Customer experience (or CX) isn’t just the latest marketing buzzword — great CX is fast becoming a defining quality for any digital brand. Digital has increased the amount and frequency of interactions that consumers have with brands, and in a world where every bank, supermarket, and airline has a dedicated app, managing consumer’s overall experiences, across all the touchpoints they have, is increasingly important.
On the 18th March, Linkdex hosted an SEONow Think Tank on the customer experience, with a line up of guest speakers including Simon Norris of Nomensa, Alan Colville from True Digital, Hannah Thorpe of White.net, Distilled’s Will Critchlow, and Kirsty Hulse from Linkdex.
Simon Norris kicked of proceedings with a fantastic premise to get the discussions going: “Experience is everything, everything is experience”. Food for thought, certainly, and his talk covered the the intricacies of cross-channel initiatives, the ‘Hierachy of Experience’ and how meaning impacts user and customer experiences. Norris’ talk discussed how experience should be coherent across all channels when catering for consumer interactions, and ultimately how brands should focus on meaning over function in their pursuit of excellent CX.
— Generate UK (@GenerateUK) March 18, 2016
Simon also shared his key takeaways, and there was some great discussion on the relationship between how we shape experiences and thereafter how our experiences shape us!
Alan Colville, Head of CX at True Digital, gave the next talk on ‘Bridging the Human Digital Divide, which focused on how customer journeys are becoming more erratic, and how it’s increasingly important to look for human insight and how these can inform ideas.
Brands are after all ‘human’ too, and have relatable qualities that conform to certain archetypes:
Human intentions becomes the most valuable currently when attention becomes expensive, but this is just part of the challenge. As Alan shared, for two-thirds of companies the biggest challenge to improving customer experience is still organisational structure. In this respect building culture is closely linked to the challenges of creating great customer experiences.
Hannah Thorpe’s, Head of SEO at White.net, talk centered around how all too often, marketers approach CX with an underlying expectation of ‘perfect’ CX, which is unattainable. Instead marketers should focus on finding their pareto optimal, or the “conditions under which the state of economic efficiency (where no one can be made better of by making someone worse off)” occurs. What we should be looking for is a more pragmatic approach to the idealistic view of the dream customer experience. Her talk also explored working frameworks and solutions for marketers to approach CX in more practical and pragmatic ways (Make sure you check out the slides for some great insights.)
Kirsty Hulse’s presentation explored the relationship between content and customer experience. In her words: “could our affair with content mean we are cheating on customer experience?” A case in point: today, retailers are becoming publishers now and publishers are becoming retailers, and in some industries, such as fashion for example, this can result in high quality editorial content ranking for transactional keywords — this isn’t the best CX.
Longform editorial content may be perfect for informational search queries, driving brand awareness and influencing purchase decisions, but clearly is not the best content for people to land on when they are looking to buy. Brands then should look to optimise their editorial content for conversions. Content personalisation is a great way to do this, allowing us to align our content with user intent.
Will Critchlow of Distilled gave the last presentation of the day, with an insight-packed talk on the rise of personal assistant apps, and the implications this will have on customer experiences. Will’s talk challenged our conventional understanding of search, exploring how intelligent personal assistants (IPAs) are redefining the landscape. With consumers more and more dependent on their smartphones, and where we conduct dozens of queries everyday, it’s much more relevant for brands to focus on intent.
It was a truly fascinating talk (that cannot be done justice in a blog post) that explored the future of search and personal assistant technology, that raised lots of questions from the floor.
All in all a great inaugural SEONow Think Tank. Do check out the slides below from each of the day’s speakers, and stay tuned on Linkdex for the next SEONow event.
Simon Norris, Nomensa — Experience is Everything, Everything is Experience
Alan Colville, True Digital — Bridging the Human Digital Divide
Hannah Thorpe, White.net — Finding Your Version of the Perfect Customer Experience
Kirsty Hulse, Linkdex — When Our Affair With Content Means we Cheat on Customer Experience
Will Critchlow, Distilled: A Post-PageRank World: The Rise of Personal Assistant Apps