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Author's profile photo Bernard Chung

Creating a “Frictionless” Customer Experience

Don’t Focus on Your Campaigns – Aim to Provide a Frictionless Customer Experience

Marketing campaigns alone don’t work that well anymore. Sure, campaigns do the job of generating leads. As such, they will help you hit the numbers that you’re measured on. But if you’re focused on the true measure of success – how can you convert your target audience into customers – campaigns alone have little impact compared with other factors (such as use of social media, peer reviews, third-party influencers).

There are a lot of reasons for this. Customers are more sophisticated and they expect more. Traditional scattershot campaigns are not personalized or relevant enough to turn their heads.

Frictionless CX.jpgAt the same time campaigns don’t work as well as they used to because the skills and technology have matured to a point where almost anyone has access to do sophisticated marketing. Take channel mix optimization, for example. Figuring out the optimal channel mix – which channels to leverage and when, how much to invest – used to be a Holy Grail of marketing. Same for predictive analytics. Today, though, there are tools and services available that can make optimization a snap. All you need is the budget.

My point: Everyone is good at campaigns. Everyone has the access to tools and services, so these don’t give competitive differentiation any longer. To get past this conundrum, marketers need to think about delivering compelling, personalized, relevant customer experience that goes across channels. The challenge is not new. You need to be able to unify customer data and collect real-time information about your customer from all of your interactive channels – and their social interactions, as well. You need a way to leverage your previous interactions with the customer to make your future exchanges more relevant and personalized.

Marketers have to approach customer experience from the point of view of the customer, says marketing guru and Peppers & Rogers group co-founder Don Peppers. And what customers most want is an experience that goes with maximum fluidity. In the video accompanying this article, Peppers said, “The best possible customer experience is frictionless, imposing no burden at all on the customer. The customer gets his need met with as little problem or effort as possible.”

Problems and issues create dissatisfaction, which in turn begets disloyalty. By contrast, good customer experience is one that does not leave the customer dissatisfied in any way. The product is reliable, valuable, not overpriced, on time, works as advertised, is relevant to the customer’s needs and lifestyle.

As Forrester analyst David Cooperstein pointed out in the same video, a major challenge with delivering frictionless customer experience is that often, the entire company has not bought into what that customer experience should be. “A lot of companies don’t have someone who leads the effort behind customer experience at an enterprise level.” That makes it challenge for the marketer to ensure the brand experience is consistent wherever the customer interacts with the company. Cooperstein believes the CMO needs to own customer experience. 

So, make sure you don’t get caught up in using exciting new tools for your next campaign. They are definitely important – you’ve got to keep up with what your competitors are doing, after all. But when it comes to creating long-lived relationships with customers based on trust, figure out what you need to do to eliminate barriers and problems for your customers. They will love you for it.  Check out the short video interviews.

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