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May 17, 2022

Greater Customer Experiences by Way of a Great Total Experience

Greater Customer Experiences by Way of a Great Total Experience

Mike Kuch

Senior Director. Solutions Marketing

Total Experience is a comprehensive strategy that connects multi-experience (MX) with customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), and user experience (UX). This cohesion is crucial for companies during any time period, but especially during market uncertainty or increased competition. By focusing on the Total Experience, businesses create customer loyalty, which is key to positive growth.

The Everything Customer

The experts at Gartner research have identified today’s “Everything Customer” as a part of the “Experience Economy” — customers who want everything, and they want it now, to the point where it almost seems contradictory, or the things that they want seem to be in conflict with one another.

For example, the Everything Customer wants the convenience of shopping online but the comfort of the in-store experience. They want self-service but also human interaction. They want information to personalize their experience, and they want it sent to them quickly, but they also want only the offers that are relevant to them. Simultaneously, they expect organizations to respect their privacy. They may also want to only interact via an app or they may only want to speak to a representative over the phone.

In simplest terms, the Everything Customer wants:

  • To be connected but left alone
  • To be treated equally but served uniquely
  • Full and effortless features
  • Consistent and expected service

The challenge the Everything Customer highlights is how an organization needs to change moving forward in order to manage this new mindset. These customers will go somewhere else if they don’t receive great service; but if a company’s customer service is excellent, they’ll provide them with business again. They expect great service and to work with empowered employees who can deliver that amazing customer experience. The Everything Customer also expects employees to have their finger on the pulse of everything that’s happening within the company, whether it’s their department or not — meaning, if an employee doesn’t know the answer, they need to figure it out and fast.

The bottom line is the Everything Customer wants a lot. And in the end, we’re all Everything Customers.

Consider this:

  • How many times have you worked with a contact center over messaging or voice during which a customer service agent says to you, “Sorry, my system is running slow today”? We all need a little tech support once in a while, but what you care about is great service not whether or not someone’s laptop is working.
  • How many times have you been transferred from one agent to another, or gone from texting a virtual agent to a real person, and you have to repeat your problem and identification? Frustrating, isn’t it? Companies blame the technology, but the problem goes deeper than that. The real issue is the lack of an empowered employee and poorly defined processes.

Companies should recognize that if they don’t provide the right level of customer experience, they won’t have their customers around for long. This is and will continue to be the market differentiator over the coming years. Businesses need to think about how they can deliver positive outcomes. For example, when I’m considering which companies to give my business to, I always go back to whatever company delivered a great experience for me.

These customer issues — expediency, ease of use — were only highlighted by the pandemic. Many interactions right now are still remote. How customers differentiate between similar experiences now is based on the Total Experience addressed by an organization.

According to a report by Gartner, “by 2026, basic buying and selling experiences will be commoditized, and businesses will differentiate based on connected customer and employee experiences.” This a strategic planning assumption, meaning that businesses should take heed and begin, if they haven’t already, in not only recognizing and supporting the needs of their employees, but also in curating and strategizing around specific outcomes that speak to the Total Experience.

Total Experience From the Employee’s Perspective

 A company that delivers on the Total Experience is setting itself up for success in the future. Most businesses already are aware of how to provide excellent customer service, but do they really understand what the Total Experience is and how to achieve it? To truly provide a Total Experience, it starts with empowered employees.

Employees must feel like if they don’t have the answer to a customer question, they can easily find the answer or find someone who knows the answer. Building out a cohesive customer interaction based on Total Experience hinges on employees offering stellar digital services. A Total Experience strategy puts the employee in the driver’s seat while the customer is giving cues and directions.

How is a better customer interaction formed, exactly? The answer is by providing ease of use and access through a number of different channels, including social listening, expanded service channels, and mobile applications for convenience and personalization, to name but a few resources.

Virtual Agents in the Real World

Consider when you’re browsing on a large, you-can-buy-it-all website. You’ve saved something in your cart, but the price point isn’t where you’d like it to be. This giant conglomerate likely has an abandoned cart monitoring system in place. These days, even the smallest of businesses do as well. So, when said item drops to 50% off the retail price, you get contacted — perhaps texted by a virtual agent, or the AI emails to tell you that the item you’ve been monitoring in your cart is half off, and would you like to place the order now? Over text or email, you confirm you want to proceed with the transaction. Because the item is in your cart, and you do a lot of business with the company, the virtual agent asks if it’s okay to charge the transaction to your preferred credit card; you say yes, and the transaction is completed.

AI capabilities such as these are provided by companies like Avaya. And as the Everything Customer, you’ll be satisfied and delighted when better offers become available. That’s when sales happen. Since such sales will be more and more programmatic in the future, with automated processes, we should bear in mind that this is all part of the Total Experience, one that will satisfy customer needs as it pertains to their purchases and their loyalty. We’ll see a lot more of that coming soon.

To learn more about the Total Experience on behalf of your Everything Customer, check out Gartner’s latest report on customer experience trends.

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