The expectations of experience: Getting cross channel experiences right

Mobile friendly, real-time, personalised, easy to use and consistent cross channel experiences are now the expectation of your customer. Find out why in this post.

Poor cross channel experiences will waste money and cost you sales

I recently signed up for one of the digital video providers to see what content was available (I was looking for Season 3 of Suits which isn’t yet on Netflix). I didn’t purchase any content at the time and after browsing for a bit logged out. I forgot all about it until a week or so later when I received a letter in the post. It contained a promotion for 30 days free videos on this same service if I sign up. Great, I think – 30 days free video. However the problem is that I have already signed up and the letter is written for someone who hasn’t yet registered. The letter and its accompanying gift card ended up in the bin as they were irrelevant to my stage in the customer journey. Wasted marketing.

In this example I’d used my SmartTV as the main channel for registration and then received a promotional offer via direct mail. The promotion wasn’t within the SmartTV app and the direct mail didn’t reference where I was in the customer journey. Due to this misalignment, money has been wasted on ineffective marketing and the opportunity to convert me as a customer has been missed.

Where could things have gone better?

Cross channel customer experiences need to comply to a new set of customer expectations. These are:

  1. Consistency – the same promotions and messages are available across channels
  2. Mobile – I can access the service or content via a mobile device
  3. Personalised – I am known and my data is used to improve my experience
  4. Real-time – offers and messages is served when the context is right
  5. Easy – it is simple and intuitive

Expectation 1: The experience should be consistent across channels

Promotions should not be different on each channel. They should be consistent.

In this example, I should have received the same promotion on the SmartTV. Somewhere during the process or as I browsed, there should have been the opportunity to begin a 30 day free content trial.

Similarly the process documented on the letter should have reflected the process on the SmartTV app.

Expectation 2: The experience should work or be enhanced by mobile

There can be no doubt that smart phones have disrupted and altered customer behaviour. As a general rule your website should work on a mobile device. However you may find it useful to develop new opportunities to bring mobile into the customer journey.

The video app on the SmartTV could have encouraged me to pair up my mobile device to use it as a remote control like YouTube does. Similarly following registration I could have been sent an SMS or email inviting me to download the app and get content on the move.

Considering mobile as a channel is crucial for improving the customer journey and providing another channel for communications with your customer.

Expectation 3: The experience should be personalised for me as an individual

Given that I’d completed the registration process, the direct mail should have been adapted to my stage in a typical customer journey. Perhaps it should have been adapted based on the shows I browsed and the device I was using.

Personalisation of the experience shows that you as a brand value the information I’ve given you and are going to put in the effort to connect with me. Personalisation also helps reduce any friction (or difficulty) in interpreting further messages you’ve sent to me. If the message aligns with my context as a customer its easier to interpret and put into action.

Expectation 4: The experience should be delivered in real-time

There was over a week’s delay between registering and receiving the promotion. By this point I’ve completely forgotten my original need or filled it elsewhere. Message to me in the moment and there is a greater chance that I’ll use the promotion to help me complete the purchase.

Expectation 5: The experience should be easy to complete

The letter I received was two sides of A4 explaining how to make use of the offer. Along with it was a plastic gift card that had a code to be entered next time I logged in. Reading and understanding the instructions sent to me was more effort than I could be bothered with. Similarly entering a 10 digital digit alpha-numeric code into my SmartTV would have not been an easy process.

Why not make the whole thing easier? Why not just give me the 30 day trial and have it start from the first time I start watching content? That’s short enough a message to put in a tweet or an SMS. It also doesn’t require any additional work on my part to interpret or access the deal.

Conclusion: Meeting cross channel expectations

These 5 expectations are not easily delivered. In fact some of them are very challenging to pull off technically. Real-time personalisation requires some serious heavy lifting of data and processing power to work. Similarly owning and being able to control each element of the customer journey can be extremely difficult in an organisation where channel operations may be siloed.

A good starting point is to map out the customer journey on a matrix like the one in my previous post (customer experience matrix). You may also want to work through a list of every channel the customer could use to make sure that you’ve covered each potential use case.

My final point again is one in favour of marketing or experience orchestration. It becomes a central experience nervous system that responds to what is happening on any channel. Given its ability to bring together data and push out messaging in real-time, it is a great technology to have on your side.

Help me out…

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David Sealey is a trusted adviser to senior executives on getting the most from their investment in digital and data. David created Storm81 as a place to share his passion for business, digital technologies, multichannel marketing and everything else around these topics.

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