Embrace Digital Excellence for the “Next Normal”

A recent article from the McKinsey customer experience (CX) practice delves into what it calls the “next normal” for customer engagement. It lists three priorities that the authors claim will define CX in the post-pandemic era: digital excellence, dynamic customer insights and safe/contactless engagement. It further postulates that all organizations are actively reorienting business models to be more digital to accomplish these priorities. “The bar for digital excellence, already high before the pandemic,” it states, “has gone through the roof.”

While there is no legitimate doubt that digital excellence is indeed a top priority in the wake of the seismic changes to consumer behaviors, there remains ambiguity about its exact meaning. Some may harbor the belief that it refers primarily to shifting resources from in-store to digital channels, or expanding an online presence. I submit to the view that digital excellence refers to providing a customer with a seamless, omnichannel customer journey with relevance and personalization at every touchpoint. Raising the ‘bar’, as it were, means there can be no daylight or disconnect between an experience a customer has with a brand between channels and touchpoints – physical, digital, customer service, acquisition, collections, etc. Because such a holistic, customer-centric experience has proven to drive revenue growth, digital excellence transcends marketing to become a mission-critical enterprise mandate.

Why Digital Excellence Matters

The pandemic has, once and for all, laid bare the misconception that digital excellence was/is not worthy of serious attention, or that a customer data platform (CDP) is a niche offering meant for experimentation in a single channel or on a campaign-by-campaign basis. Organizations that found themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide as customers suddenly disappeared from traditional in-store, physical locations – or flocked to competitors – received a rude awakening. These companies realized almost immediately the very real urgency to provide a seamless omnichannel experience, and that it is intricately tied to revenue. The signs were there pre-pandemic; research from Gartner shows that customer-centric brands achieve up to 20 percent lift, a direct result of providing that holistic experience by knowing a customer identity across channels and devices, analyzing all relevant customer data from every source (including IoT and sentiment analysis) across a customer’s anonymous and known customer journeys.

A Flight to Quality

Fortunately, there is a way forward. Similar to the Wall Street “flight to quality” phenomenon, where investors shift out of risky assets during a financial downturn, the same applies to organizations that realize nothing less than a single, fully integrated solution that brings together all customer data into one digital platform will suffice for providing customers with the personalized, relevant, omnichannel CX they demand.

Organizations want a solution that offers precision, flexibility, and the ability to handle any circumstance or situation that has anything to do with a customer, from simple to complex, touching marketing, customer service, acquisition, operations and everything in between. Everyone is now fully on board with the realization that there is no shortcut for arriving at a single point of operational control that supports a completely integrated, omnichannel experience. This is the premise, and promise, behind the Redpoint rg1 solution, which takes customer experience to the next level while also minimizing risk, reducing the number of vendors and martech sprawl, and with integration flexibility that maintains the desired level of security and data protection according to industry needs.

Prepare for the ‘Next Normal’

A single point of control is required to orchestrate a holistic omnichannel experience, particularly with customers shifting behaviors and moving to more unpredictable, digital-first journeys. According to the McKinsey article, even those companies that had started on a digital transformation path and had developed an omnichannel strategy were forced with the arrival of the pandemic to “throw out their playbooks and improvise to keep pace” with new unique and compelling experiences.

rg1 shortens this learning curve because the “playbook” (the platform) is both rules-based and in real time. There are no lists, or machine learning models to “throw out” because the rules-based platform dynamically updates a customer Golden Record in real time. Knowing everything there is to know about a customer at the precise moment of an engagement supports the unique and compelling experience because it will always be relevant and in cadence with a journey.

Self-trained and code-free automated machine learning algorithms further negate the need to improvise. Redpoint Automated Machine Learning (AML) embraces an evolutionary programming approach that automates algorithmic optimization directly against a metric a marketer is trying to push during development. This “fitness function” guarantees that a model will be highly relevant and effective in optimizing the metric the marketer intends to move. There is no need to haphazard a guess as to which action might most delight a customer depending on where they are in a journey. Customer journeys are dynamic, and creating a unique, compelling experience at scale requires a platform with built-in AML capabilities that will optimize business goals and help marketers orchestrate a next-best action for a customer throughout an omnichannel journey.

The always-on, continuously connected customer perceives a relationship with a brand as a holistic experience, which runs counter to a brand’s traditional method of engaging with customers on a channel-by-channel basis. The sudden change in customer behaviors will expose any gap between the experience a customer expects and what a brand is able to deliver. Anything less than excellence – any uneven channel experience – will drive a customer away. This is why ambitious marketers rely on Redpoint. Traditional marketing technologies just aren’t up to the task of providing a hyper-personalized, relevant unified experience throughout an omnichannel journey at scale. With Redpoint, that’s a starting point.

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