Vice President, Digital Strategy

Three Tips for Solving Top Customer Experience Challenges

At Rise, we have a robust team of designers, writers, and developers. While many traditional agencies would call this group “creative,” we call it “customer experience.” That’s because we think of every digital asset that a client’s customers can interact with—whether it’s a website, mobile app, or social media campaign—as an opportunity to craft a frictionless, cohesive, and relevant customer experience.

It may seem like mere semantics, but this shift in perspective is extremely powerful because it puts the focus on the user. We make it our mission to understand a brand’s customers through data and then deliver the right content (whether it’s a personalized offer or relevant article) to those customers at various touch points along their digital journey.

In our quest to find ways to be more effective in our mission, we recently polled senior marketing leaders about the biggest customer experience challenges they face. Read on to find out how marketers responded and our top three tips on how to approach these challenges.

Innovative Solutions

Tip: Adopting Design Thinking

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding innovative solutions for clients. With this in mind, we’ve adopted a design thinking framework to help quickly and effectively identify innovative solutions tailored to each client. What is design thinking? It is a human-centered and prototype-driven approach to innovation that integrates the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

Customer empathy is the cornerstone of design thinking. The process requires the marketer to think like the customer to see the problems or needs from their perspective before going into problem-solving mode. Here are just a few of the methods we use to get in the mindset of customers and uncover their motivations and pain points:

  • Voice of customer surveys - Proactively engage with your onsite visitors directly on your website or with your customers via email. Voice of customer also allows for quantitative and qualitative data collection around perceptions of the brand, competition, and individual demographics and psychographics.

  • Focus groups/interviews - Face to face dialogue with your customers/users can provide deep insights into human behavior, motivation, and psychology.

  • Card-sorting exercises - Card sorting is useful for sites with several pages, complicated navigation, or those going through a site redesign. The goal of card sorting is to learn how users would organize a website in a way that aligns with their thought process and in the language they think makes the most sense.

  • Heat maps/scroll maps - This method provides a visual representation of visitor behavior on a particular webpage to better understand how users are interacting with the page.

  • Session replay - Use tags to record and segment interactions from your on-site visitors. For example, common tags include visitors who convert, visitors who add to cart but don’t convert, and visitors who interact with a form but don’t convert. While session replay is largely qualitative, it does not provide verbal feedback from the visitor.

Armed with insights gleaned through these methods, we develop ideas based on the true needs of our clients’ customers. Our ideation process is extremely democratic. In developing a similar framework, brands can empower all employees, no matter what their role on the team, to suggest solutions.

Another central tenet of design thinking is the development of quick, rough prototypes. This enables us to test innovative ideas with customers, gain feedback and settle on a winning solution. Once we’ve singled out a solution—built around and tested by users—we start to roadmap and execute, but that work doesn’t end at launch. We always have a testing framework set up so that we’re prepared to learn and iterate. Even the best, most experienced marketing teams don't get it 100 percent right on the first try, regardless if they’re armed with tons of data. Developing a culture of testing ensures your brand never misses an opportunity to improve a digital experience.

Measuring Success

Tip: Setting Clear Expectations Up Front

Data drives everything we do at Rise, so we’ve gained a lot of insight on measurement. Before launching any campaign, website redesign, or content marketing program, it’s important to first know exactly how to measure success. This begins in the discovery phase, working with executive stakeholders to ensure you clearly understand their vision. Below are some of the key questions to ask.

What does success look like?

For this question, look for answers related to your business goals as well as the best possible user experience.

What’s the “right” customer to target?

Start with the existing customer base to prove results quickly, then scale to other customer segments.

What do analytics tell us about existing customers?

Find out as much as you can about customers—from demographics to how they engage with current digital assets. At Rise, this enables us to identify opportunities and develop specific goals for improvement.

With these questions answered, you can begin to develop a custom measurement model that suits the client’s goals. These can vary widely and may focus on any of the following:

  • Traffic, such as sessions, sessions by device, new sessions, or new vs. returning sessions

  • Engagement, including social shares, fan acquisition, bounce rate, or average session duration

  • Conversions, like form field completions, email registrations, or product purchases

In many cases, we’ll assign universal point values to these disparate metrics in order to compare apples to oranges. For instance, if your most coveted conversion is an email registration, and analytics show that social shares correlate highly with email registrations, you might assign five points to an email registration and two to a social share. If Content A drives two email registrations and two social shares (14 total points), while Content B drives one email registration and three social shares (11 total points), we can roughly say Content A is more effective in reaching our goals.

Securing Budget

Tip: Start Small and Scale

It’s no easy feat to convince executives to buy into an idea. We’ve found what works well is to present them with lower-commitment approaches that can scale easily. For every big, ambitious idea we pitch, we also develop a quick-win scenario with a campaign that can quickly produce results and success. Creating a similar framework will allow marketers to validate their ideas and create confidence that more budget will deliver successful outcomes at scale.

The low-commitment and quick-win scenarios will allow you to build incremental wins and the data you need to support your proposals for larger-scale changes. There’s nothing as persuasive as results, and armed with the innovative solutions and measurement technique, you should be able to show the valuable impact of customer-driven strategies.

Ultimately, winning budget comes down to good communication. If your team can effectively prove it’s working to develop innovative solutions and airtight measurement models on an ongoing basis, then this will come across in your pitch.

Applying these methods to tackle major customer experience challenges can arm marketers with the tools they need to overcome them. At Rise, we’ve seen first hand how shifting the focus from creative to customer experience allows us to drive greater success for our clients. To measure success, defining goals up front is the only way to know when you’ve reached the finish line and understand the impact of your efforts. Finally, applying a start-small-and-scale approach to test, iterate, and prove concepts will make it easier to secure budget.

To learn more about creating the best experience for your customers, reach out to Rise

09/13/2016 at 05:25