Large enterprises struggle with customer experience just as much as SMEs. Source: Shutterstock

Large enterprises struggle with customer experience just as much as SMEs. Source: Shutterstock

Why are so many companies getting customer experience wrong?

THE BEST way to win the hearts of customers in the digital age is to provide them with a delightful experience.

However, it seems as though a majority of the companies — large organizations as well as small- and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) — are doing it wrong, sometimes even antagonizing the customer.

Be it the shoddy-job on the chatbot or the poorly designed mobile app that forces customers to enter the same details time and again for even the simplest transaction, businesses need to get better at designing customer experiences.

After all, several experts have said that in 2020, customer experience will be the most important weapon in the arsenal of companies hoping to lead the market and stay competitive and profitable.

Business leaders understand this, which explains why they have been so keen on boosting customer experience through various digital projects and initiatives.

Evaluating some of these projects shows that the only reason companies are struggling with customer experience is because they’re conceptualizing, commissioning, and creating without the involvement of the customer.

The easiest digital project to evaluate is the chatbot. Designed using basic artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots are expected to serve customers as the first point of contact and take them on a journey to not only provide them with solutions to their problems but also help them make choices and transactions.

However, customers often report being unhappy with their chatbot experience — and many seem frustrated with the limitations it offers.

Initially, it was though that customers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a chatbots and a real customer service agent, but obviously, the empathy and communications skills that human agents brought to the process weren’t transferred to the intelligent bot.

On the other hand, in the case of companies that have reportedly found phenomenal success with the chatbot seem to have ensured that the human element was somehow programmed into the interface.

AirAsia, for example, recently won the IDC Digital Transformer of the Year 2019 Award in Malaysia — and cited its chatbot AVA as one of the successful projects that helped it win.

AVA has been designed to respond in nine languages and seems to be able to help guide customers around AirAsia’s offerings quite seamlessly. Studying the experience that AVA and other successful chatbots provide could be a good starting point for other companies looking to succeed in this area.

Overall, the reality is that companies must be more mindful of the customer’s needs and expectations when they sit down to plan and strategize about the experience they expect to provide.

Further, based on some of the interviews Tech Wire Asia has conducted recently, it seems as though it isn’t enough for business leaders to simply step into the shoes of a customer when designing better customer experiences, it’s important to step into the visualize two scenarios:

  • The purchase cycle of the most fickle-minded customer who is price conscious, has plenty of substitutes to pick from, and isn’t in a rush to make a decision, and
  • The after-sales cycle of the most frustrated customer

At the end of the day, businesses understand the need to improve the experience they provide and thankfully, many also believe it isn’t a one-time exercise.

In coming months, as companies learn from their experiences, they will hopefully be able to create more thoughtful experiences, delighting customers across the board.