“Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open.” So said Elmer G. Leterman, the master insurance salesman from America who penned a number of best-selling business books in the 1950s.
Grabbing the attention of prospective customers is one thing—keeping them engaged beyond that is something completely different. And, while this challenge is made more complex by the growing number of digital devices and touch points, getting it right can convert customers and boost bottom lines.
Gartner research suggests 86% of customers would pay more for better customer experience. And Forrester has six years of data proving that CX leaders grow revenue faster than CX laggards.
Getting it right requires brands to demonstrate consistently five core behaviours.
1. Be Quick
Today’s hyper-connected customers expect a brand’s core services to be present and ready to engage on the relevant channels. Opportunities open and close in the blink of an eye.
Your website will be visited less often by customers if it’s even 250 milliseconds slower than that of your competitors. Research from April 2016 shows the top 10 global websites load in under one second.
Progressive Web Apps are responsive websites on steroids. They’re lightning-quick experiences built using smart data-caching technologies, and fantastic for engaging and acquiring potential customers. For example, Housing.com saw 95% reduction in cost per acquisition. And when ecommerce giant Alibaba built a PWA in the summer of 2016, it saw a 76% increase in conversions.
Further underlining the commercial potential, open-source ecommerce platform Magento announced in July 2017 that it would be offering PWA support—covering 26% of the internet’s web shops.
2. Be Captivating
Expectations are sky-high, with 84% of customers expecting brands to be innovative. And it’s good news if you can be brilliant because 86% of customers would pay more for better customer experience. But it’s bad news if you don’t deliver—one in four Brits delete apps the same day they’re installed.
British heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua got back up from being knocked to the canvas for the first time in his career to come back and beat Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round. Grime artist Kano wrote and performed a spoken word tribute that encouraged Joshua to continue on his road to greatness and “seize the moment” after the IBF champion’s victory over Klitschko. Sports brand Under Armour, who had taken a gamble on Joshua winning, used it to soundtrack its marketing campaign. The commercial grabbed 11 million views in 4 days (70% organic), with the U.S. team requesting it be recut for broadcast the following weekend on network TV.
3. Be Helpful
Create frictionless interactions—according to Harvard Business Review, 67% of consumers cite bad experiences as the main reason for churn. These interactions need to be task oriented and make it easy for consumers to engage by providing crystal clear calls to action.
AXA has partnered with startup Trov to launch a U.K. insurance service as simple as Tinder, but for British millennials. Customers can swipe to turn insurance on or off for individual items, which taps into the growing preference for temporary cover and micro-payments.
Trov has launched its on-demand insurance platform in the U.K, which it presents as a modern alternative to the arcane practices of a 300-year-old industry. The U.K.’s techforward consumers are likely to appreciate this exciting departure from traditional insurance.
4. Be Authentic
Concerns around purpose and security mean that it has never been more important to be genuine and transparent. Provenance is pivotal.
Staff at U.K. challenger bank Monzo say they “aim to default to transparency,” according to a blog post from November 2016. The app allows customers to watch their spending in real time, with transactions syncing immediately and notifications sent to mobiles.
Monzo builds trust by publishing its product roadmap via a publicly available Trello board. It believes that, as a company, it will do better if it shares with its community and gathers feedback as it builds the product.
The bank has 324,000 customers and £100 million transactions each month. Growth is impressive, with 25,000 sign-ups a week on the waiting list, and it’s opening more accounts every month than any other U.K. bank.
5. Be Personal
Stitch Fix lives and dies by the quality of its recommendations. It’s a personal styling company that combines technology, AI, and the human touch of 3,000 seasoned stylists to make personalisation scalable.
Customers fill out style surveys, provide measurements, offer up Pinterest boards, and send in personal notes. Machine learning algorithms digest all this information and communicate the results to the company’s fashion stylists, who then select five items from a variety of brands and send them to the customer.
Stitch Fix is also developing brand new “frankenstyles”—fashions born entirely from data created by a “genetic algorithm” which starts with existing styles and randomly modifies them over the course of many simulated “generations.” Over time, a sleeve style from one garment and a colour or pattern from another may “evolve” into a whole new shirt.
Customers are living their lives constantly connected, and they don’t see channels, they just see services. It makes life pretty tough for business leaders who are tasked with delivering evermore outstanding experiences across a rapidly growing suite of digital touch points—all the while trying to demonstrate consistently these five winning behaviours.