The Future of Customer Engagement Will Look Much More Like This

Earlier this summer, Amazon turned a service failure into a genuine feel-good moment. It was a great illustration of how the art of customer engagement is changing, for the better.

My family had gathered together to watch a movie while away for the weekend in wine country. The choice was finally made (after much debate), seats negotiated, licorice distributed and play button pushed. Suddenly the dreaded “death spiral” appeared on screen as the movie continued to buffer. After putting the room back in order, my family begrudgingly retreated to bed. Before my head hit the pillow, I decided to check email. Here’s what I found:

Amazon Email

While we’re only talking $3.99, the gesture was rich. Amazon delivered an experience that was unique, kind and very much appreciated. A loyal customer was born.

After reflecting a bit, the following seemed to be key contributing elements to the experience:

  • Customer-centricity – placing a priority on understanding, meeting customer needs.
  • Intelligence – knowing a customer need is waiting to be met.
  • Element of surprise – catching folks off guard, being uncommon.
  • Immediacy – taking action in, or near, real-time.
  • Communication – delivering information across the right channel(s).
  • Automation – taking action without the need for human intervention.

Anything missing? Please comment with your thoughts.

It’s funny, once we’ve had a great experience, we come to expect it in similar circumstances. I purchased Wi-Fi service from an airline last week that failed halfway through the flight. An attendant suggested I visit the website which would have an 800 number for me to call. I thought to myself, “Couldn’t they just detect the issue and refund my money automatically?”

Expectations are truly changing in what Forrester calls the age of the customer. Companies are having to care for customers in new ways to remain relevant. They are having to eliminate silos in order to join customers on their journey in unique and meaningful ways – to deliver more feel-good moments. This will be a key component of the future of customer engagement.

If you’re  looking for ideas on  how to turn customer experience into a competitive weapon for your business, I suggest you watch our recent web event, “What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience?” In this web event, Forrester shares valuable insight and is joined by two top-rated online retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, who share how their companies have become customer experience market leaders.

Have any customer moments you’d like to share? If so, please comment.

Anxiously awaiting another feel-good moment,

Jason Alley

Jason Alley

Jason Alley

Jason Alley is a senior solutions marketing manager for Interactive Intelligence. Since his employment in 2010, Jason has helped Interactive Intelligence develop market requirements and go-to-market strategies for contact center, customer experience, and cloud solutions. Prior to Interactive, he spent ten years consulting with large enterprise contact centers and suppliers for Vanguard Communications, and a company he later founded, SmartContact Consulting. Jason spent the first seven years of his career in sales, marketing, and product management roles working for Aspect, Hipbone, Nortel, and others. Jason received his bachelor’s degree in business economics from UCLA.