Designing customer experience for the everything customer
CX Best Practices
When it comes to support, today's customers want it all. Market research firm Gartner calls them the "everything customer" — modern consumers who want to maximize their tech, and the brands they access through their tech, all in one seamless swoop.
They have high expectations and demands of brands: instant access to personalized support, strict privacy standards and high-touch service without aggressive brand communications.
The rise of the everything customer can be attributed to the evolution of mobile technology and the software and algorithms that power "always-on" brand access and support. Or, as Don Scheibenreif, vice-president of Gartner and a distinguished analyst in the firm's customer experience (CX) research group said in a video interview on LinkedIn, "Customers want everything, and technology is actually making that possible."
But it is indeed a delicate balance for brands to deliver the services that everything customers crave alongside the privacy and communication channels they demand. Mastering this brand-customer pas de deux takes skill and practice. Here's how your company can learn to master the right moves.
Your new customer is an everything customer
If you think the everything customer is but a fringe contingent of your customer base, think again: from this point forward, nearly all new customers will be everything customers. And they come with a set of shape-shifting, and at times seemingly contradictory, needs that will evolve with the times.
For instance, they want fair and equal treatment, yet also want to feel unique. They want consistent service, but also love unexpected surprises. They want a full-featured suite of CX options, but they also want their customer experience to be effortless. Above all, these customers want their needs met without delay, and they expect to have a digital identity by which the company knows them, while also experiencing the highest level of privacy and security.
Particularly on the privacy front, CIO of pharmacy chain Boots UK, Richard Corbridge, doesn't think high-quality service and strict data security are mutually exclusive anymore. “It's quite simply an expectation now that we can offer a mass personalized service informed by local knowledge with frictionless access controls that protect data privacy and offer the ability to make informed consent about how data should be shared," he says.
Multi-experience solutions for the everything customer
Communication is integral to the "everything customer" archetype.
“The idea of always being able to interact with the brand of your choice, I feel, is at the heart of the everything customer," says Corbridge.
He explains further: “As much as the concept may have started with being able to transact from any type of device, anytime, I think that expectation has evolved. Now, everything customers want the ability to connect and continue on the same journey that they were last on with a brand in the same way, across all platforms."
A massive consumer study done by Harvard Business Review a few years ago proved to a compelling degree that omnichannel actually works. "Our study's results are revealing. They show that a retailer's omnichannel customers are more valuable on multiple counts. After controlling for shopping experience, they spent an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in the store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. Even more compelling, with every additional channel they used, the shoppers spent more money in the store," the HBR researchers noted.
But to Scheibenreif at Gartner, everything customers need customer support that extends beyond the typical multichannel and omnichannel options. They need "multi-experience," a term he coined in 2019, referring to the experiences that span customer touchpoints across devices and social media platforms without skipping a beat.
Embracing a multi-experience support mindset is what it takes to forge successful relationships with everything customers. Gartner lays out three key tips for putting this into action including: think like a designer, design for demographics and design across platforms. Although these tips ultimately coalesce around one essential need: good design. CX design must be deliberate, and considerate of the kinds of people (ages, genders, cultures, etc.) who use your support as it has been shown that a well-designed customer experience is a top differentiating factor for consumer purchases.
Striking a balance between CX and privacy
That said, good design is meaningless to everything customers without good privacy to back it up. To meet evolving security and privacy standards, companies must not only be aware, but also proactive, in tracking and applying the growing number of regulations on how they can use consumer data.
Corbridge notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has played an important role here. The risk of contagion has created a raft of payment solutions that reduce contact, which in turn is increasing demand for innovative ways to perform safe and secure checkouts.
We can see the desire for access and privacy aren't necessarily at odds with each other, and in fact, solutions can be created to meet the conditions of both. And since the start of the pandemic, the creation and adoption of such products and solutions has been humming along at high speeds. What needs work is privacy communication under the tent of multi-experience, says Corbridge. “If you have agreed once to be a customer, you do not expect to be asked again and again for permission. However, the customer does expect that trust cannot be broken with partners of the original brand."
To satisfy everything customers, brands must consider how they can safely navigate privacy and security measures without "annoying" the very people they're trying to serve.
Taking stock in customer emotion and sentiment, especially in relation to your brand and your customer support, is essential to meeting the needs and expectations of everything customers. The ones who will be successful will be those that can most effectively leverage next-gen technologies and emerging channels in order to make their customers feel known, understood and protected.