Companies are quickly learning that simple transactional benefits are no longer enough to create engagement. Rather, today’s consumer relationships are built on a more personal level, providing guests with customized experiences designed to show value and create emotional appeal.
 
InMoment confirmed this paradigm shift in its annual “CX Trends Report,” and goes one step further in exploring the ramifications of these increasingly relationship-based customer bonds.
 
While the drive for brands to shift from transactional-based to relationship-based touch points has created an environment that sees harsh brand perception penalties for falling short of expectations, InMoment SVP CX Strategy & Country Manager−Canada Brennan Wilkie told Loyalty360 that this shouldn’t deter companies from making the change.
 
“What the CX Trends Study tells us is that personalized engagements -- when done in a way that deliver real value – respect the consumer's desire to build a deeper relationship over the course of their lifetime,” Wilkie explained. “Certainly, there are some types of interactions that will be transactional in nature because the consumer priority in that instance may be more simple, such as speed or efficiency. We expect that transactional interactions result in a more neutral position in the consumer mindset. In other words, they don’t feel strongly about the experience, whether positive or negative. It is in the ability to convert transactional-style interactions to relationship building engagements that creates the strong emotional and loyal bonds between consumers and their brands. Brands should never be afraid to pursue personalized relationships. There is no differentiation or long-term upside for brands in the transactional ‘play it safe’ mindset.”
 
Wilkie noted that while customers are more likely to feel more strongly when faced with a negative experience (expectations not being met by a brand) that with positive ones, the reality is that these expectations are entirely reasonable and create loyalty simply through meeting them. Once these are being consistently met, the brand can start to look at going above and beyond their stated promise.
 
“For brands, the mandate is quite simple,” Wilkie said. “First, ensure your brand promise and your customers' expectation is aligned. Second, prioritize the consistent delivery of that promise. Doing so is not about just preventing negative experiences; it’s about building trust. Once brands truly understand their customers and how to build and reinforce that trust, they can then explore ways to elevate moments beyond satisfaction in ways that are meaningful to their customers and their business.”

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