Humanising Data Points: How To Build Better Customer Experiences

By Paige Musto, Vice President, Corporate Marketing at UserTesting

“Treat your end customer as a human and not a data point”

A customer’s feelings and emotions are crucial determinants of their loyalty to your brand and are more valuable indicators of your growth as compared to data. The most successful companies today are those that realize the importance of re-imagining consumer touchpoints and connecting those emotional experiences with their brand.

An exceptional CX translates to happier customers – as per a report by Forrester, 93% of businesses agree that consumers are more likely to spend money with brands they feel connected to.

However, despite these benefits, businesses in Singapore recently reported that meeting the demand for human insight has been challenging. Another recent study stated that 53% of businesses reported not having time to gather customer feedback before their deliverables go live. This shows that while companies are realizing the potential of human insights, there is still a long way to go when it comes to actual execution and usage of the same.

Let’s take a look at the problem and how businesses can deal with it

Where does the problem lie?

So, why exactly are companies falling short when it comes to understanding the needs of their customers?

Today’s businesses are competing on the quality of their customer experience as much as any other differentiator. However, most companies are still relying on age-old feedback collection processes like surveys, web clicks, and gut instincts (“been there, done that” attitude) – traditional metrics that offer a very narrow view of experience.

The COVID-19 pandemic made it critical for businesses across verticals to pause, align and pivot with regard to their overall operations and services. All industries are working today with a renewed focus on the way they deliver products/services to meet the expectations of their customers. Focusing on customer experience and demonstrating to your customers your willingness to support their evolving needs is no longer an option but an absolute necessity.

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Fitting Human Insight Into Business

In today’s competitive marketplace, customers have a lot of options, making it vital for them to stand out from the pack. To achieve this, a solid emphasis needs to be laid on understanding the complete picture – what customers do and why, what they are looking for in a product/ service, and the role emotions play in making purchasing decisions.

According to a report by Deloitte Digital, about 60% of loyal consumers use the same type of emotional language they would use for family, friends, and pets when speaking of their favorite brands — words like love, happy, and adore.

This makes us realize the need for businesses to provide positive experiences for their customers. Empathy, for instance, has come to be realized as a key driver of loyalty and a way to resolve issues companies have when it comes to improving customer experiences. When CX leaders lead with empathy – listening, understanding intent, and predicting outcomes – not only do the customer’s experiences improve, but the companies also see better business results.

Applying Human Insight at Scale

Now that it has been established that listening to your customers and taking action to solve their challenges is one of the most crucial steps towards the success of a business, companies need to start incorporating customer opinions into their decision-making process.

When you make products or introduce services that your customers love, the financial success of the business will always follow. So how can we go about it?

It’s simple, there is no replacement for talking directly with customers! The insights acquired from regular communication with your customers are invaluable and cannot be attained by just sending out feedback forms or data analysis of website clicks.

On a more advanced level, some business leaders have also started including ‘empathy hours’ into their company’s culture – aimed primarily at having conversations where teams get together and speak with customers, have an internal discussion around the overall customer sentiment, and brainstorm on ideas to pass certain barriers.

Despite the numerous technological advancements that have taken industries by storm over the last decade, when it comes to customer experience, human insight still proves to be the most powerful tool to make sense of data. The value of listening to your customer – from one human to another – remains unparalleled. Companies that practice customer-centricity as their core culture will continue to stand tall and be more profitable in the long run.

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