Q&A: Building a Frictionless Customer Experience

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Aashish Rangwalla, Sony Rewards & Card Marketing
Aashish Rangwalla, Sony Rewards & Card Marketing

With a constant focus on customer relationships, sentiment, and behavior, Sony marketers continuously work to create positive customer experiences that'll turn one-time buyers into loyal, repeat customers. Aashish Rangwalla, senior manager, acquisition marketing at Sony Rewards & Card Marketing, explains the importance of a great customer experience.

How do you define positive customer experiences?

In my mind, the customer experience is everything from start to finish—in how a company interacts with that customer, and helps him achieve his end goal. Certainly, the customer experience is how you're reaching that customer, informing him about your product, getting him interested and excited, and, ultimately, allowing him to transact—whether it's through interaction you had with him on a website, a retail store, or mobile. Then there's taking [customers] all the way to completion and delivery of your product.

Now, I think a positive experience is twofold. One, it's intuitive; and two, it's frictionless. So, it should be easy and intuitive for [potential customers] to learn and decide if they want to make a purchase. The other piece of it is frictionless—making sure there aren't unnecessary speed bumps, roadblocks, or extra steps they've got to do. When you think about customer experience you have to think about the mind-set of the customer, because no two customers are alike.

How can customers shape their own experiences versus relying on the company?

I think it depends on the customers. Some individuals are going to be savvier than others. In terms of customer experience design, [marketers] need to have all of the various avenues available so customers can dictate the pace or dictate the interaction and then help themselves. There are going to be individuals—for one reason or another—who aren't going to be able to help themselves; they're going to need a guiding hand to accomplish what they want to accomplish. There will be others who will say, ‘Look, I know exactly what I need to do, how to do it, how to get the information I need, how to get to the decision point.' In those cases, you pretty much need to stay out of their way. But the best way is making the right set of tools and functions available and letting the customer decide which ones are going to be helpful for him.

What are some indicators that a customer is not having a good experience, and how do marketers solve that problem?

There are two ways to determine that: there can be a quantitative way and a qualitative way. A qualitative way would be things like having users come in and watching their interactions with a given experience, whether online or putting them in a store environment. Watch how [customers] interact to get a better sense of what's working and what's not. The other way, the quantitative way, is a data-driven approach. So, taking a look at the conversion funnel and looking to see if there are points where there seems to be a disruption. Then use that to drill down, and solve the problems.

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