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How smart experiences can enhance customer trust

Companies must deliver smart, personalized experiences to maintain long-term customer trust following a shift in consumer expectations.

In brief

  • Traditional ways of measuring customer experience (CX) are no longer sufficient in helping to build and retain customer trust.
  • Companies need a new customer-centric approach to measuring CX that offers rich, actionable insights in real time throughout the customer life cycle.
  • Investing in the right technologies and platforms, while putting people at the center of CX transformation programs, is key. 

 

The pandemic has changed how customers experience brands. As countries went into lockdown, there was a rapid transition to online shopping, where customers enjoyed greater convenience and personalized services. Presented with a plethora of new options online, customers are now more open to switching brands and channels. Further, the 2021 EY Future Consumer Index revealed that 64% of Asia-Pacific consumers are willing to share personal data for a tailored online experience. 

This marked shift in the dynamics between customers and brands will impact how brands can retain and build customer trust. According to Gartner, trust in a brand is a customer’s ability to feel secure in the belief that a company will consistently follow through on its stated intentions to customers and others, especially during difficult times.1 Brands that rely solely on their legacy and customers’ familiarity are discovering that this is no longer enough in sustaining a competitive edge. Organizations will need to continually earn and maintain customer trust.  

 

Customer experience is paramount

Building trust starts with delivering great customer experiences (CX). Leading brands recognize this and are constantly raising the bar and aiming to become “experience leaders”. To deliver winning CX, brands need to continuously provide highly differentiated and insight-driven engagement at each touchpoint throughout the customer journey. Customers desire experiences that are customized to meet their individual needs, yet sensitive to their levels of interest and responsive to their interactions.

Organizations recognize the value of CX and are making huge investments in this area, yet few have managed to deliver outstanding value and superior CX. There are five common challenges:

  • Lack of a unified view of customers across products and channels, affecting CX and sales
  • Lack of integration across channels, leading to inconsistent offers to customers
  • Inability to target individuals for personalized engagements as systems were designed for mass marketing
  • Inability to create value propositions that make sense to customers, preventing brands from offering relevant, value-adding products and services to meet their needs
  • Product performance reporting that is periodic and too slow for brands to react in time to meet customer expectations

These challenges underline the need for a fundamental shift toward listening to what customers value beyond mere communication of the brand story. 

 

A new way to measure CX 

Truly listening to customers will require a rethink of how CX is measured and used to inform actions. It is therefore imperative for brands to measure actual customer perceptions and behaviors beyond intentions.

Traditionally, CX is measured by surveys or direct feedback. In today’s fast-paced environment, these measurements are no longer sufficient as they are conducted at few touchpoints and infrequently. This results in sampling and response biases that may render results unactionable. In addition, most common CX measurement systems, such as customer satisfaction surveys and net promoter score, measure intentions that are disconnected from actual behaviors. While these measurements are good indicators, they do not sufficiently predict customer future value and actual customer behaviors. 

 

SOURCE: EY

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