Businesses now live in the age of “experience”. Thanks to the digital revolution, so much of a brand’s bottom line now depends on customer experience because consumers have more access to information (and therefore more access to alternatives) than they’ve ever had before.
The competition for consumer headspace is increasing and so is the pressure for brands to create an emotional bond with customers. Experiences become memories, but humans don’t have the ability to recall everything, which means they’ll only truly form an emotion about the best experiences (which is difficult to achieve) or the worst experiences (which is hardly ideal). So how do you create more of the positive experiences and memories that last?
Going beneath the surface
It goes without saying that you can’t create great experiences without first understanding your customers’ needs. Getting under the skin of customers and finding out what drives them, what they want, what makes them happy and what makes them sad underpins any marketing strategy. And the best marketers will stay on top of changes to these facets through research, carefully analyzing the nuanced differences and trends.
But what very few marketers do when it comes to understanding their customers is understanding their mindset. The fundamental nature of consumer behavior tends not to change drastically from one year to the next, but research has shown that consumer mindsets have a considerable impact when it comes to making purchasing decisions — and mindsets change from day to day. One day, one particular customer may find themselves in a relaxed state of mind carefully navigating your website to make a purchase. The next, they’re stressed about something that’s way out of your control and behave completely differently by navigating quickly and illogically through pages to find what they need.
Throughout every customer interaction with a brand’s touchpoint, the customer leaves behind clues as to their mindset. The mouse movements, the scrolls, the app taps, the pinches, the zooms — together they all add up to build a profile of that visitor’s ‘digital body language’. For example, mindful customers will take their time navigating your website, scanning each page logically through calm mouse movements and scrolls. Frustrated and rushed customers will scroll frantically, moving back and forth between pages randomly and click or tap on them repeatedly.
If you can tap into this type of data, you can adapt your experiences accordingly to make sure you’re catering for mindsets as well as what your customers actually want. It’s all possible through “experience analytics”, which takes five steps to implement and benefit from.
Step 1: Set up a cross-functional data team
First, create a team of data scientists who understand both data and business. They’ll need to understand the key challenges facing different parts of the organization, whether it’s the marketing department, IT, finance, HR, or the board, before looking to data to solve these challenges.
Step 2: Capture data in minute detail and at scale
Secondly, start collating the right kind of data. Capture millisecond-level data of customers’ digital experiences — every mouse move, hover, scroll, tap, and pinch.
Then, by analyzing this information, experience analytics will provide your data team with insights into how your customers are using the individual components of your digital experience — both in minute detail through session replays, which show exactly how individuals interact with your brand, and at scale, through mouse movement, hover and scroll heatmaps.
Step 3: Understand the mindsets of your best customers and your best prospects
Next, home in on the mindsets of your best customers. What kind of behaviors are they displaying? Do they spend lots of time on your site? Do they engage with that latest piece of content you’ve published? Do they ignore what you consider to be the most important part of a particular page? Once you can answer those questions, you can start to make small, iterative changes to your digital touchpoints that slowly improve the whole customer experience.
Step 4: Align customer mindset data with the whole business
Every part of a business stands to benefit from these kinds of insights. The marketing department will be able to determine which content resonates best with customers. The product development team will be able to determine how to adjust product page design to improve experience. Customer service teams will be able to explain why they’re experiencing a sudden increase in call volumes. And the board of directors will be able to better answer the question, “How can we make more money?” The key to helping each department, though, starts with the data team — they need to take ownership of feeding the right insights to the right departments in the right format at the right time.
Step 5: Measure, learn, and grow
Like every strategy, the best should measure changes over time, and should subsequently learn from past efforts to adapt to changing needs. It’s the same with experience analytics — the level of data insights afforded by this kind of technology enables businesses to measure and learn about their customers in a way that was never previously possible in a digital environment. It would be counterintuitive not to learn from the data.
Moving into the next generation of analytics
Experience analytics signals the new dawn of customer insights. While marketers should of course continue to develop insights based on traditional demographic data, the addition of mindset data opens up a whole new world of insight — it’s a world of understanding human nature.
To find out how smartphones in particular affect consumer mindset and behavior, download Clicktale’s mobile mindset report.