How Brands Can Create Empathetic Customer Experiences In the New Normal

How Brands Can Create Empathetic Customer Experiences In the New Normal

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How Brands Can Create Empathetic Customer Experiences In the New Normal

Up until a couple years ago, most brands’ experience management programs were focused primarily on improving customer satisfaction—often driven by siloed strategies that provided surface-level fixes but lacked meaningful, long-term impact.

And for a while, that tactic worked—but times have changed. Today, the brand/customer relationship is about so much more than just a satisfying one-off experience. It’s about building lasting connections backed by empathy and creating a holistic relationship with the customer.

Consumers have higher expectations and are demanding more from the customer experience in the new normal. With continued inflation and other economic challenges, customers are being more selective on who they give their money to—and brands winning their loyalty are the ones switching to a more empathetic approach to experience management.

In their recent trend insight report, Rethink Customer Experience for a Disrupted World With the CX CORE Model, Gartner discusses why brands need a fresh approach to understanding how to create and manage customer relationships. This was the basis behind creating their CX CORE (Customers, Organization, Relationships, Experience) Model—an end-to-end approach designed to put the customer in the center of the organization—focusing on customers and their experiences to drive growth in a disrupted world.

Not surprisingly, much of this new approach is centered around the digital experience and how brands can strategize technology innovation to best meet the needs of customers. With the pandemic accelerating the need for organizations to evolve their digital transformation strategy, the CX CORE Model provides brands with a much-needed strategic plan that involves every function the customer touches.

In this blog, we’ve expanded on Gartner’s CORE approach to highlight 3 areas where brands can focus their digital efforts. These steps will help create a more empathetic, personal approach—improving the customer experience in the new normal while driving growth and long-term loyalty.

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Create a seamless cross-channel experience

Across all industries, just having a digital presence in 2022 isn’t enough. The customer experience in the new normal covers a wider range of touchpoints than ever before and can constantly move back and forth between the physical and digital world. Customers often expect a digital engagement to supplement (or completely replace) what was once an in-person experience.

In short: Customers want a robust digital experience that works—and works well.

The result must be a digital experience that is not only highly optimized, but also results in a potentially endless stream of data for brands to consider when doing so.

With such a massive amount of data coming through, it’s more important than ever for brands to manage the digital experience for customers and optimize the collection and analysis of data to contribute to high-quality results.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, digital channels for brand engagement have significantly increased in popularity. A user-friendly digital customer experience can be the difference between a brand loyalist making a repeat purchase and a frustrated customer turning to your competitor’s site.

To fully understand what makes users bail at digital touchpoints, companies need an integrated, multi-channel XM solution that measures non-purchaser behavior. At a minimum, an end-to-end user experience measurement platform should help you:

Address user issues with case management to earn back long-term trust

Closing the loop on customer feedback is key to developing trust and transitioning customers from one-time visitors to repeat loyalists. Case management solutions enable companies to clearly identify and effectively follow through on customer complaints and prevent repeat problems—using in-platform response capabilities across measurement channels.

Additionally, you can seek out a platform that helps you not only address customer issues with case management but provides in-the-moment resolution with dynamic assistance. This solution empowers brands to get the best of both worlds by collecting important CX feedback data while also addressing customer pain points where they happen along the digital customer journey.

See digital touchpoints through the eyes of the user with journey analysis

Only having one part of the puzzle isn’t enough. With analysis of user experience data linked to feedback results, user experience stakeholders can visualize and resolve points of friction in the customer journey. Companies can quickly focus on those areas that truly matter to their customers and avoid chasing the wrong signals.

Understand why customers aren’t converting

With a custom-designed abandonment feedback method, it’s easier to discern whether users were turned off by shipping costs, delivery times, clunky account creation processes, or unanticipated issues.

Deliver personalized feedback engagements

Whether it’s researching products before an in-person visit, making in-app purchases, or redeeming loyalty rewards, branded mobile applications have quickly become a primary touchpoint for consumer interactions across industries. To ensure the app experience meets the expectations set by more established channels, it’s critical to build an innovation strategy that keeps the customer at the heart of every decision.

Businesses can take a more proactive approach to feedback on digital experience management by inviting users to in-app surveys using hyper-targeted invitation criteria (e.g., time in app, specific page visits, or a combination of factors). Whether it’s capturing post-transaction customer satisfaction levels or measuring NPS at strategic intervals, brands can use these dual methods to get answers to pressing questions, such as:

  • How are consumers leveraging the mobile app prior to, or in tandem with, in-store visits?
  • What are the top areas for improvement when it comes to functionality + UX?
  • What are the barriers or points of friction that hinder in-app purchase conversion rates?

In addition to being completely customized to match your branding, surveys can be configured to include a wide variety of question types, input displays, and logic-based surveys that personalize the questions according to the user’s specific behaviors and experience types. Beyond the data provided through the survey, brands can also automatically collect metadata, including:

  • Transactional details (e.g., amount spent, time/day of visit, products purchased)
  • User data such as loyalty membership information or other data housed in CRM systems
  • Device metadata to further refine insights based on operating system, device type, + app version

A multi-source XM reporting platform, when paired with dedicated professional services, can give brands the tools they need to implement custom, comprehensive feedback collection methods that gather information on the customer experience across every touchpoint.

Get the best cross-channel insights with:

Solicited feedback

Intuitive site-intercept surveys actively solicit consumers for feedback during various stages of the purchasing or booking process. You can decide which pages or specific behaviors trigger the survey, giving your teams the opportunity to measure discrete, isolated experiences. By configuring survey invitation criteria to capture feedback at critical points in the digital journey, you can surface more targeted insights and design a user experience optimized for conversion at each step in the purchase decision funnel.

Unsolicited feedback

An always-on feedback tab passively gives online shoppers the opportunity to express how they feel about your brand’s website, the products/services, and the overall user experience without a prompt. Maybe it’s a loyal, repeat customer mourning a discontinued product—or a first-time visitor hitting a roadblock while navigating the app. Positive or negative, unsolicited feedback can help answer the questions you hadn’t even thought to ask.

Self-serve feedback

DIY technology allows clients to create and trigger specialized surveys, separate from standard invitation methods. With intuitive DIY survey capabilities, your teams can edit questions on the fly or choose from a pre-approved question bank, build logic paths to prompt drill-down questions based on prior responses, and take an iterative approach to testing and assessing conversion tactics.

To dig deeper into purchaser and non-purchaser behaviors in real time, brands need an integrated XM platform. By incorporating multiple survey options for a quick turnaround on feedback, it’s that much easier to add depth to consumer data and improve how your brand attracts and retains customers in a competitive landscape.

Invest in human-centered tech

Over the past few years, companies have amped up their digital efforts to meet the needs of consumers and provide better customer experiences. But many brands jumped in without a thoughtful strategy in place—launching overreaching IT investments and futile branded apps that did little to enhance the customer experience.

While it’s easy to confuse outdated ideas with innovative approaches, brands that tackle this increasingly necessary adoption the right way can optimize the technological offerings available to them without disrupting digital CX.

What is “the right way?” Much of it is about drawing a true connection between employee and customer interactions.

With that in mind, UK-based company Co-op introduced a video feedback solution to its existing CX program. Video feedback helped show the humanity behind CX data, allowing employees to hear directly from customers rather than getting filtered feedback from a manager.

The new video comment option was a success and helped Co-op collect more feedback and richer insights—answering key business questions, providing opportunities to recognize employees for outstanding service, and improving program engagement.

Create lasting customer relationships in the new normal

Customer experience management has become a data race—leaving brands struggling to respond to customers’ needs because they’re pulled in too many directions and lack a single source of feedback truth. Being stuck in a network of tech and providers often leads to stripping out human empathy for the sake of short‑term profits.

This complimentary report from Gartner analyzes the effect of moving away from customer empathy in CX management, and how refocusing with their CX CORE model is a key way to drive growth and long‑term loyalty.