A great customer experience is defined by its relevance and timely availability to the customer.

I've been reading Jay Baer's treaty on the topic (Winning Hearts in Real-Time), the first in a series extravagantly titled 'Masters of CX'.

What sticks out is the importance of mobile. Indeed, Econsultancy's Skills of the Modern Marketer report, compiled from interviews and an online survey, shows respondents to value CX and mobile as the most important broad and hard skills respectively (incidentally, if you fancy assessing your own digital skills, try sitting our Digital Skills Index test).

I thought I'd highlight some of Jay's thoughts on what makes great CX and include a few examples. Let us know what you think.


Jay defines four ways to be relevant:

Reactive relevancy

This isn't to say that being reactive is the only way to be real-time, it's just a way of engaging a consumer who may not be proactively looking for help, even though they need it.

Jay gives the example of people using social media to voice a problem and a brand/blogger/retailer responding to that person and trying to help.

I'd add that with social networks becoming the battleground for this reactive relevancy (and social networking done predominantly on mobile), this reactivity is a mobile phenomenon.

Location relevancy

Fairly simply, this is knowing where you are in relation to a service or site. As mobiles are the best way of accurately locating a user and are often carried everywhere, this device is obviously integral.

Jay gives the fantastic example of Scrabble, which provides fee Wi-Fi in parts of Paris (and presumably beyond, given the English language version pictured below), provided users can first unscramble some Scrabble letters (more points equals more free Wi-Fi). Jays points out this is a great way of emphasising the brand whilst providing a great customer experience.

scrabble free wifi

Circumstantial relevancy

Jay here points to mobile apps. These sit on your phone and you use then when you need them.

Of course, there's much room for debate about exactly how frequently an app is needed before it justifies inclusion on your mobile and, more importantly, remains front of mind.

Lots of app marketing is about re-engaging users with apps they have already downloaded. Many surveys suggest that users don't often go far above twenty apps on their phones.

Putting that to one side, there's no doubt that customer experience and circumstantial relevancy go hand-in-hand. That's a fairly obvious statement.

I won't steal Jay's example, you'll have to download the report for that. Another example is the Domino's app. It provides a good customer experience because it's there on your phone and is quick and easy to use. When you want to order a pizza, it cuts out calling a restaurant, it cuts out entering your payment details into a website, it increases the likelihood you'll choose Domino's.

domino's app

Behaviour relevancy

This is a customer experience initiated by user behaviour. This could be anything from paid search ads to retargeting, automated email to further shopping suggestions. However, newer examples of behavioural relevancy include the internet of things. Devices equipped with sensors and can access the internet can respond to stimuli and automatically assist the consumer. Of course, this is still heavily reliant on the mobile as most IOT depends on the smartphone for processing power and control (e.g. the Nest app). 

Jay here points out that this can be difficult to get right if you're not fully aware of your customers' desires.

..behavioral relevancy is also the most difficult form of real-time relevancy with which to actually make an impact on customer experience. This is because customers are usually already accustomed to performing these actions in a particular way, and anything that tries to be inserted into that routine needs to be a far, far better customer experience to be bothered with at all.

Ben Davis

Published 13 October, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)

Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

Coincidentally I was testing the Dominos site on Friday evening (thought I'd test it all the way through to eating the PIzza...), I have to say that the experience seems visually great, but the site isn't a great experience. It's just far too slow. These days I'm used to just flying through a checkout, but theirs loads so slowly I have time to get frustrated. They also have blocked my browser autocomplete, which is a must-have these days...

almost 4 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

I agree that behavioral and circumstantial relevancy (which I'd call "engagement") is key to effective communication.

Brands need to know when to talk (via adverts, emails etc) because someone is actively engaged and when to back off because the person has disengaged. All in real-time, because it's pointless to adjust your contact tactics based on an overnight analytics rebuild.

Get this right and it's really effective (e.g. in online suggestions), but get it wrong and it's annoying or creepy (e.g. in adverts that follow you around the Web, or daily emails that continue forever).

It works well for cart+browse abandonment emails, open-time email content, and of course online recommendations.

But as for location, I'm not sure that's relevant most of the time, seeing as most of us are usually located indoors on a couch or office chair.

almost 4 years ago

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