Touch-Point Technology: Transforming The Customer Journey

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Technology has become a part of almost every day-to-day activity. Things are no different for how brands do business. The customer journey has been transformed to address rising expectations in speed, precision, personalization and security through implementation of technologies at crucial touch-points, or the moments of interaction between the brand and the customer.

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INTRODUCTION —

Technology has become a part of almost every day-to-day activity. Things are no different for how brands do business.

The customer journey has been transformed to address rising expectations in speed, precision, personalization and security through implementation of technologies at crucial touch-points, or the moments of interaction between the brand and the customer.

This snapshot explores three trends we see in today’s brands’ use of technology at touch-points along the customer journey:

Chapter 1: Reducing customer effort
Chapter 2: Re-humanizing interactions
Chapter 3: From responsive to predictive

CHAPTER ONE —
REDUCING CUSTOMER EFFORT

In what ways does a low-effort experience value both businesses and customers? 

How are brands utilizing technology to simplify touch-points in the customer journey?

With each (successful) innovation we see a reduction in some form of effort undertaken by consumers. Recently there have been extensive reports revealing that when consumers reach out to brands, above all else what they want is simply an effortless experience. 

The fewer number of steps needed to order a pizza, the increasingly natural speech recognition capabilities of devices and the advancement of device-to-device communication with little to no human involvement all demonstrate the growing success of reduced customer effort. 

We’re seeing companies implement technology at various touch-points along the customer journey, some of which have been innovated around extensively (e.g. customer service and use), others are seeing disruption for the first time more recently (e.g. payment and delivery).

Technologies making reducing customer effort possible:

Customer effort as a measurement of business success:

Customer Effort Score (CES) is the resulting score given on a scale of 1 (very low effort) to 5 (very high effort) when a customer is asked “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?”

CES outperformed both Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) in predicting behavior.

Predictive power for repurchasing:

Note: This research by CEB focused on the customer service interaction stages of the customer journey, but can be applied to other touch-points.

A LOW EFFORT experience from the customer’s perspective results in:

  • 88% increased likelihood of spending more or wallet share, meaning they will spend more over a lifetime on the brand or product.
  • 74% increased likelihood of recommending the brand to others

A HIGH EFFORT experience from the customer’s perspective results in:

  • 81% increased likelihood of negative word of mouth
  • 96% increase in overall disloyalty towards the brand

How can a touch-point be made effortless?

There are two key ways a brand can decrease effort at customer touch-points.

  1. By streamlining it – Through process automation, reducing steps or simplifying design.
  2. By turning it into something else – Making it more fun and enjoyable, either through gamifying the step or connecting it to a social platform.

 

BEST PRACTICES

Download the PDF version to view best practice content PLUS implications in the form of actionable steps for YOUR business.

CHAPTER TWO —
REHUMANIZING INTERACTIONS

What’s the reasoning behind making a brand seem more “human”? Why do we want this?

How are businesses harnessing new technologies to convey themselves as more “human”?

Customer interactions for a long time became standardized to cope with fast-paced growth, and so were stereotyped as robotic and disconnected. More recently, the importance of customer- centricity has become widespread, as disrupters of consumer expectations enter the market swiftly and successfully as a result of a technology driven business models. 

Keeping up with the fast-paced trends and changing consumer behaviors has become the only way for businesses – both small and legacy – to stay relevant, and to do this, the customer should be at the center of the business. 

Business is now turning a corner and recognizing the importance of showing their human side in order to reach and connect with customers, and are delivering this new experience to every single customer, efficiently and effectively by harnessing new technologies.

Technologies making reducing customer effort possible:

“It is ironic that where the race to automate everything seemed to obviate the human factor, technology is now being used to personalize and humanize service.” — Catherine Chetwynd, Raconteur

As we hear about robots replacing staff in almost every industry, we are beginning to see the marketing power of “brand human.” The act of presenting a brand as having a human-touch – something we feel we will soon lose.

The man-power required to not only provide this human-touch, but to also meet rising consumer demands of speed, omnichannel consistency and personalization is massively costly and impractical. Enter technology solutions.

Here are 3 ways technology is helping brands to ‘humanize’ customer interactions:

  1. CREATING AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION

“An emotional connection matters more than customer satisfaction”

Consumer behavior is driven by hundreds of “emotional motivators.” Some of the most significant include a desire to stand out from the crowd, to have confidence in the future and to feel a sense of freedom.

By implementing technology at touch-points along the customer journey, brands can apply sophisticated data analytical techniques to gather data to inform them of their customer’s motivators at each point.

Emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers, on a lifetime value basis. 

They will buy more from brands, pay more attention to communications and recommend them more.

“To relate is human.”

  1. MAKING COMMUNICATION AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE

“60% of smartphone users agree that “if voice assistants could understand me properly and speak back to me as well as a human can, I’d use them all the time.”

“I want to talk to a robot” — said no customer, ever.

Customer-centric company Amazon are making a huge effort to make Alexa sound more human:

“To help rid Alexa of its cyborgian lilt, Amazon recently upgraded its speech synthesis markup language tags … [to] allow Alexa to do things like whisper, pause, bleep out expletives, and vary the speed, volume, emphasis, and pitch of its speech.”

  1. PERSONALIZING INTERACTIONS

“I would give more data to businesses if it meant avoiding irrelevant offers”

Consumers are 75% more likely to buy from a retailer that either:

  • Recognizes them by name
  • Recommends options based on past purchases
  • Knows their purchase history

With masses of customer data at our fingertips, in real-time and with great accuracy, we have no reason not to personalize customer journeys where possible. 

Consumers now recognize that a personalized journey gives them a more enjoyable and relevant experience, and is well on it’s way to becoming an expectation.

BEST PRACTICES

Download the PDF version to view best practice content PLUS implications in the form of actionable steps for YOUR business.

CHAPTER THREE —
FROM RESPONSIVE TO PREDICTIVE

Where is the demand coming from for more than instant service? 

How is technology beginning to open up new opportunities for predictive intelligence?

As consumers become accustomed to instantaneous service from brands and from the products they use, we see businesses taking a step further to stay ahead, to meet and exceed expectations. The huge quantity of customer data that can now be so easily aggregated has brought about the possibility for technology that can begin to anticipate customer needs. 

This technology has been around for a long time – just think of Google search predicting what you want to type. We’re now seeing this advance further under the title “smart automation.” 

Far from perfect, this technology can be a negative impact if not done right, but when successful, it proves to be immensely valuable to users and businesses alike. Technologies anticipating our needs before we even have to act will soon be routine.

Technologies making prediction possible:

More than half of consumers expect companies to  anticipate their needs, and make relevant, proactive suggestions across every touch-point.

“Predictive analytics, self-learning algorithms and technology create a connective thread powered by data to fine-tune customer interactions and experiences. This enables a company to use real-time data to calculate and anticipate customer needs, delivering the next-best product, service or experience for customers.” — Rob Walker, CTO & VP of Product Marketing at Pega

70% increase in conversion rate as a result of Microsoft’s tailored email offers using real-time customer data.

When sending email offers for Bing, Microsoft saw an increase of 70% in conversion rates. They achieved this by using real-time customer information such as location, age, gender, past and very recent online activity and information about recent responses from other customers. 

This data was not gathered beforehand, but was collected and analyzed within 200 milliseconds of the email actually being opened, in order for the most relevant offer to be made.

This use of predictive analytics in real-time and consequent success demonstrates that if data is being used to ensure ultimate customization and so deliver the most value for the user, customers will respond.

“..remembering customer preferences is only the beginning; the personalization capability extends to optimizing the next steps in a customer’s journey. 

At the moment a customer engages (for example, by responding to a message or launching an app), the firm must analyze the customer’s behavior and tailor its next interaction accordingly.” — David C. Edelman & Marc Singer, HBR, Competing on Customer Journeys

READ ON THE GO —

Best Practices

Download the PDF version to view best practice content PLUS implications in the form of actionable steps for YOUR business.

Download the PDF version of this report to read on the go.

By clicking “Download full report” you will receive your download and you agree to receive our regular Bulletin email. Our bulletin shares the latest reports, insights and knowledge bites surrounding strategy & innovation.