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The importance of adapting service experiences to rapidly-changing customer needs

With the pandemic forcing companies to adapt rapidly throughout to offer products and services remotely, the landscape has changed. Organisations who managed to swiftly take their offerings online were rewarded for their quick response when we all discovered COVID-19 would have much longer-term implications than we could have imagined.

As we come out the other side attitudes are different as well as businesses. Customers no longer compare services within the same industries. Instead, their experiences in one industry can influence their expectations of others. After all, if you are buying online, it’s the online experience you are comparing. And this is not dictated by sector.

Customer expectations have changed

Niraj Ranjan, CEO of Hiver, writing in Forbes about changing customer expectations says, “it’s not enough if you have a great product or offer discounts. The way you interact with your customers and fix their issues will determine whether they stay with your brand or jump ship”. Knowing and anticipating your customers’ needs so you can give them an exceptional, seamless experience is key.

This is backed up by the 2022 Salesforce Report, which found that “88% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services — the highest it’s ever been”.

How customer expectations have changed

  • Customers expect connected, frictionless experiences
  • Customers expectations have shifted towards experiences being personalised
  • Customers expect accelerated digital offerings
  • Customers want their data to be kept secure

How do you adapt and transform customer experiences?

Transforming service experiences is easier said than done. Over the past year or so many organisations have added more and more systems, applications, and services while attempting to meet demand. Trying to tie together all these elements in a seamless way often requires far more effort from staff to deliver. It oftens starts to show as a ‘clunky’ customer experience. And it’s not helpful for employees either.

A 2022 connectivity study found that “55%” of organizations said they find it difficult to integrate user experiences. This is up from 48% a year ago”. The more there is to integrate and the longer you leave it, the harder it becomes.

Why is a seamless experience so important?

A seamless digital experience on one channel is of limited value if the other channels your customers engage on are not aligned or integrated. All the good you do on one platform will be undone in another and the overall experience will be seen as lacking. Without a clear vision and view of the existing experience and operations it is impossible to strategically align systems and processes. It is essential to deliver a seamless experience across both physical and digital channels.

Integrating experiences has direct business benefits as well. The connectivity study also notes that, “of the organizations that have integrated user experiences, more than half said it had enhanced visibility into operations (54%) and increased customer engagement (54%)”.

How can businesses adapt their services at pace without compromising experiences?

Companies need to take a strategic approach, starting with a holistic view of the business. By designing aligned services and experiences that span the entire business, organisations can adapt more swiftly without having to start again from the beginning each time something changes. A clear vision can steer transformative change across the scope of the business.

It’s no longer good enough to be better than your immediate competition in your sector. You need to be as good as the best in all sectors because that’s how your customers will be judging you.

Let Engine Service Design help you

Here at Engine Service Design, we understand the challenges that businesses are facing in this rapidly-changing world. We can help you discover, design, and implement fully-connected services to give your customers the seamless, integrated services they require.

We can help you reimagine the future and unlock new value. Please Get in Touch if you need a trusted partner with whom to discuss your challenges: one of our service design experts will be delighted to help.

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