User Experience: The Single Most Important Element of a Web CMS

UE

Because it affects how efficient your team works, it can be argued that the single most important element of a web content management solution is the interface used by the editorial team. If the user interface is meager, than the speed at which your team works will be slow, the quality of content produced will be lacking, and traffic to your site will ultimately drop.

Usability all comes down to the web CMS features. There are some features that will come second nature to your editorial team while others will be obtuse. Overall, a system that is user-friendly and embraces the most casual content editor is one that will make your editorial team most productive.  Likewise, you will be pleased because your team will be more efficient and more productive on a system that most closely matches user experiences they are comfortable with.

That said, when it comes to evaluating a new web CMS solution, a few key usability features that all clients should look for include:

Performance of the Editor’s Console: The fastest way to aggravate your users is to have a slow system. If the interface gets stuck or isn’t responsive during the workflow process, it will quickly cause frustration. This will, in turn, cause a lack of confidence in the entire system, and ultimately lead to a breakdown in adoption and use.

Window Management, Lightboxes and Transparency: Those who used a CMS solution in the late ‘90s may remember the annoying pop-ups. From editing an article using the in-context tool to adding a link, the constant pop-ups seemed endless. Now, interfaces that use JavaScript Lightboxes are much simpler because all edits are kept in the same window. This preferred solution is faster and keeps edits in the right order. Additionally, transparency is important.

In-Context Editing: Rather than the traditional model of opening a window to edit a full piece of content, this new feature allows for a faster, more intuitive style of editing. Users simply click on the article title and it becomes a text field for simple adjustment. Streamlining the editing process is a win for everyone.

Contemporary Design Features: Keeping the designs fresh and contemporary as possible is an ongoing task for CMS design teams. Whether it’s the simple features of rounded corners or the distinct single- and double-clicking responses, these distinctions are what make interacting with the software so valuable to editors.

Each organization has its own internal culture, from the work attitude to the comfort level with digital user interfaces. The best way for you to make the right decision for your digital content group is to try a CMS solution firsthand. Once you use it, you will see how it will work for you and your team. Contact us at Crafter to answer any questions you may have about a web content management solution for your enterprise, or to start a free trial today.

The Pros and Cons of a SaaS CMS

pros.cons

A Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Web Content Management System (CMS) exists in a multi-tenant, fully cloud hosted and managed environment. Pricing for a SaaS Web CMS is usually based on a per-user and/or per-site basis that usually incorporates a baseline amount of data transfer (i.e., bandwidth to and from your site) and storage (for your content). SaaS CMS is not to be confused with Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which is a single tenant system that requires more maintenance but also enables much more customization. Also don’t confuse SaaS with a “Managed Services” cloud solution for a CMS that is just a regular on-premise CMS deployment that may run on cloud infrastructure and be managed by a third-party, but provides none of the cost, agility and scalability benefits of a SaaS approach.

In this post, we will focus on SaaS. The following list of pros and cons will help you make the best decision for your enterprise.

Pros of a SaaS Web CMS:

1. Costs are kept Low

Because SaaS CMS is based on a subscription model, users are not faced with a large licensing fee upfront. In most cases a SaaA CMS project entails a small setup fee which covers the cost of a basic implementation.

2. IT Staff Unburdened

Your internal IT staff will no longer feel the burden when a support issue arises. Instead your SaaS vendor will take care of any issue, and typically at no additional cost. Also, upgrades and maintenance are automatically done by the SaaS vendor.

3. Accessible

SaaS CMS is a virtual product which means it can usually be accessed from any computer, tablet, or mobile device as long as an internet connection is available.

4. Easily Add-On More Users and More Sites

With a SaaS model, you can easily add new users as your team grows, and as your content needs grow. Similarly, adding more sites is as easy a click of the button as you want to spin up new sites — microsites, campaign sites, landing pages, etc. With a multiple-user and multi-site model, your price depends on the number of users and sites with access to the system. So you are only paying for what you use.

5. Up-to-Date Software

With SaaS you can count on new features being added in real time. The latest features and innovation are typically available to all users at no additional costs.

6. Security

As your SaaS vendor handles all the development and QA, you never need to worry about malware or buggy add-ons to the CMS. If the SaaS vendor releases it as a feature add-on, you can feel confident that it won’t expose your site to security threats of any kind.

7. Support Included

Support is included in the SaaS subscription so you can rest assured that any issues will be addressed promptly and effectively. With a multi-tenant architecture, if an issue is affecting one customer, then it’s probably affecting all customers. So the SaaS vendor is extra motivated to resolve all reported issues promptly and effectively. This also means you benefit from issues found by other users of the SaaS CMS, leading to a more robust CMS for all.

8. Implementation Speed

Launching a new website is faster than ever since the CMS is already deployed in its underlying cloud infrastructure. There is no setup and configuration for your Dev, QA, and Production sites. As a result, a SaaS CMS is much faster than traditional web and mobile app development.

Cons of a SaaS Web CMS:

1. Internal Control

Because IT departments are so used to have complete control, it can take a second to get used to a new system where  SaaS CMS platforms are built and housed in cloud infrastructure.

2. Subscription Fee

There are “free” and “freemium” systems available so it can be startling at first for smaller enterprises to choose a model with a fee. However it is up to you to decide if the value of the SaaS platform is worth it to your business.  Keep in mind the subscription costs include support too.

3. Closed Development

SaaS CMS platforms are typically proprietary systems that are under complete control of the vendor, and so they don’t allow for the benefits of an open source type development model. Crafter Cloud is one major exception in the industry, as it is a SaaS CMS solution that benefits from the open source development of Crafter CMS. Also, a SaaS solution does not allow for heavy customization (e.g., does not allow back-end code changes) because a multi-tenant infrastructure is, by its very nature, shared across all users. Again, Crafter Cloud is one major exception in the industry, as we provide a unique, secure, isolated development environment based on the Groovy scripting language that enables all kinds of custom development, all without sacrificing the benefits of a SaaS model. So your enterprise can deliver truly unique, branded, personalized experiences.

SaaS CMS solution can be ideal for certain applications and not so great for others, but it is up to you to consider the needs for your team and enterprise when determining different CMS options to find the solution that best fits your project.  Not one CMS platform is the universal choice for all websites and mobile apps, but a true SaaS CMS makes a strong case in most projects nowadays, so be sure you include it in your list of options.

To learn more about Crafter Cloud, the the groundbreaking SaaS Web CMS, visit craftercloud.io. If you need help determining which CMS approach is best for your organization, contact us directly or reach out to one of our certified consulting partners.

The Rise of Virtual Reality Experiences

Virtual-Reality

When Facebook bought virtual reality company Oculus in early 2014, virtual reality blew up. Now users can experience anything, anywhere through the power of this new medium. Whether they are painting a picture with a virtual reality paint brush, walking through a building that has not yet been built, or enjoying their favorite video game in a more realistic light, virtual reality has changed technology as we know it.

As it becomes more mainstream, the virtual reality trend is becoming more and more popular – especially among a core, technology savvy subset, namely gamers. And, they are willing to pay for it. A recent study done by Newzoo indicates that 11% of people in 12 western countries are considering purchasing virtual reality gear by the end of the year. Already, the awareness of consumer virtual reality is higher than the average consumer may even expect. With viral videos displaying the possibilities, and individuals discovering for themselves how user-friendly the hardware is, the response is growing.

According to the insights shared in the Newzoo report, consumers are willing and prepared to spend some serious dough on VR products. High-end virtual reality hardware ($600 and more) has been available since the beginning of the year for pre-order and sales will inevitably skyrocket towards the holidays. The Newzoo report suggests that an unexpected 16% of Spaniards, 12% of Americans and 10% of British are stating their interest to purchase VR equipment in the next six months.

This year, virtual reality has made its way into the consumer marketplace where even the most inexperienced user can test it out and get a feeling for this progressive medium. Although in most cases virtual reality hardware is pricey, eventually it will become more affordable and lend itself to create endless options for businesses and individuals alike. Much like the iPod or iPhone back in the early 2000s, new and affordable virtual reality options are on the horizon. The virtual reality hardware we have today is unquestionably the best and most affordable VR technology of its kind. Yet, the opportunities for what’s to come are even greater (with growing potential) than anything we have seen up to this point.

So what does this mean for your enterprise? Although, in some ways, virtual reality has just arrived, there are already countless opportunities for your company to jump on the prospects. We built Crafter CMS to deliver high-performance, unique digital experiences across all online channels. And we are certain that virtual reality is the next big digital channel.

If you are interested in learning more about the current state of virtual reality or how the award-winning Crafter CMS platform can help your enterprise create virtual reality experiences, give us a shout.

Four Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Mobile App

Blog_MobileApp

With the rise of smartphone usage, the mobile app industry is as successful as ever. This growing trend has become attractive to many businesses as they become more aware of the impact an app can have on their business.

More specifically, mobile apps have quickly transformed the business community and companies are finding this medium to be the fastest and easiest way to reach existing customers and potentially new customers without invading their privacy.

The following are just a few points to consider when you are deciding upon a mobile app for your business.

1. Promoting: Marketing and promotion to get the word out about your company is crucial. With stiff competition in most industries, businesses are thinking up new and creative ways to promote themselves. Mobile apps not only support customer engagement, but they also allow companies to promote themselves and offer a variety of discounts, coupons and deals to their customers. Additionally, push notifications and location-based updates greatly enhance the effectiveness of each promotion.

2. Engagement: Most of us are extremely busy, so in order to reach your customer, you need to engage them in nonintrusive ways that peak their interest. Mobile apps are a way to do this with their potential to increase customer engagement by simply keeping them up-to-date on the latest products or services. Your customers can have updates at their fingertips – something that conventional marketing completely lacked.

3. Improves Sales: Mobile apps allow customers to make purchases right from their smartphones which helps to accelerate your business sales. Your potential customers can order products and services wherever they are rather than waiting until they are at a computer to visit your website and shop.

4. Customer Support and Service: With the app right on your customer’s’ smartphone, it is much easier for them to reach out for support and service. In turn, you can easily address their inquiries while providing support whenever it is required. Prior to the mobile app, the process for customers to get support was lengthy and time consuming.

When you’re ready to build your next enterprise mobile app, contact us at Crafter Software to learn how Crafter CMS enables rapid mobile app development, so you can create the ideal mobile app for your company, stay up with the competition, increase your sales, and ultimately watch your company grow.

How To Select a CMS

With the constant evolution of of the Digital content and experience landscape, it can be difficult to decide which CMS architecture will properly meet your business, user and technology objectives. The following are four items to help orient your CMS search for success:

CMS_2.0

1. The Right CMS For Business

It is important to take into consideration the cost of development against ROI. The maintenance needs and the architecture’s ability to scale should be heavily weighed as well while assessing the risks associated with technology choices. Businesses boost ROI by reducing the cost of development and time to launch – something a CMS platform approach can help with due to less custom development to get the different components working together. Development overhead is reduced with this platform which also adds a layer of functionality.

You will also want to assess maintainability. Continuous maintenance of a solution can involve fixing bugs, adding minor enhancements and patches or upgrades. Maintainability  can be difficult in  legacy CMS platform models since the application and the CMS code base are coupled tightly. Whichever CMS platform you choose, be sure to think about user-friendliness, release frequency, packaging and available support.

2. Empower the developer

As with most cases, you never want to make someone’s job harder, same goes with making sure the web application framework won’t make your developer’s job more difficult. You can avoid this by following the model-view-controller pattern. This enables cleaner code, better separation of concerns, and easier testability. This pattern is one in which more developers are familiar and it allows for a more gradual learning curve. Regardless of the architecture, be sure the web application sticks to the M.V.C. pattern.

Additionally, enable continuous delivery from the start to help reduce the time, cost, risk and effort of code production by the development team. The core engineering practices that enable continuous delivery are test automation, continuous integration and automated deployment.

Although it can be more difficult to set up continuous delivery on CMS platforms when the solution codebase ties to the CMS platform codebase, so be sure to offer ways to separate the solution code and CMS platform code. However, packaging and deploying code into environments with automated scripts should be fairly easily.

3. Make the Editor Happy

It’s been said thousands of times, but it still holds true, content is king. So the solution must address the needs of content editors while minimizing limitations to editorial strategies. Start by making a decision about flexible page composition. In content-centric solutions, the ability to create pages with custom layouts and components gives editors flexibility and freedom. Coupled CMSs typically offer this out of the box, sometimes with drag-and-drop WYSIWYG capabilities.

You will also want to determine market standardization.  Enterprises serving multi-markets need to make a decision whether they want to provide a single platform that serves their entire market, reducing the total cost of ownership of the platform while promoting standardization, or giving local markets autonomy to develop their online presences on their own. If a global platform suits you, a CMS platform architecture is most often the best choice. This kind of architecture hosts market sites on a single platform making it easy to share content, templates and functionality. When it comes to local markets, decoupled architectures work better because they allow more flexibility to markets to choose technologies and utilize content services.

4. Deliver value to the user

Users are savvier than ever and with the web literally at everyone’s fingertips these days, it is extremely important that their high expectations are met despite it being an ongoing challenge for you. The challenge in any web build is to address high-end needs and demands of the users while still allowing accessibility across multiple devices. Of course, keeping all of these interfaces within budget is also a challenge. Regardless of CMS platform or decoupled architecture, one key requirement you need is to ensure the web application framework gives developers full control of the front-end technology stack. In general, design and build for the lowest common denominator and then you can layer various functionality for advance browsers and devices. Stay in line with the WCAG guidelines and take a progressive enhancement development approach.

 

Is Your Enterprise’s Website Working?

“Is my website working?” In many, the answer is a resounding “no!” The good news is website analytics make it fairly easy to regularly rate your website’s performance. So, by simply taking a closer look, you can make the necessary changes for it to function efficiently.

For starters, you will need to begin by establishing benchmarks to conclude if your website is meeting your goals. Be it 10,000 more visitors a month or a day you’re looking for, the following are factors you will need to consider when creating these benchmarks.

web_enterprise3

1.) How New is Your Site?

As you know, the digital marketplace is a pretty big beast, so don’t be surprised if it takes your new website some time to gain momentum. By setting benchmarks to gauge your progress, Google Analytics can help you measure how quickly you get there. While it may be tempting to set lofty goals, try to stay reasonable. For example, if you have a big sale in May, your visitor count may be much higher than in say June or July.  Keeping track of your analytics will help you keep it all in perspective.

2.) Are People Aware of Your Site?

Marketing strategies such as paid search and SEO can work wonders to improve the visibility of your site and help you gain more visitors. Brand awareness plays a big role here too. Name recognition will bring more consumers to your site and, in turn, increase sales. If you invest in these marketing strategies, you are more likely to see significant results.

3.) What is the Main Purpose for Your Website?

Simply put, is your website primarily intended for marketing, generation of revenue via traffic or for e-commerce? The analytics for these two are as different as their primary purpose. Websites heavy on content such as blogs, ebooks and other publications rely on traffic and customer engagement because of the correlation between hits and revenue. Page hits don’t matter as much to e-commerce sites because they rely heavily on conversions for success.

4.) Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Although it might seem archaic in our technology-first world, don’t underestimate the power of real life conversation and simply ask your customers about your site. You can gain some real insights that algorithms and analytics may not be able to identify. Asking a quick question or two can go far.

Is your website working for you? Let Crafter Software help you get better results. Crafter CMS delivers what no other enterprise Web CMS can because it’s built like no other CMS in its class. Crafter CMS combines user-friendliness, powerful enterprise features, and the highest performance on the planet.  So you’re able to easily deliver blazing fast, highly personalized digital experiences to your audience.

For more information head to http://www.craftersoftware.com/

 

Top 5 Capabilities Your Web CMS Needs

Website SEO and analytics icons
Marketers expect much more from web CMS solutions now than they did five years ago. Today, web content management is much more about customer engagement and marketing activities than the publishing and content management it was a few years ago.

Because of this transformation, CMS platforms are becoming the central point for everything such as managing data from CRM, ERP, Marketing Automation and other applications, delivering personalized experiences, analyzing customer data and optimizing strategy, and even improving management of organization-wide digital assets. As customers come to expect, and often demand, a perfect experience every time, it’s as important as ever for enterprises to explore how today’s advanced web CMS solutions can help them achieve their goals. The following are 5 essential ways that CMS supports the digital experience.

1.  Efficient Management of Digital Assets
The use and management of both text and visual digital assets are easily done with CMS platforms. Everything from editing to resizing and previewing assets, as well as pushing media and documents to the web and social channels is simplified through the use of web content management. WCM allows enterprises the vital role of smoothly and efficiently delivering customized digital experiences.

2. Utilizing All Web Properties to Publish Content
At one point having multiple marketing teams for a wide range of products and global services may have worked, it just isn’t feasible now. That approach only causes redundancy of efforts, unwanted licensing and maintenance expenses from websites built on varying platforms, and outrageous marketing team sizes.

Ideally, with the right web CMS platform content will be automatically pushed to social media, public facing sites, internal intranets and any other channel that makes sense. This smoother process is not only more streamlined and efficient, but it also keeps the brand voice consistent across multiple platforms.

3. Optimize The Use of All Data
Once you have streamlined your ability to publish content, you will want to get a better handle on how you optimize the use of all that content and the user’s experience. CMS platforms that are equipped with full support for A/B Testing, customer engagement analysis, predictions and recommendations, goal tracking, campaign tracking and other actions related to analyzing customer data and customer journey tracking will significantly improve this optimization.

Additionally, CMS platforms offering intuitive backend interfaces with integrated BI insights as well as administrative ability to utilize the insights quickly will substantially enhance the process and raise the bar even higher.

4. Integrated CMS Platforms
To your customers, your online presence is not segregated into the web, social and other silos. To them, it is one entity. So failing to integrate CRM, portals, BI, analytics and other key applications will cause you to spin your wheels in your attempts to reach your customers from all angles in your CMS platform.

The task of integration is simplified with the use of out-of-the-box connectors while easily linking existing web applications through APIs. Everything from search platforms, e-commerce, language translation, major CRMs, analytics, databases and publishing platforms easily come together.

5. Personalized and Integrated Digital Experiences
Leveraging web CMS platforms is key for any enterprise managing multiple brands and/or products. Modern CMS solutions ease the ability to deliver personalized and contextual digital experiences by simplifying the process of personalizing the design and content for landing pages, making it easier to reuse code and display separate content to different user segments.

3 Major Advantages of a Headless / Decoupled CMS

In a nutshell, a headless CMS, sometimes called decoupled CMS separates the content of a website from how it is displayed on separate independent applications.  The term “decoupled” has been increasingly used as a synonym for headless in recent years. However, “decoupled” is also used by CMS technologies that completely separate content authoring and delivery technology. This kind of architectural decoupling has its own set of advantages.  The term “headless CMS” refers to CMS technologies that are capable of delivering content that is completely void of presentation concerns and is delivered to a content consuming application via APIs / Content as a Service (CaaS.)

Headless CMS/CaaS architectures are the best choice for enterprises who feel limited by the front-end restrictions of a legacy CMS. Rich digital experiences, content apps, highly custom layouts and JavaScript MVC frameworks don’t really fit into the architecture of a CMS which closely controls how content looks and is rendered.  In recent years, the CaaS architecture has become so important that several CaaS ONLY CMS technologies started popping up.  It’s our belief that CaaS is an extremely important capability but on its own it creates yet another content silo.  Any CMS worth its salt needs to be able to handle both traditional content delivery as well as CaaS to deliver the true benefits of a headless architecture.

#1 Get More Out of Your Content

A headless CMS helps to reduce the quantity of managed content by eliminating duplicative content with slightly different presentations and at the same time and by the same means reduces the time-to-market factor. Content editors are freed from needing to worry about the exact presentation on every single front-end that consumes content. The headless CMS will push the updates across all the digital properties, so you don’t have to. By separating content from presentation, you easily save two valuable factors: time and money.  With a headless CMS like Crafter, the possibilities are endless when a single content item is combined with a number of different presentations.

#2 Author Once, Consume Anywhere

Captivating the general audience and converting them to be your brand advocate requires a Customer Experience Management (CXM) tool that goes beyond simply introducing them to your website. The most effective and powerful brands create interconnected, simplified experiences on all levels of customer interactions. This means that both in-person and web touch points are crucial to connecting with users and potential customers. Technical agility as well as the ability to manage content is key. This is best done by providing businesses with a platform like Crafter CMS that has headless CMS capabilities that enable marketers to push their content beyond the company’s website. With a headless architecture, you can more easily manage the entire user experience from one central location and serve that content to any platform throughout the customer journey.

#3 Build and Roll Out Content Enabled Apps FASTER with Content APIs

New content-enabled applications and use cases show up all the time.  The faster we can roll the out apps, the more we enable a great experience for our customers.  By supporting CaaS, we make it easier for our organizations to build content-enabled applications. Well defined APIs are what developers need in order to create applications quickly. A headless CMS like Crafter gives you those APIs and lets your developers focus on creating application features rather than re-inventing the CMS wheel or working around content deployment and presentation issues presented by legacy systems. Furthermore, APIs can be documented and made available to third parties or the public which opens the door for innovation outside your walls.  Simply put,  headless CMS technology speeds development and enables innovation.

5 Rules for Creating Loyal Customers

When it comes to attracting consumers, marketers are realizing they need to step up their game to keep up with the competition. Many of their competitors are undergoing dramatic digital transformations designed to increase customer engagement through targeted, individualized experiences across every channel and device (online and offline.) Brands are now doing whatever it takes to deliver standout service and capabilities to their desired audiences.  However, as brands scramble to go above and beyond, they often miss some of the most important rules on how to engage customers properly and thus don’t achieve the desired result. The following are 5 of the key guidelines to follow when designing digital experiences that align with your brand goals and customer satisfaction.
customer-v2-01

#1 Be Helpful

When a customer has a need and you make it easy to fulfill that need you are well on your way to creating a loyal follower of your brand.  Start by creating a helpful experience that comfortably guides customers through the purchasing process. From start to finish, make it simple and helpful.  For example, once a purchase has been made, provide assistance, and do it across various channels.  In the confirmation email or on the “proof of purchase” page, help cover the unknowns. How-to videos, images and infographics are very powerful tools for extending the conversation and covering unknowns. Let them know they can reach you on social media. Customers enjoy being part of the process and will feel more connected to your brand when given access to exclusive content.

#2 Make Content Engaging and Easy to Consume

Designing for the small screen doesn’t mean the experience has to be sacrificed by eliminating important content. It simply means the content you include needs to be extremely engaging and on point for your targeted audience.  Consider being more concise, use 10-second videos rather than those lasting longer than a minute or more. Your content should be contextual, responsive, and most of all, as flexible as your users need it to be. It should be able to go across all channels and devices – online and offline. Your goal should be to create an environment that is specific for the device while also having the ability to go beyond into diverse environments, be it an in-store experience or virtual signage on a billboard and so on.

#3 Personalize Without Being Creepy

Personalization and automation provide a lot of value to the customer. Yet, today’s consumers are savvy and many of them are mindful of privacy concerns. The last thing they want is to be creeped out and worried about privacy issues. Some advertising can come across as a little too personal and downright annoying. Just because I looked at a product does not mean I want it. Today a lot of “retargeting” on social networks are guilty of this simple assumption.  While quick follow up and reinforcement works, the smarter you can be about what you chose to reinforce the more likely you are to convert a customer.  Being annoying might coerce a few new customers but it can also do the opposite and turn potentially loyal customers away. The magic happens when you are helpful and relevant to the customer.  The internet is rife with stories of large companies using purchasing histories to suggest future purchases that “crossed the line.”  Making recommendations can be extremely useful for your customers and amazing for sales but make sure you are constantly asking / checking that your analysis and algorithms are non-invasive, so you don’t overstep your boundaries and end up embarrassing or creeping out your customers and prospects.

#4 Reuse Content

While it may sound like a faux pas, it really is in your best interest to reuse content. Equally as important as creating easy-to-use experiences, using familiar patterns and repeating calls to action will give the perception (sometimes illusion) of a faster solution. Reuse content modules and processes because it reinforces your branding and attracts customers by increasing awareness.

#5 Be Easy to Use, Be Fast

Whether your site visitors are making a purchase or just browsing, one of the single most important things you can do for the user is to provide them with a quick resolution. Many websites make purchasing easy for their customers by keeping the experience to a few clicks. Not only is that convenient for the visitor, but makes the ordering process quicker and streamlined. Ensure that you have a highly scalable platform that is capable of delivering the site quickly and that your front end code (images, CSS, Javascript, etc.) are optimized to render quickly to your users.

Although it’s never easy to truly know every potential hiccup you may face, by understanding the above mentioned five aspects of a great digital experience, you will likely avoid them, which will keep both your business and customers happy.

Do you agree? Comment below and tell us what you think helps create loyal customers!

6 ‘C’s for Great Customer Experience

The type of customer experience your company provides to its customers can make or break the brand. The game has changed and the winners in today’s market are those who provide a great experience to their customers throughout the entire customer journey. Learn how to increase demand and encourage growth through great customer experience by leveraging these 6 ‘C’s of Great Customer Experience!

#1: Contextual

Are you sitting at your desk working?  Are you sitting on the couch browsing with your tablet?  Are you in a Uber hurling towards the airport and trying to move your flight departure time?  Where you are, what you are doing, what kind of access you has matters A LOT! Contextualization focuses the experience on where you are, what device you are using as well as preferences such as location, language, and time of day.  In a nutshell, contextualized experience is what brands use to go above the muck in today’s omni-channel, multi-device, multi-lingual, multi-step world to provide you with a more personalized and relevant experience.

#2 Consistent

A brand is successful by promises made and promises kept. By consistently shaping communications and interactions that highlight strong delivery and core themes brands set customer expectations and drive loyalty by meeting them. Lack of consistency and failure to meet expectations has the exact opposite effect. Have you ever dialed into an automated “phone-tree”, entered a bunch of information only to be transferred and then have to re-enter all of your information again?  It’s frustrating at best. A consistent experience delivers what you expect at every step in the customer journey.  At each touch point, it knows where you have been and where you are now.

#3 Conversational

The online world is much more social than ever before.  Marketing is no longer about one-way communication in which brands bark messaging at customers, it’s about engaging with them.  Today’s marketing is “N-directional.”  It’s an on-going engagement with the brand, a customer, and the brand ecosystem.  Everyone knows that good friends are the ones that know how to listen.  The same is true for brands.

#4 Cross-channel

Our customers have multiple ways to engage with us from traditional media advertising, mail campaigns and phone to digital platforms such as sites, applications, kiosks, digital signage, email, texting, social media and more!  Your customers want to engage you through the mediums and platforms that make the most sense for them in the moment.  Companies that truly get customer experience understand that offering the customer a great experience on the platform of their choice is a critical component for success.  Multi-channel isn’t just about a website responsive design that works on laptops and smartphones.  It’s about really being able to serve customers on any channel and further it’s about being equipped to add a new channel at a moment’s notice.  New channels emerge all the time, and it is the first movers in nearly all cases that dominate the new space.

#5 Convenient

Convenience is a no brainer. Customers love easy. You must reduce complexity at every step.  Make it simple for them!  Apple no longer has a checkout register. Any employee can help you complete a purchase.  Need to schedule an appointment? A couple taps of by an associate on an iPad and you are done.  That’s convenient and it’s enchanting.  Now compare your hailing a cab to requesting an Uber.  Hailing a cab requires good fortune or great patience. Uber by contrast puts mobility at the touch of a button, provides you with an ETA and requires no physical payment transaction.  That’s convenient and it’s enchanting.  Be convenient. Be enchanting.

#6 Cost effective

While great customer experience is vital for maintaining and obtaining customers, doing more (for your customers) often requires more time and resources.  The key to creating and maintaining a great customer experience is finding a cost effective way to make it happen.  The key to cost-effective customer experience is in the architecture of the platforms and solutions you choose to implement. Of course, the platform needs to enable you to deliver contextual multi-channel experiences that engage and enchant your customers. But it must also allow you to scale in an affordable way.  By scale I mean few things.  Scale as in volume.  You need to be able to add more capacity without breaking the bank.  Scale as in many birds, one stone.  The platform should be able to cover many needs.  Multiple sites, many channels within a site and so on.  Scale as in capacity to innovate.  Digital experience is a space of constant evolution.  You need to be able to quickly and affordably develop and deploy new value to your customers.

How have the 6 C’s for Great Customer Experience enhanced your business?  Let us know in the comments below.