customer experience

(Photo by Leon Neal / POOL / AFP)

Understanding customer personas to deliver the perfect customer experience

With increasing reliance on digital services such as e-Commerce, online banking, and such, perfecting the customer experience is now becoming a prerogative for organizations. Today, a poorly executed digital platform that does not prioritize the customer experience could have serious repercussions on an organization.

According to a Forrester Consulting study, despite customer experience becoming more imperative for competitive differentiation, organizations often fail in exceeding customer expectations. The Infuse Digital Experiences with the Right Dose of Human Touch study was conducted on behalf of CINNOX surveyed 1,200 customers across Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore. It is the first study focused on identifying customer behavioral changes and trends in the post-pandemic Asia Pacific region.

The study revealed that only 16% of surveyed consumers experienced interactions that exceeded their expectations, with developed markets like Hong Kong and Singapore showing lower sentiments at just 7% and 9%. The figures are indeed concerning as poor customer experience will only lead to customers looking for alternatives and disrupt brand loyalty.

Some of the reasons for a poor customer experience include unresolved feedback and inquiries, long waiting and response time, poor interaction outcomes, the need to use multiple channels to solve a problem as well as poorly knowledgeable customer service staff. This had led to customers feeling disappointed, annoyed, and frustrated with the brand.

The customer personas of the future  

“Many brands are not offering a streamlined integrated experience for consumers. Unhappy and dissatisfied customers will not only leave the brand, but they will also least likely promote or recommend it to their peers,” said Teow Yi Qin, a consultant at Forrester.

Yi Qin added that the situation is more concerning in developed markets are these consumers have many high expectations and want the customer experience to be seamless. While the study looks at brands across industries, she said that the retail, tech, and finance industries showed the most demanding customer experiences.

Interestingly, the study also highlighted that five unique customer personas have since emerged post-pandemic, enabling organizations to have a tailored approach to enhance their customer experience. The five personas are:

  • Omni-shoppers: This group of shoppers finds both human and digital touchpoints important. They feel safe with digital interactions and want omnichannel experiences that seamlessly transition between touchpoints. Part of the reason for this is because they have engaged in online activities pre-pandemic and have increased their habits during the pandemic.
  • Multichannel enthusiasts: Using multiple channels for customer service and support, this group wants their issues resolved end-to-end within a single touchpoint during an interaction without needing to switch channels. Just like Omni-shoppers, they were already engaged in mostly online activities pre-pandemic, and increased engagement since pandemic.
  • Reserved digital immigrants: These are users that prefer offline touchpoints or online touchpoints with live human support, without having to switch communication across touchpoints. Concerned about the safety of digital interactions, most have not done more online activities since the pandemic.
  • Affluent high touch seekers: The group of high-income holders prefer offline touchpoints but are also comfortable with digital. For them, it’s all about the seamless experience. They want high personal touch both offline and online to establish greater trust and rapport.
  • Low-touch digital natives: Mostly made up of younger users that are happy with self-service digital touchpoints across the customer journey, with little or no human intervention required such as chatbots.

As such, the study clearly indicates that organizations need to redefine and tailor their approach to create the perfect customer experience, both online and offline.

Building the right customer experience strategy

For Patsy Wong, Chief Strategy Officer at CINNOX, businesses need to have a strategy before they implement any technology. In the past, CRM and helpdesk tools may have help but they lacked the omnichannel capabilities that are needed for the hybrid digital experiences customers want.

“You need another layer on top to manage all your customer experiences interactions across all channels to cater to customer needs. And this is exactly what CINNOX is and does. As a secured cloud-based total experience platform, it’s no longer just about the customer experience. It’s about the customer experience plus the employee experience, which are the people delivering the customer experience. If you don’t have good employee experience, it is impossible to deliver a good customer experience,” explained Patsy.

While there is a myriad of customer experience platforms available in the market today, Patsy pointed out that CINNOX offers a unique offering from a platform perspective. For example, CINNOX can convert telephone calls with digital channels on the same platform, something not many vendors can do.

A use case example would be some of the early adopters in the FSI industry. Insurance applications utilizing CINNOX to send SMS will enable customers to link to a web link or QR code and make a video call directly to a customer service agent. With SMSs being the medium with the highest guarantee open rate, the use case has proven to be a successful and positive customer experience.

At the same time, Patsy also highlighted that a lot of businesses have invested heavily in customer experience but have not thought about the entire end-to-end approach on how to do it.

“We want to play a role in asking businesses to take a step back and think of the expectations, needs, and preferences of their audience before picking a technology. You need a good strategy and technology to deliver a good customer experience. You need to cover the entire journey of the customer. Aligning them is key to make a customer experience strategy successful,” said Patsy.