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Jan 2, 2019

Evolution of the Customer Experience and the Role of Data

Customers have the power in today’s competitive marketplace. Traditional loyalty measures no longer apply; instead, consumers are loyal to the brand that provides the best customer experience. In one recent study, 80 percent of customers indicated that they prefer brands that offer personalized experiences. Moreover, customers who find personalized experiences very appealing are 10 times more likely to be a brand’s most valuable customer. Many brands already understand that they must compete on customer experience to remain competitive. The question brands must answer in this rapidly changing landscape is how they can evolve their customer experience delivery.

With the number of new technologies being introduced into the market and digital transformation heavily adopted across all areas of business, how can brands meet the changing nature of the customer experience and ensure that they remain ahead of the competition? According to a study by Deloitte, only 44 percent of brands are prepared for digital transformation. The most essential step for a brand to meet its digital transformation goals is to create a strategy and vision for transforming the customer experience.

Foundational Change for Better Customer Experience

So how do brands develop a customer experience strategy for the always-connected, always-addressable customer whose journey involves multiple touchpoints and variable entry points into the funnel? It needs to be grounded in a deep understanding of customer needs and preferences. They need to create what is called a “golden record” to know all that is knowable about the customer.

A golden record is a single 360-degree customer view that combines the freshest, most complete and accurate data about the customer from across the entire enterprise and is accessible at all points of engagement. This record includes identifying information, the touchpoints a customer uses, all prior interactions and purchases, the number of days since the last purchase, recent offers they received and how they reacted, and how the customer transacts with the brand.

Because a golden record consists of data from multiple sources accessible across the business, it allows for a constantly updated, dynamic profile that reflects who the customer is, their preferences, and how the relationship has evolved. It also provides a window into that customer’s intent. Determining  a customer’s intent is powerful because it shows what a customer is looking for in an exact moment and where they are looking to find it. This is where brands can provide superior experiences and separate themselves from the competition by fulfilling each customer’s individual need.

Execute on Your Customer Experience Strategy

Once a brand possesses the most accurate and timely data for each customer and can make this accessible across the organization with a single point of control over data, decisions, and interactions, the brand is able to deliver a superior customer experience.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are also increasingly necessary for a marketing organization to deliver on this promise. Powerful advanced analytics embedded in these emerging technologies can deliver personalization at scale previously not achievable to provide customized offers and messages to all customers in real-time across the enterprise.

Use cases include next-best-action predictions that automatically score customers and automate segmentation to determine the optimal content type as well as the optimal timing and placement of that content. In this scenario, AI and machine learning are invaluable tools to deliver messages and offers in the cadence and the context of the customer journey, which is critical to create the personalization and relevance that resonate with customers.

For the satisfied customer, this could mean placing an online order for a same-day, in-store pickup and immediately receiving an offer for a relevant accessory. Or it could mean developing an ever-deepening bond with a favorite brand because each interaction triggers a welcomed personal touch.

Consumers are taking note of these types of next-level customer experience. Research from the Aberdeen Group found that companies with the strongest omnichannel strategies retain an average of 89 percent of customers, compared to 33 percent of companies with weak omnichannel strategies.

Brands across all industries have embraced the notion of digital transformation, but most of these companies do not yet have the foundation in place to effectively execute on a strategy to deliver a superior customer experience. Once armed with a single view of the customer, brands are presented with unlimited opportunity to optimize engagements and provide customers with the experiences that they desire and deserve.


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