In recent years, as consumer preferences have shifted from “consumption of goods” to “consumption of experiences”, emphasis has been placed not only on the value of products but also on the customer experience throughout the entire process from purchase to after-sales service. In this article, we will explain customer experience, and then introduce ways to improve customer experience and OMO marketing, which combines online and offline.
Table of contents
- What is customer experience (CX)?
- Why is customer experience (CX) important now?
- Increase in information dissemination by consumers
- Increase in contact points between companies and customers
- Change in value from things to experiences
- Points to improve customer experience (CX)
- Organize your customer experience
- Identify issues using data
- Verify hypotheses to improve issues
- What is OMO marketing that maximizes customer experience (CX)?
What is customer experience (CX)?
Customer experience refers to the series of experiences a customer has from the time they become interested in a product or service to the time they continue to purchase and use it. If the product comes with after-sales support, that is also included in the customer experience. The English word for customer experience is Customer Experience.
For example, let’s say you found a delicious-looking sweet on SNS and went to the store to buy it. In that case, the customer experience includes all actions, starting from browsing social media, going to the store, picking up the product, and eating it at home.
Customer experience consists of “Sense (sensory value)” such as sight and taste, “Feel (emotional value)” that affects emotions, and “Think (creative/intellectual value)” that stimulates intellectual curiosity and creativity. , “Act (value related to behavior and lifestyle),” which provides new value related to behavior, and “Relate (value of belonging to a reference group and social experience value)” obtained by belonging to a specific group. Classified.
When a customer interacts with a product or service, if you can provide not only the pure value of the product but also the above-mentioned excellent customer experience, loyalty to the product or service will increase. By making your products irreplaceable for your customers, you can expect to increase your repeat and retention rates.
Customer experience has become increasingly important in Japan in recent years, and C Space Japan has researched and published a “Customer Experience Value Ranking.” Although some well-known companies are listed at the top, it is safe to assume that the customer experience value referred to here is equivalent to customer experience (CX).
Why is customer experience (CX) important now?
So why is customer experience becoming so important now? There are three main reasons. The details are explained below.
Increase in information dissemination by consumers
Before the spread of the Internet, information about the value of products and services could only be obtained from corporate communications such as advertisements and commercials. However, we now live in an era where each consumer can communicate about products and services through SNS, blogs, review sites, etc. There are countless examples of products becoming hits through personal SNS, and many people refer to review sites when deciding on a store or accommodation.
We live in an era where companies can no longer ignore the power of communication of individuals. As a result, trust between companies and consumers is more important than ever, and companies are increasingly focusing on enhancing the customer experience.
Increase in contact points between companies and customers
Additionally, with the spread of the Internet and SNS, the number of points of contact between companies and customers has increased, which is one of the major reasons why customer experience is becoming more important. In the past, the only points of contact between companies and customers were visits by stores and salespeople, but now companies can access information about products and services through various tools such as SNS, websites, smartphone apps, and email. You can also reach out to your customers.
Although it is convenient that communication between companies and customers has become closer and information has become easier to access, there are also aspects of customer behavior that are becoming more complex as the number of choices increases. In order to keep repeat customers, it is necessary to add value in areas other than the product.
Change in value from things to experiences
In recent years, the oversupply of goods and services has become evident, making it difficult to differentiate based solely on the content of products and services. In addition, as is known as “experiential consumption” and “extraordinary consumption,” consumers have come to place more emphasis on the spiritual satisfaction gained from using items than on the value of the item itself.
Reflecting this trend of the times, there is an increase in the number of continuous business models that are not just “sell and call it a day”. Specific examples include flat-rate sharing services and subscription-based services.
It can be said that the key to a business model that will survive in the future is to build continuous relationships with customer-centered services.
Points to improve customer experience (CX)
So, what measures are needed to improve the customer experience? Here are three important points.
Organize your customer experience
In order to effectively improve customer experience, it is necessary to accurately understand and analyze customer trends and needs, rather than just vaguely formulating countermeasures. The first step to achieving this is organizing the customer experience.
First, let’s clarify in detail what kind of contact points existing products and services have with customers, and then arrange them in chronological order. Furthermore, we will break down and write down the customer behavior and thought process for each point of contact.
A graphical representation of this is called a customer journey map, and it is a very effective means of visualizing the relationship between customer behavior and emotions, as well as the flow of consciousness. This allows the team to have a common understanding, making it easier to devise more effective countermeasures.
Identify issues using data
In recent years, digitalization has made it possible to collect vast amounts of data from customers at various points of contact. Customer reactions and trends can be visualized and quantified through website access analysis, customer surveys, user reviews, and customer support feedback.
By reflecting the collected data in a customer journey map, various issues can be identified to improve the current situation, such as what is lacking in services, products, and customer experience, as well as invisible customer requests and trends. It is important to resolve the identified issues and lead to further improvement of the customer experience.
Verify hypotheses to improve issues
Once we have identified the current issues, we will develop and implement specific measures for improvement. However, since the issues that have come to light are only hypotheses, it is necessary to verify each time whether the improvement measures actually meet the customer’s wishes.
To clarify issues, it would be effective to listen directly to customer opinions, such as user interviews or surveys. Additionally, even when implementing improvement plans, it may be difficult to understand based on data alone, so it is important to visit stores and venues in person to directly observe customer reactions.
By repeating hypotheses and testing, and adjusting countermeasures while checking for changes, it becomes possible to provide an experience that is more tailored to the customer’s perspective.
These CX initiatives may be carried out by the entire company. This is because the customer experience encompasses everything from the point of interest in the product to the after-sales service. For example, even if the staff at your store are friendly, poor customer service may cause customers to leave your store. Therefore, if a response that crosses departments or locations is required, it is necessary to share awareness throughout the company.
What is OMO marketing that maximizes customer experience (CX)?
In an era when more emphasis is placed on customer experience, a marketing method that is attracting attention is “OMO (Online Merges with Offline).” OMO marketing aims to maximize the customer experience by combining online, such as online shops, and offline, such as brick-and-mortar stores. Specifically, these include e-commerce sites that utilize chatbots that allow customers to ask questions as if they were in a store, stores that have introduced automatic customer service using digital signage, and efforts to recreate real stores in cyberspace.
Nowadays, many people own smartphones and use the Internet in all aspects of their lives, such as gathering and disseminating information, making purchases, and making payments. If you separate your online and offline areas and conduct marketing separately like in the past, you won’t get any noticeable results.
From now on, it is thought that the standard will be to provide flexible services without boundaries, incorporating the advantages of both online and external sources, while still being online-based. OMO will play an even more important role in this.
In today’s world of products and services, in order to be chosen by consumers, it is necessary to provide a richer customer experience. OMO is an effective means to maximize this. In order to provide an experience that satisfies customers while leveraging the benefits of both online and offline, each company will need to actively promote digital transformation.