To learn more about using data to optimize customer experience, check out our webinar “Using Analytics to solve customers’ new struggles.”
Marketers are living in a world where the delivery of customer experiences is front and center and always-on – it’s where brands live and die. “Experience” and “easy” are the new “loyalty” for customers. When experiences are easy, simple to follow, rewarding, and personalized, it can make or break your business.
But, with so many players in a company having a hand in delivering customer experience, how do you make it consistent and measurable across channels and touchpoints with your brand? Certainly tools play a role in this, but tools and software must enable and help you execute, not be in the driver’s seat. In order to execute a consistent customer experience strategy in a multi-channel world, you must make your data work for you, focus on the customer, and measure, measure, measure.
Develop a strategy around integrated data
When customers come to me with a challenge, it usually starts with a data problem. Data is everywhere, increasing daily. With all this data comes so much power, but also the responsibility to understand what is important and what is noise. Some data is easy to access and readily available, other times it’s spread out across internal and external silos. How do you determine which data is critical to your customer experience strategy?
It starts with What and Why. Connecting data just to connect data doesn’t provide value and more often creates extra work and headache. So, start with What and Why. What problem are you trying to solve and why does this help? Why is that data important? If your goal for the merchandising team is to understand which channel drove the most category sales, you can focus on activating digital and in-store transactions. However, if your goal is to minimize activity to your call center, a different data strategy is important. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by data. Focus on what will deliver results.
Focus on the customer experience
The stakes are high with prospects, new customers, and loyal customers. The customer experience bar is high, and customers expect an experience that is meaningful, specific to them, and efficient. They want to have a conversation with your brand, but first impressions are real and lasting. To have those meaningful conversations, you first must understand your customers – why have they engaged with your brand? What are they trying to accomplish? How should you position your content against their preferences? How do they engage with you across different channels?
Traditional web/digital analytics tools are critical for understanding website performance and traffic, acquisition channels and conversion. But, if you are relying solely on top-level digital analytics tools, you are missing out on powerful data that can help boost conversions. Beyond digital analytics, there is a wealth of customer experience data available which opens doors to understand why your customer made specific choices. Why did they abandon their booking? How did they struggle on their application form? How did they get stuck before picking up the phone to vent to the customer service agent? (And those are always the ones who call!)
Warren Buffet says, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
If you knew how your customers were truly experiencing your digital properties and where they were struggling, wouldn’t you treat them differently too? These may be insignificant details of an interaction, but they are also an opportunity to create something brilliant for your customers.
Measure and orchestrate across your customer lifecycle
Knowing your customer means to know where they are in their lifecycle journey with your brand. Not unlike a high school romance scene, are you just meeting, getting to know each other, dating, just friends?
Where the customer is in their journey must determine how you engage. In business, the stages are more formal, and fortunately they are also more measurable. As a digital business, measurement is critical to enable data-driven decisions in an automated way. Measure where each customer and audience are in your brand and use that to orchestrate their experience to move down your funnel. Are they just getting to know you and needing more content about your products? That would be a great time to send out the recent thought leadership video as a follow up from the product they viewed on the mobile app last week. At the other end of the funnel, because you have nailed down your integrated data strategy, you are alerted that a typically loyal customer just posted a negative review on social media to hundreds of friends. Act quickly to engage with that customer and recover on that negative experience.
At most companies, it’s not realistic to call that customer directly. This is where the tools in your toolbelt can work for you, to enable you to execute on your customer experience strategy. An integrated data strategy coupled with understanding and measuring the customer experience empower businesses to truly act in a one-to-one way. To measure individuals, not just audiences. And to engage with people, not just visitors.
Remember to listen to your customer. Don’t just hear them — listen. Capture the customer experience you think you are delivering and compare to what you are truly delivering. Collect this data and share with your teams so that across your organization you can deliver a consistent and effective customer experience, every time, with every customer, because now you know who they are and what makes them light up.
For more on using data and analytics to solve struggle, check out the rest of our Brilliant Basics series.