The invisible moments that deliver the customer experience

Reflecting on the recent holiday season and the various preparations I undertook – buying food, choosing gifts for friends and family, wrapping the gifts, decorating the house – makes me realise once again how much easier life is thanks to online shopping. How simple it is to search for gift ideas, create lists, order and get everything delivered. All done in a few clicks.

As Marketers, we can spend a lot of time thinking about big experiences like Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year – planning our communications (from the big TV ad to online search), considering when & how much to discount products, perhaps even developing new products or gift sets – all to ensure we create a brilliant experience for customers. Yet do we work closely enough with other functions to ensure that the entire experience is brilliant for the customer?

One drawback of shopping online can be that the experience is delivered (literally) by someone outside our organisation – the courier. The customer is left to wonder if the courier will deliver in time? Will I need to wait in for hours? Or will the parcel go missing never to be seen again? I’m sure we can all think of instances when this has happened and it’s a great example of a “micro-moment” in the overall customer experience which can be hugely influential. There are now certain brands or organisations that I choose not to buy from online as they use a courier service I find to be unreliable.

Definition of a micro-moment: An element of the customer’s interaction with the brand (or organisation) that influences (positively or negatively) the overall customer experience.

Yet how many of us marketers are thinking about the customer experience in a joined up way? Maybe we are working more closely with the Sales teams these days (though not all organisations are), but are we also working with purchasing (when deciding which firm to award delivery contracts to) or logistics and IT (tracking parcels & deliveries) to ensure that our customers are getting a truly brilliant experience?

Here’s an example of one delivery company – DPD – that I think is getting it right. With its new app, DPD is putting the customer in control of the delivery micro-moment. Yes, they still text you with the very precise 1-hour time slot (your parcel will be delivered between 11.37 and 12.37) but now on the new DPD app, you can also see where the driver is (visually on a map) with an estimated journey time, as well as new options for if you are not going to be at home e.g. upload image of your safe place to leave the parcel and confirmation when your parcel has been delivered.

What’s really interesting, is that in many ways there is nothing ground breaking about this – the information would have been available within DPD previously. The only difference is that DPD have chosen to make it visible to their customers, thus demonstrating a customer-centric mindset and helping to positively influence the delivery micro-moment. It appears to be working as DPD have been awarded “The UK’s favourite parcel delivery company for the 3rd year in the row”.

Giving customers what they want doesn’t always mean inventing something new. It could mean opening them up to capabilities that you already have internally – but the key is to focus in on the micro-moments that matter for your customer, and work cross-functionally, as you do on the big campaigns.

Brand Learning’s latest study, Join up to stand apart, provides fresh insights and practical solutions on how to develop customer experiences with purpose at their heart and includes in-depth case studies from over 20 leading organisations such as Amazon, Virgin, First Direct, and Airbnb. For practical tips and examples that will help you deliver a purposeful and consistent customer experience, download the report.

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