The end of 2018 was marked by Customer Experience being named King. With the acquisition of Qualtrics by SAP for $8b to be completed in Q1 ’19, Customer Experience is on track to have an incredible global era for the next decade, and we are just starting.
Everyday there are brands impacted by customer experience through the use of online ratings and social media. Consider this…
- According to a study done by Nielsen, over 65% of consumers prefer other customer recommendations over any other sources when choosing a product or service.
- Additionally, Sprout Data showed, “Two out of three (66 percent) respondents said posts from brands rarely or never influence their opinions.”
In this article, I give advice on how to grow your business (this especially applies to Market Research companies) by creating and capitalizing on amazing customer experiences based on my recent interview with Kantar’s Ann Green and Stephen DiMarco.
1. EXTEND YOUR VIEW OF THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TO TIME AND SPACE
Consider the last time you had a hot date. You likely picked a fancy place for dinner and everyone would have been excited. But then you showed up and the parking lot was full, and you had to walk half a mile from the parking garage in the pouring rain with no umbrella. Your experience had to have been downgraded. Does the restaurant owner own the parking lot? Most likely no. Do they own the experience? 100% yes!
During the interview Ann Green used the example of Delta Airlines, “Delta used to be a means to get from one place to another. It was a flight. Now it is an experience. It is everything from onboard services to ordering a drink at the gate.” She went on to say,
“People are spending more on experiences than they are on things or products. So, marketers have to spend a lot more time and money getting to know their customer, so they impact not just the exact product but also the time and area around that consumption.”
To create a successful experience, we have to view the experience through the eyes of the consumer. In short, the context of the experience is just as important as the food, flight, insights report, or whatever else you are delivering.
2. SOFTWARE IS ONLY PART OF THE SOLUTION
Technology enabled data collection through Software as a Service is employed across most large companies in the same way that they have CRMs like Salesforce.com. But you still need professional services.
How? These are some tips from Kantar:
- Partner: Start with an investment with clients on discovery that creates a shared point of view of the customer pain points. Ideally, these pain points are unfilled by competitors.
- Listen: You have to use the right shoe for the right foot. There is no one size fits all here. Sometimes you’ll need an ethnography, IDI, Focus Group, Survey, Diary, or all the above. No matter what you employ, be open minded…this came up in many of the interviews of 2018. Check your assumptions at the door and get ready to learn.
- Delivery: Data tables, PowerPoints, Dashboards…these don’t get consumed by the organization. Consumer insights must facilitate a conversation that concludes with, “What is the action?”
- Prioritize: Action Over Answers
But to help the brand recreate the brand promise, research needs to identify an unmet need and extend to the operational plan to meet that need. This is why Kantar is finding purchase in Professional Services that take the data to the next level.
Basically, current CX solutions are great but need a lot of contextualization around them to be useful and brands need help with the specialized expertise to ensure decisions are driving successful business outcomes.
As researchers and business owners, once we recognize that software is just part of the solution, then we can see the opportunity to shine for our clients.