website and… that’s it. Today, companies try to create infinite customer loops that keep buyers in the digital infrastructure throughout all stages of the customer journey.
You see an ad, you go to the store. At the store, you use an AR (Augmented Reality) app on your phone that can be accessed through a location-triggered pop-up to try on a blouse… Without really trying it on. Thanks to IoT (Internet-of-Things), your app automatically calculates the final sum of your shopping bag (with the right colors, sizes, and prices of the products you’re carrying in your hands.) The cashier is redundant—simply click on a “Pay Now” button in the app. Smart security devices will protect against theft. After you leave, you can instantly post your photo with the new blouse to your Instagram (again, you’ve never worn the blouse yet, it’s just an AR-augmented feature.) And so on, and so on…
After the purchase, the same app will let you leave a review, or connect to a consultant should you run into any trouble. Let’s say it was a router you were buying, not a blouse. Usually, you’d have to go to a company’s website, find a 1-800 number, wait through all of the menu options, wait ‘till the consultant connects…
Not in your company. If someone needs help connecting their router, they’ll simply go to the app, where they’ll be able to select between a live call and a live chat with one of your consultants. In the same app, they’ll be able to send pictures (we all know routers can be tricky) and livestream through the phone camera during the conversation.
A lot of things go into customer experience, and there are many more ways in which I.T. helps companies deliver. Most of these methods are less dramatic and visible, but, nevertheless, essential.
I.T. can help your company create better customer support infrastructures, which can reduce the time a customer has to wait on the line. I.T. can help you gather and present customer information so that the consultant on duty has a better idea of who they’re talking to. I.T. can minimize the number of connection errors, so that as few customers as possible are disconnected before they receive what they were looking for. It’s really difficult to think of a customer experience aspect that couldn’t benefit from I.T. today.
Cutting Costs and Minimizing Risk
Besides outward presentation and customer experience, a lot of the I.T. innovation today helps companies optimize their inner processes and prevent unfortunate scenarios.
While the benefits of cutting costs are self-evident, it is important to note how much reputation means to business success today.
For one, we live in times of shifting trust: while 100 years ago, institutions had the final say in pretty much everything (and people trusted in what they had to say), today, a lot more trust is placed in peers—friends, colleagues, and other relatable individuals—rather than institutions. Basically, we live in times where a single YouTube video by a famous influencer can make or break your entire business.
Then there’s the fact that customer experiences get shared, and they get shared a lot. Research shows that negative customer experience is, on average, going to be shared with 9-15 friends and acquaintances, while a positive one is going to reach a much smaller social circle (3-4 close friends on average.)
Lastly, the sheer amount of users on review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor makes it nearly impossible to “silence” negative customer experiences. The only way out is to avoid customer service blunders at all costs.
I.T. can help you deal with all of those issues. However, if you’re not entirely sure how to manage I.T. innovation within your company, don’t be shy and get in touch. You can do so by giving us a call at 844-44-JMARK, sending an email to jmarkit@JMARK.com, or just using the Contact Us page of this website. We want to hear your story and your challenges, truly.