In western countries, customer experience became a main preoccupation to many businesses. It has been the center of extensive research and it is now less and less mystical. But is a good experience in a western country as good of an experience in China?
In the United States for example, some of the greatest CX strategies have been studied, secrets have been shared and a good experience is now a standard if not a must-have. But do we know how customer experience is perceived in different cultures? China, a central hub for digital growth, has its own digital ecosystem and has proven how innovative it could be. Therefore, let’s see what differentiate a great customer experience in western countries from one in China.
Famous successful customer experiences in western cultures
- Disney and its magical moments
- Amazon and its prime delivery
- Starbucks and its ultra personalised experience
- Ikea and its immersive stores
- Netflix and its pain-point-free navigation
- Airbnb and its unique and local experiences
- Revolve and its adaptive buying processes
- Spotify and its Wrapped campaign
The conclusion is that western countries love personalisation and emotions. To leave a pleasant feeling to your customers, you must make them as individuals and recognise their unique needs and constraints.
Brands that take a stance for the integration and acceptance of all communities are more and more valued. The acknowledgement of differences and respect of singularities and individual needs is what leads the CX trends nowadays.
But how about customers in China ? Is the main component of a good customer experience personalisation?
Key customer experience elements in China
Even though it will not hurt an interaction, personalisation and emotions are not the number one criteria that will drive a great experience. In general, here are things to have in mind when design experiences for Chinese customers.
An innovative integration of digital processes within the experience
While in other countries it is common to avoid the use of technologies, Chinese customers tend to prefer online experiences. Indeed, mobile payment is the favorite payment mean and social commerce is a widespread buying experience. And the more originality you will show with your use of technologies, the more attention you will capture.
Prestigious and luxurious are go-to adjectives
Social status and appearances are greatly valued in China. Thus, experiences that are proof of a high disposable income or social status will surely arouse Chinese customers’ interest.
Reviews are your communication strategy
Whether in one side of the planet or the other, reviews make the difference. However, reviews in China seem to rule even more. Negative reviews will put your brand at the end of the list.
An entertaining buying process
In a lot of countries, the buying part of an experience is usually the least appreciated. On the contrary, Chinese customers usually prefer this stage of the whole experience. Buying is considered as an activity. So focus the development of the experience around this step of the journey.
A reference to the Chinese culture is a great plus, when well done!
Chinese play on words, references to ongoing news or viral content, mentions of past history are valued. Introducing one of those element in your story-telling, packaging or communication strategy will certainly seduce Chinese citizens. However the manipulation of culture elements is delicate and hazardous. Numerous are the brands who misused Chinese cultural references and payed the price of their faux-pas.
Disclaimer: This article is a discussion on current marketing trends. The mentioned elements are not facts but interpretations based on brands practices.
Steffi Noel, How the Chinese customer experience differs from the US, July, 2019
Kirsten Burkard, The Top 10 Best Customer Experiences (and What You Can Learn From Them), 2018