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Make Every Interaction Easy and Effective to Engage Customers’ Positive Emotions Blog Feature
John Zimmerer

By: John Zimmerer on May 26th, 2015

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Make Every Interaction Easy and Effective to Engage Customers’ Positive Emotions

Customer | Customer Experience

Three Forrester analysts focusing on customer experience (CX) – Megan Burns, Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian and Allegra Burnette – have recently published reports about how top CX performers create consistently positive customer experiences that drive revenues and positive word of mouth for their brands.

In her report Top Ways to Improve Digital Customer Experience, Burnette lays the groundwork for us, establishing that effective digital experiences must align with three types of customer perceptions:

the_3_Es

Great CX Is Effective, Easy and Evokes Positive Emotions

The goal is to deliver a great customer experience at every touchpoint along the customer journey. To do this well, make things easy for customers. They want their interactions with you to be as frictionless as possible, so focus on removing barriers to communication to increase customers’ satisfaction and loyalty. Making your CX easy is about putting the right information in the right place at the right time.

To ensure that each interaction is effective, focus on the content itself and the way that it’s written. A number of the top CX leaders who improved their CXi scores the most in 2014 where those who made concerted efforts to improve the quality and clarity of the writing and presentation of their content. Writing that comes across as readable and accessible “plain English,” which doesn’t assume that readers are all experts, is most effective. Some companies are even thinking a little further and looking at contextualizing content based on age, geography, language and other demographic information; so if three people are looking for the same information, they might get served different, somewhat personalized versions of the information based on automated digital experience delivery (DXD) that draws on consolidated customer data.The 3 E's of customer experience

If you’ve done your job on the first two elements (ease and effectiveness) from the customer’s perspective, you have a much better chance of evoking positive emotions from each interaction. If you make customers feel they have gotten good value without difficulty, you’ve struck CX gold. “Few things affect customer loyalty more than CX,” says Megan Burns. “Emotion is the biggest lever you have to pull to improve your customer experience.”

The Business Benefits of Improving CX

Effectiveness + ease = positive emotion. That’s how the top performers improve their CX scores year over year. It’s so simple on paper, and yet it’s so difficult to achieve in the real world. And sometimes it’s a challenge to even make the case for investing in 360-degree CX improvement to senior leadership within organizations. Here’s a short run-down of the business benefits of improving CX.

In The Business Impact of Customer Experience, 2014, Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian explains how customer experience correlates to loyalty, which in turn directly impacts revenues based on three correlating factors:

  1. CX is highly correlated to future business.
  2. CX has a moderate inverse correlation to customer defection.
  3. CX is highly correlated to positive word of mouth.

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Forrester is finding that, as lagging industries make concerted efforts to improve their CXi scores, they are rapidly closing the gaps with top performers. (The 2015 CXi report will be coming out in June, and we’ll be able to see if this trend continues to hold true.) This performance gap closure has the effect of raising customers’ expectations about the experiences they’ll receive at every touchpoint with every company with whom they do business, thereby raising the bar for everyone.

In The US Customer Experience Index, Q1 2015, Burns closes the loop, emphasizing that good CX rewards investors as well as customers, citing Watermark Consulting’s analysis of the difference in stock performance between CX leaders and laggards: “CX leaders outperformed laggards by 80 percentage points and the S&P 500 Index by 26 percentage points.” That’s just staggering, and almost nothing else needs to be said about the bottom-line value of focusing on CX improvement.

The_3_Es_3

In The US Customer Experience Index, Q1 2015, Burns closes the loop, emphasizing that good CX rewards investors as well as customers, citing Watermark Consulting’s analysis of the difference in stock performance between CX leaders and laggards: “CX leaders outperformed laggards by 80 percentage points and the S&P 500 Index by 26 percentage points.” That’s just staggering, and almost nothing else needs to be said about the bottom-line value of focusing on CX improvement.

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About John Zimmerer

John Zimmerer is the senior director of marketing at Topdown, where he leads market research and outreach efforts for the company's customer communications and customer experience products. Most recently, John has been researching and writing about the future direction of the technologies that power customer experience, and is regarded as a thought leader in this area. John has nearly 20 years of software product marketing experience. His areas of expertise include market research, analyst relations, public relations and digital marketing.

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