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The secrets to a first-class customer experience

Delivering the best CX is a mix of alleviating pain points, anticipating needs, creating fantastic content and putting the customer at the centre of everything.

By 2020, customer experience is expected to be the chief differentiator for buyers. Yet only 1% of customers feel their needs are being met.

Wondering how you deliver a first-class customer experience? Those who attended the 2019 B2B Marketing Leaders Forum learned it’s a mix of alleviating pain points, anticipating needs, creating fantastic content and putting the customer at the centre of everything.

Customers are not hostages
Customer experience is as critical to your business as tech transformation, marketing and branding, according to Mim Haysom, CMO and Executive General Manager, Brand and Marketing at Suncorp.

“If we don’t have any customers, we don’t have a business – that’s why it’s critical to drive customer experience,” she said.

“It’s very important that we, as marketers, know what our customers want, and we do that through research.”

“The key is to ask the customer what their pain points are.”

Haysom said Suncorp has grown to understand there are three key customer pain points,

  1. Time – customers want things done quickly.
  2. Value – customers need value in products, services and education.
  3. Anxiety – customers are always asking: ‘How do I know you’re doing the right thing for me? How do I know you’re not ripping me off?’

“Mitigating these pain points for customers will make for a better business,” Haysom said.

She pointed out that customers have more choice than ever before and can shift their business from one company to another very easily.

“The barriers that have kept customers hostage before just aren’t there anymore,” she said.

“They can change banks and phone companies so easily now.”

Anticipate customer need

Businesses must stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the needs and wants of their customers. They have to anticipate customers’ needs before the customers even know their own needs have changed.

That’s the approach multinational software maker Autodesk is taking, according to APAC CMO Bhupesh Lall.

“We had to do something different to disrupt ourselves,” he said.

“We moved to the cloud and moved to a subscription model. This can future proof our customers.”

Lall said there was a cultural mindset shift within the company – to become customer-centric.

“You can’t have a customer experience unless you have an aligned employee experience,” he said.

“That is, employees who understand the customers and know what they want.”

“It’s easy for customers to walk away if they have paid very little for your solution. We have to deliver exceptional products and an exceptional customer experience to all of our customers. Everyone in the company needs to take responsibility for that.”

Lall said he aims to ensure that customers stay on their journey with Autodesk by continuing to adopt and continuing to renew.

“We monitor for customer behaviour to check for warnings they might drop their account,” he said.

“We also ask: are they calling tech help? Are they using their accounts to the full?”

A big part of customer acquisition and customer retention is providing that personal experience.

“Customers want more personalised products,” Lall said.

“So we have customers’ names on web pages and we drive personalised experiences with AI.

“We give our customers a white glove, conversational experience.”

Life is a content opportunity

You can create a relationship of trust with your customers through your content. Content marketing, as its core, puts the customer first and its purpose is to deliver value.

“Life is a content opportunity,” said Origin Energy’s Digital Content Editor Stefanie Di Trocchio.

“The best content returns value for its maker as well as its user. To achieve that you need a good filter and to properly articulate your content strategy.

“What mix of paid, earned and owned fits your business? To know you need to find out where your audience hangs out.”

Di Trocchio said she asks these six questions of her content, and content marketing, to deliver the best customer experience:

  1. What is the purpose of your content?
  2. What do you want it to do?
  3. Who is it for?
  4. How will you deliver it?
  5. How will you measure it?
  6. What does success look like?

CX isn’t set-and-forget

“The landscape is constantly changing and we have to constantly think if we really are customer-centric,” Joanne Thrift, CMO at Pepper Money said.

In order to assess its CX, Pepper benchmarked its services in a CX diagnostic. They were shocked at what they learned. The diagnostic said they were not doing CX well at all.

Thrift said she was determined to take note and make the necessary changes.

“We didn’t have a customer strategy for the business, so we decided to put one together,” Thrift said.

“I was determined to write a strategy from the inside out. As a result we changed all our correspondence across all of our customer touch points.

“Our purpose was to design exceptional experiences through our expertise in brand digital and customer service and ensure every interaction delivered on its promise.

“We need to be champions of the customer in every meeting we have, in everything we do. And the last thing we want to hear is all that fluffy customer service talk. We need to show how we are driving outcomes for the business.”

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