The annual Econsultancy CX trends for 2021 was published a few weeks ago and it’s always something I enjoy reading. However, whilst I’m usually found nodding in agreement, this year I found myself feeling that one area was missed. For me, it’s an area which if executed correctly, can create huge differentiation for brands at a time when the noise has never been louder.
"There is a misconception that to create a memorable customer experience, every aspect of the journey needs to be flawless."
When it comes to judging an experience, we recall it from how we felt at its peak, the most intense point, and at its end. Known as peak end rule, this allows brands to create "peaks" of positivity, sometimes even from a negative experience, which will be the stand-out that they will be remembered for. A company’s brand must permeate all areas of the experience - from tone, to copy, color and values, but at the moment of peak experience, it has to be exaggerated. If as a customer you receive good service all the way through an experience, it will leave you feeling happy, but won’t necessarily be memorable. It’s like a cold glass of water - it does the job but doesn’t have your tastebuds dancing.
There are opportunities for creating peak experiences simply through UX and good timing along the digital journey. Leveraging tools like Episerver’s Digital Experience Platform gives you the ability to confidently create and optimize seamless customer touchpoints along the digital journey.
If there is a moment or two during the experience where you feel your expectations were exceeded – and it was unexpected – this will promote a longer-lasting memory and will encourage you to show loyalty to that brand.
How to introduce moments of delight
Firstly, create a customer journey that meets your customers’ expectations and mitigates any frictions (you want a good base experience). Then, introduce elements of surprise or additional value at certain touchpoints that are unexpected, spurring a positive reaction.
The Magic Castle Hotel in LA topped the charts on Trip Advisor despite dated furnishings and a small swimming pool. By offering exceptional service, and introducing moments of delight such as a "popsicle hotline’, unlimited free of charge snacks and pop-up magicians to entertain at breakfast, guests came away with positive, happy memories. Why? Because those unexpected moments of delight were what they took away and remembered, making the experience stand out as much as if they had stayed in a luxury hotel.
The importance of standing out is what many brands misinterpret. By effectively making "noise’ as a strategy to build awareness – doing something ridiculous or crazy – might make you more memorable to your audience in the short term, but does it actually add any value?
Lings Cars is a great example of a brand that has a memorable and consistent brand experience. Utterly mad, but memorable.
Applying peak-end theory to your customer journey
By applying peak-end theory, your memorable experience needs to benefit your customer and be true to your brand values. It’s an opportunity to deliver above and beyond your customer's expectations but it doesn’t have to be polished articles. It can simply be the way in which you resolve a customer issue and then adding an incentive as a thank you for their patience and loyalty.
Creating moments of peak delight is actually pretty straight forward. Here are a few pointers for ingraining this in the customer experiences you are delivering:
Choose peak touchpoints
Select certain touchpoints within the customer journey to dial up your "peaks’ - your brand should be consistent throughout, but overly obvious at these points.
Embrace technology as a new delivery method
People won’t see the technology you’re running, but they’ll experience the effects of what it can offer. Ensure you are selecting the best-suited technology for your unique needs. If you need help narrowing your search for the right tool, we suggest reviewing analyst reports like the Gartner Magic Quadrant for DXP to aid your decision-making.
Make room for spontaneity
Treat customers as individuals and try to create a tailored, contextualized experience. Don’t be afraid of being spontaneous, surprise and delight your customers along the way.
Choose a best in class platform
Use a platform that’s specifically designed to deliver best in class digital experiences - we’re huge fans of Episerver’s DXP, a very powerful solution for delivering experiences at scale.
End on a high note
Remember to close the experience on a high note. The final chapter of your experience is the one they’ll recall most - so make it a positive one.
Memorable customer experiences should always make the trends lists
There’s no doubting 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for everyone and the organizations that are succeeding are the ones delivering an experience that’s 100% focused on their customers. By applying the peak-end rule, businesses have a real chance to differentiate themselves from their competitors and leave a lasting impression - an impression that will see loyalty, advocacy and repeat spend. I’d personally love to see creating a more memorable customer experience on the trends list next year - it should be a staple inclusion every year.