A New Age and New Standard for Customer Experience

Perhaps surprisingly, despite the impetus on brands to deliver outstanding customer service, Forrester has reported slipping scores for 2017, and predicts other issues for 2018. As Forrester explains, new tools and transitionary technology, like artificial intelligence, are hurting brands’ customer experience delivery. Additionally, efforts to automate processes, highly aware and marketing-familiar customers and lack of special brand interactions are common culprits for suffering experiences.


In efforts to cut costs, a lot of brands have attempted to automate certain processes. These efforts, which include email campaigns, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) phone systems and app-driven systems are helpful for cutting costs and providing customers with the feedback, interaction and information they need. However, sometimes they cause problems. Automated systems run the risk of making customers feel unwanted. This is especially true when an automated system goes wrong. IVR systems that take too long or aren’t intuitive are prime examples of automation run amok because they inconvenience the customer in the name of price cutting.

Ideally, any automated system should be mapped out and thoroughly examined to ensure it will always provide a positive and efficient customer experience. Additionally, other customer touchpoints need to make up for the somewhat sterile environment automated systems can cause.

Heightened Expectations

Consumers are more aware of their value than ever before, and tend to be more brand-agnostic when customer experience isn’t excellent. They know their value and expect their value to be reciprocated in the form of attentive customer service, small favors when things go awry and a longitudinal perspective on their relationship with the brand they interact with. In particular, Millennials tend to be more sensitive and skeptical to aggressive sales pitches and shameless self-promotion on brands’ ends. Instead, they want concrete value propositions and a sense of brand pride and identity they will want to align themselves with.

Campaign notes that brands need to align themselves with a greater social purpose and mission, rather than simply selling quality goods/services for a profit. This is another example of heightened expectations – the requirement of brands to establish missions and convey that mission through their marketing and interactions.

Failing to Create Special Moments

Too many brands are failing to create truly special, stand-out moments. They think of customer experience through a lens of pain avoidance, and don’t always consider maximizing a positive experience.

A good example of this is product delivery. Brands may prioritize customer service goals like delivering on-time, assuring their products are high-quality, and anything else that avoids angering the customer, which is good. However, initiatives like trying to help the customer maximize their use of the product/service can really help differentiate their enjoyment and overall experience. Consider the example of a software provider: How well does a given software provider help their customers truly make sense of their software? Are customers delighted by how easy it is to use after a tutorial? Can they reach out in the future and easily get answers to their questions? These elements differentiate brands.

Even something as simple as a pay-at-the-counter pizza shop can learn from this lesson: Pizza shop workers can inquire about the customers’ night and ask if they’re having a family movie night, as an example, and let them know the pizza provider hopes they enjoy spending time together. This example is a simple gesture, but brand differentiation often comes down to small, specific actions. Make sure you’re taking the time to make each moment special in order to separate your brand from the pack.

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