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Build Customer Loyalty With Connected Experiential Ecosystems

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By Emily Neubauer

Experience Designer

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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a seamlessly connected brand experience was already the expectation of consumers. 

Unfortunately, this is where many businesses falter as they build a collection of customer-facing systems and products that are disjointed, complex and frustrating to navigate. During a time of drastic change in consumer-to-business interaction due to the pandemic, companies that do not provide a coherent digital ecosystem experience for their customers are ripe for disruption.

Stitching Together Physical and Digital Experiences

A connected ecosystem seamlessly stitches together physical and digital products and systems into a cohesive experience for users that inherently creates brand loyalty.

Take Google, for example. When you book a flight through Google, this action sends a confirmation to your Gmail account which then automatically creates a Google calendar event. If the flight is delayed, your Google Home is notified, which then triggers Google Maps to recalculate when you need to leave and updates your smart home to turn off your lights and lower your thermostat at the appropriate time. Being a part of the Google connected ecosystem makes seemingly small actions magical and makes it difficult for a consumer to ever want to leave or use a different brand for the same services. 

When surveying how many customers intend to stick with Google’s smartphone alone, their customer loyalty rate currently sits at 84%

On the flip side, companies like Nokia and Blackberry — who are not focusing on connected ecosystems and instead have been focused on physical product innovation — have felt a dramatic decrease in loyalty to their smartphones since 2007, holding less than 4% of the market share combined.

Due to the immediate shifts that needed to happen with how a customer interacts with a company, the pandemic has only magnified the brands that have a solid foundational experience and customer loyalty versus the companies that are struggling to meet the basic needs of their customers. However, “COVID-19 is forcing consumers beyond their preferred brands like never before. Those consumers could emerge from the pandemic with entirely new brand preferences,” according to Forbes. This means brands are in a position to re-envision their customer experience, especially from a digital perspective, at a time when their existing customers need it and potential customers are open to change.

Harness this time to be proactive in evaluating and evolving your customer experience across all your digital properties. Make the changes necessary to promote brand loyalty and adoption from existing and new customers alike.

Essentials for a Connected Ecosystem

Deep insight into your customer experience
With the fresh perspective of an external strategic partner, objectively evaluate every screen, feature, interaction, and property in the current state of each digital system. This requires going deep and gaining a full understanding of how each product works,  what information is available, how they are or are not connected to one another, what data is or is not being used, how the experience changes the more the system learns about the customer, and then grading each product’s performance both individually as well as within the ecosystem.

Strategy and roadmap for improvement
Once you have a clear view of the current state of your customer and user experience, identify opportunity areas by looking for low-performing features, overlapping processes, or missing components to improve or pivot the experience. Prioritize the biggest levers to create a strategic roadmap and determine what you’ll need to make those changes. Often this does not mean “adding” a new system, but instead considering what you can remove or condense in order to eliminate barriers and unnecessary actions for customers and employees alike.

Woven physical and digital experiences
With insights, strategy and roadmaps in place, you are now in a position to fix and shift the current ecosystem to connect your physical experiences to the digital ones in a way that is seamless and intuitive for your customers. This will ultimately improve internal processes and focus efforts on initiatives that have the greatest impact, while also layering in new experiential value to users. 

The Time Is Now and the Risk Is Low

The COVID-19 pandemic may have sparked this need for immediate change, but the outcome is long term. Organizations may need to make seismic shifts to their customer experiences, though initial steps can be small. Consider evaluating how connected your digital ecosystem is as your foundational step toward improving the customer experience, creating long-lasting loyalty and business growth.
Nerdery’s focused, nimble teams can help you evaluate your suite of digital products and customer journey and create a strategic roadmap to move toward a seamlessly connected experiential ecosystem. Contact us to start a conversation.