In today’s competitive marketplace, organizations looking to make an impact must prioritize frictionless customer experiences.
The fourth annual Kanetix Insights event invited 200 leaders and professionals from across the financial services and insurance space to talk about why frictionless customer and user experiences matter. The morning event started with a lively keynote from brand strategist and media personalist , Tony Chapman followed by short talks and an engaging panel discussion featuring Ahmed Elemam, Digital Transformation Leader at Adobe and Anthony Mete, Analytics Lead at Google, with moderation from Janine White, VP, Marketplaces and Strategy Development, Kanetix Ltd.
The event opened and closed with remarks from Igal Mayer, the newly appointed CEO at Kanetix Ltd, who drew on the importance of hiring a passionate and driven team to develop these experiences.
Keynote speaker Chapman talked a lot about what it takes for brands to “get attention in the age of noise,” where thousands of pieces of content inundate consumers “like a fire hose” each day. How can organizations ensure they’re getting the right messages to the right people, while delivering frictionless customer experiences? It starts with understanding the customer’s motivations.
Consumers are looking for two things, Chapman said; they want more of something and they want it with less friction and less effort. If you’re the brand that can give a customer more of what they want with less friction, then you’ve got their business.
Being successful at this requires a whole new psychology when it comes to looking at the customer journey. Digital cannot be an afterthought of an organization, it must truly be the lifeblood.
Brands, Be a Yoda in a World of Wannabe Skywalkers
One thing many brands get wrong from the start when it comes to delivering frictionless customer experiences, Chapman said, is how they’re telling the story. They imagine themselves as the protagonist of the story, when in fact the narrative is reversed.
“The best way I describe it to organizations is you’re not the hero, you’re the Yoda. Your job is to help Luke Skywalker beat the evil empire,” Chapman said.
He doesn’t mean a literal evil empire of course. Chapman was referring to helping your customer, the hero of this journey, achieve their desired outcome. He used life insurance as an example to illustrate his point. The desired outcome for our hero is not to purchase a life insurance policy, but to be able to sleep easy at night knowing their family is protected.
As marketers, our end goal and the user’s end goal might presently look different when framed this way. Chapman asks, in getting this backwards, what unnecessary obstacles/friction might you be creating for your customers?
By understanding what it is they’re truly after, the experience can be reframed to reflect their end goal while understanding the unique customer (and hero) journey they go on to get there.
Formula for Storytelling
Chapman described a formula for storytelling, one you’ve no doubt seen as the plotline to your favourite action move or romcom.
- Hero – Every story has a hero. More often than not, a great author will make that hero very normal in the beginning, so that they are relatable. They have vulnerabilities and flaws. They’re human. This is how we establish a sense of trust with customers.
- Premise/Calling – Something comes calling. The hero asks, would I suit up for this challenge? Do I accept this challenge?
- Quest – The hero goes on a quest. They’re constantly overcoming challenges and opportunities while battling against competition along the way.
- Enablers/Mentors – Somebody always helps the hero. For brands, this is where we come in. We’re here to help the hero reach their goal.
- Desired Outcome – Finally, the hero achieves their desired result. If they don’t, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and find out where the hero’s journey led them astray.
When it comes to innovation, brands need to recognize that heroes are willing to go out on quests for four main reasons: to find safety/security, to find love, to seek treasure/adventure, and for self-actualization.
Humility and Generosity
“My belief is that if we’re going to get the attention of the people who matter the most we need humility and generosity,” Chapman said. “Great storytellers are realizing it’s no longer this mass world where one message fits all. It’s about individual journeys. What matters to one person might not matter to someone else.”
The Art and Science of Personalization
In echoing the Yoda philosophy, Ahmed Elemam from Adobe said, “the mantra is the mindset.”
While it sounds like a modern take on Marshall McLuhan’s famous “the medium is the message,” Elemam framed it around the divide between old methodologies and new pathways. He suggested a shift in mindset that goes, “from answering questions to questioning answers.”
This means asking yourself how much you really know about your customers and who they are.
“Sometimes you know the people in your browsers, but you don’t know them in real life. You treat them like a cookie, not a person,” Elemam said in his presentation.
People are unique. Their journeys are unique. What works for one person may not work for another. Elemam argues that the more tailored an experience is for an individual, the more frictionless it will be.
“Turning cookies into a real person is not an easy job,” he cautions.
It involves analyzing several types of data including offline versus online, real time data, and batch data, all while working to determine which data is relevant and which is not. It means doing small well before moving onto big data. It may require “buckets of personalization” that recognize different journeys for different types of users.
Using Negative Past Experiences to Fuel Frictionless Future Experiences
Anthony Mete from Google offered an easy way for organizations to gain insight into friction and pain points across their customer journey: reviews and analytics.
Taking small steps can warrant vast improvements on experiences. He suggests doing some basic analysis to determine how your customers are experiencing your product. Yes, he suggests Googling your business to start. Peer into your analytics program of choice with the following questions in mind:
- How often do people search for me?
- Where do my customers come from?
- When do they come?
- How often do they call?
- How do they rate their experience?
The question: how do brands quantify this data into meaningful insights to improve customer experience?
Mete recommends processing review data (the actual reviews customers are leaving for your business on Google, Yelp, TrustPilot and so on) into sentiment. Using a tool like Google Cloud Natural Language API can allow you to breakdown sentiment to particular dimensions of your business, which can help form the basis for establishing a framework for a more frictionless customer experience.
He said these small steps combined with big innovations can have a radical impact. As businesses become more omnichannel, it’s important, he argued, to ensure they move in what he calls an integrated omnichannel direction. How does customer information follow from one channel to another? How can this be used to make customer experiences more seamless?
Mete predicts that platforms such as WhatsApp will soon play a much bigger role in how businesses converse with customers. Thinking not only about how businesses talk to their customers, but also how they can be better listeners, is an imperative part of the conversation.
As organizations look to remove friction from customer experiences, it becomes clear that it starts with better understanding the story and what your customer’s ultimate goal/desired outcome is. Think about how you position yourself within your customer’s experience and what you can learn from the things they tell you along the way.
About the author:
Sheena Lyonnais is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Kanetix Ltd. A former music and tech journalist, Sheena has been with Kanetix Ltd. since 2013 first in a content marketing capacity and now specializing in SEO, CRO and UX. She’s fascinated by how technology brings humans together and the stories we share along the way. She’s also a certified yoga teacher and ups the zen factor at Kanetix Ltd. by serving as our resident yoga teacher.