Greg Garunov | SVP Business Development, Sightly

What makes a positive customer experience?

There are several factors that contribute to an ultra-positive customer experience. It’s all about trust in this fragmented, and often times black box media world we live in in 2019. The ability to establish this trust early on is based on having deep knowledge of macro industry trends, tactical activation know-how linked to the end-user experience, and strategic minds and communication skills to bring these together. From there, it’s about making customers feel the value they are getting is customized to the specific problems they are solving for consistently. All of this becomes easier when the team servicing the client genuinely enjoys working together. Greg

Why is it critical for executives to take customer experience into consideration when creating a new campaign, products, etc.?

There are two primary things to consider when it comes to customer service – perception and reality. Whether you are selling a physical product or a managed service, both are critical to think about separately. It’s also important to consider how and where they merge. When crafting something new for the customer, the positioning of what the person can expect must closely match what they actually receive or experience. This takes a blend of understanding what customers are looking to solve for and leading them based on your expertise. You need talent to procure the truth of what the customer is looking for, visionaries to think of things customers are not, and leadership to balance the two. The balance is never 50/50 and must be tailored to that specific customer.

How is emerging technology shaping the customer experience?

More and more of the world is becoming digitized, but true customer satisfaction is still best achieved through human connection in the physical world. There are a myriad of communication and productivity tools that have emerged in recent years, but it’s important to remember these are tools to communicate. This must be separated from customers feeling good about their investment of time and/or money. With that said, analytics services in particular have made it easier to procure real insights that affect customers’ business. However, with all the hoopla of AI and machine learning nowadays, we’re far off from machines effectively replacing a genuine human applying knowledge in the real world.

When does creative take precedence over customer experience?

Powerful creative can have cultural impact which can enhance or even transcend the customer experience. Think Coca Cola or Auto in general. Great products and branding, but sometimes discouraging delivery systems of convenience stores and shady car salesmen. Apple and American Express come to mind as best in class in having both creative and customer experience coalesce into genuine, larger than life itself adoration. This is obvious though. What’s hard in today’s world is to have cultural impact without hundreds of millions of dollars of mass media to reach customers in their hyper fragmented media consumption habits. The best marketers are honest with themselves on what they can and cannot do, and don’t get caught talking to themselves particularly when it comes to creative.