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Experience imageExperience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.― Aldous Huxley, Texts & Pretexts: An Anthology With Commentaries

This quote is on point on many levels, including today’s business world: experience – whether awesome, awful or average – has an impact on user and customer behaviour. Consumers purchase products and services. Users make decisions, love or hate a brand, get frustrated, use a product every day, buy products and become loyal customers.

User Experience, commonly referred to as UX – is about people’s interaction with a product or service and the experience they receive from that interaction. The metrics of UX are measured in success rate, error rate, abandonment rate, time to complete task, to name but a few.

Customer Experience, referred to as CX, involves the interactions a person has with a brand. It is measured through concepts such as overall experience, the likelihood of continued use and the likelihood of recommending the brand to other people.

Both these aspects are closely interconnected. A great online UX enables users to find relevant information on a website quickly and easily or complete a task effortlessly. Great CX enables a customer to enjoy a pleasant, professional, helpful interaction with company representatives or a company’s automated service thanks to a great user interface (UI). Furthermore, great CX also implies that customers have a positive overall experience with that company – across all customer touch points.

However, a company may have put together the very best advertising, branding, sales team, customer service reps and have a company ethic that strives to promote the best CX, but if, when the customer interacts with a website, mobile app, software or other product (this could be any UX-related case) and any type of obstacle to the completion of the desired tasks arises – then CX starts to plummet.

UX and CX are closely interrelated: each plays a key role in a brand’s reputation and success, in customer loyalty. Any shortfall in either and the customer’s overall perception becomes increasingly negative. Stay focused on these as you develop your products and services, keeping your business about the customer and you’re on your way to being successful.

Move over Marshall McLuhan – the medium no longer is the message. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (a.k.a. PwC), a leader in consultancy services to corporate clients across the globe, nowadays “The experience is the message”.
Traditional marketing strategies are losing their effectiveness in the face of new technologies, with changing customer behaviour and an increase in customer expectations. Marketing communications strategies can just as easily be foiled by negative consumer experiences as they can be hugely successful if the customer or buyer’s journey is positive. PWC says that the very definition of “brand” may be changing; it is no longer about a logo or a promise made to customers. A brand now equates to the “sum total of the actual experiences it delivers”. And one must bear in mind that these experiences are available to everyone – more or less instantly – in today’s connected way of life. PWC convey the concept nicely in this video.

The company also provides interesting insight into how today’s players need to move at the speed of their customers and their ever-changing expectations.

There are in fact so many different approaches to designing and rolling out superlative customer experiences. Often, it’s the simple, intuitive touches that make it happen. Here’s an example of a great shopping experience – which could be even better, if only it were speech-enabled.

Integrating high-quality text to speech capability, such as rSpeak, into the customer experience means adding the most natural, intuitive interface. Simple to deploy in existing services, TTS voices are proven to increase customer satisfaction by enabling the delivery of relevant information to customers in real-time, in a clear, natural way, guaranteeing an affordably effective, consistent brand voice. It is especially important for brands to provide speech in contexts where users find it irritating or impractical to decipher text on a smartphone screen (e.g. while they are on the move).

Here is an interesting analysis from Customer Experience Insight:

“We sometimes get so focused on making everything better for customers that the basics start to slip — and that can hurt the whole customer experience.

New initiatives, streamlined processes and rewards programs won’t impress customers if the smaller details aren’t on the mark.” The article identifies three key focus areas:

  1. Listening: one of the biggest customer complaints is that no one seems to listen to or care about them.
  2. Sharing: customer service should not just be a reactive function and that this function needs to share enough regular, new information and there should be no delays in this information reaching the customer. The recommendation is “Sharing updated information about your company, products, services and situations that affect customers must be a primary responsibility of one employee or department. Then the person or department needs to create a plan to proactively contact customers with news and helpful information. They also must create a communication plan for emergency situations.”
  3. Demonstrating values: brands need to practise what they preach and “if a company says it values one-on-one relationships with customers and only provides a toll-free number and an anonymous email address for contact, it’s not demonstrating what it claims it believes in. Instead, to live up to its values, the company should offer customers direct contact to service and/or sales pros.”
    Business and serving customers is about value: that’s what customers care about. rSpeak’s innovative text to speech enables businesses, developers and individuals to deliver a superior user experience. Speech-enable your content with our accurate, lifelike voices and make your multimedia applications, embedded or mobile devices and platforms more engaging and relatable. rSpeak TTS speaks different languages.

Let’s end this blog post with some food for thought from Gartner:

“Customer experience is the last source of sustainable differentiation and the new competitive battleground.” — Tiffani Bova, Gartner Vice President and Distinguished Analyst

Get in touch with rSpeak and find out how you can bring your customer services to life with rSpeak’s growing family of world class, expressive text-to-speech voices.