Technology is playing an increasingly-important role in the world of customer experience management. Customers are starting to rely more on smartphones and banking apps, and the ability to order DVDs, groceries and even takeaway pizzas from their handsets within the comfort of their own homes. It’s a reliance that is synonymous with Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, and these are individuals who were typically born in the early 1980’s to early 2000’s and are now used to being surrounded by constantly evolving technology. As such, they are continually seeking new ways of doing things, and if companies want to reach them, they need to ensure that they adapt their customer experience strategy to keep up with the ever-changing customer experience expectations.
Candidly, it’s a difficult challenge. Millennials usually have a low tolerance for error and will not suffer a poor experience kindly, so it is important that the content that is delivered is accurate, timely, and in the right place, whether on an app or on a social media network. Moreover, 44 per cent of Millennials expect the customer experience to be the same regardless of what channel it is delivered on. It is crucial for brands to be consistent in the delivery of their content and services. To the customer, the channel itself doesn’t matter, so long as the information is available to them, and so long as it is on-tap at all times.
Accessibility is vital
Brands such as first direct have identified this need. It prides itself at being available “24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” and this is an aspiration that has been successfully deployed across all of its channels, including its telephone, email and Twitter account. The customer knows that their preferred method of communication will be available, and they have an expectation of an instantaneous response. First direct fulfils this need through their customer experience strategy, even if the preferred method is via a smartphone app, with a character limit of 140.
Similarly, Barclays bank now make it possible for certain customers to conduct Skype-like video conversations with brand employees from their handsets and making the facility available at any time of the day or night. After all, Millennials are ‘always on,’ and there is an expectation that their favourite brands will be as well.
It’s an expectation that impacts the retail sector as well. Companies such as Amazon have come a long way in recent years, offering a plethora of delivery options to suit different customers’ needs. At the moment, it is offering an “exclusive” one-hour delivery service for those shoppers who are members of Amazon Prime. Although it is not currently available in all parts of the UK, it does promise “No queues. No traffic. No worries,” affording customers with the option of a one-hour delivery service “from 8am – midnight,” or “a two-hour, same-day window for no additional cost,” and it’s supported by a smartphone app that can be downloaded from Amazon itself, the App Store, or Google Play. For the time-deprived Millennial, who has come to expect instant gratification, this is a very positive development.
Not to be outdone, the retailer Argos has also branched out into a super-fast delivery service. Although it is a brand with a chain of physical stores – unlike the web-based Amazon – Argos is striving to emulate the immediacy of the in-store experience in the customer’s own home. Shoppers can use their smartphones to place an order and then collect in as little as 60 seconds, whilst online orders can be delivered on the same day at no additional cost. This provides an air of cross-channel consistency that the aforementioned 44 per cent of Millennials have come to anticipate.
These innovations, whilst impressive, do make customer experience strategy and management more challenging. Companies such as first direct, Argos and Amazon have raised the bar to an unprecedented standard, in turn raising the already-high expectations of the Millennial Generation. That said, provided these companies continue to meet these expectations, they will stand a better chance of securing their shoppers’ long-term loyalty, and this will prove to be to their betterment in the long run.
For more customer experience insight, visit the KPMG Nunwood CEM blog.