By the year 2020, Walker Information’s Customers 2020 Report predicts that customer experience will be the number one competitive differentiator for brands.
In addition, by 2020, 88% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) and senior marketing executives believe they will own the end-to-end customer experience. To be successful, marketers must rise to the challenge of meeting increasing customer expectations.
With 2020 quickly approaching, brands still have a lot of work to do in order to get smarter about their customers and keep pace with the numerous technology changes ahead.
From artificial intelligence (AI) and smart technology to multiple communication channels, the constantly changing technology landscape often leaves marketers overwhelmed with ways to best connect with and understand customers.
The idea that brands must go above and beyond to woo and delight their customers isn’t a debate – it’s a matter of how. Here are five practical steps brands can take to gather the right insights and use them to deliver a successful 2020 customer experience.
Break down data silos
Data integration is paramount to a connected customer experience. To ensure that integration, organisations must think holistically when designing technology strategies and solutions. All digital touchpoints, whether internal or external, must be analyzed in context with ERP, CRM and contact centre solutions.
When these systems are connected, it gives brands continual access to the right information to better understand customers and, ultimately, affect the bottom line. For example, contact centre data offers insights that are useful to the rest of the organisation.
If customers are calling to express their dissatisfaction, brands can incorporate this feedback into the product roadmap. If data remains in silos, however, a company will miss valuable opportunities to deliver a meaningful and authentic customer experience.
Listen to the voice of the customer
Customers can interact with brands in a variety of ways, including via social channels, web chat, the phone or email. All of this communication is rich in insights into customer sentiment; it’s critical for brands to understand what’s happening in these interactions, across all channels. If brands aren’t listening, they risk lagging behind.
Brands should consider enacting speech and text analytics strategies to gain a firm understanding of those conversations and hear what customers really want. With these insights, brands are better equipped to deal with potential issues before they escalate and can also enact strategies to let customers know they are being heard and that their feedback is valuable.
Use AI and machine learning to make it personal
Customers now expect personalised communication from brands. While it may seem counterintuitive, AI and machine learning will be essential to creating that personalised customer experience and maintaining competitive advantage. By 2020, the use of these technologies will be widespread, but it’s important for brands to find the balance between technology and the human touch.
AI and machine learning should be used to inform and guide decisions, but they should never replace the people who can offer a unique customer experience. When brands combine the best new technology as well as great people, magic happens. Company representatives can use customer insights to better inform each and every interaction.
Leverage employee data
A company’s employees are on the front lines of customer communications, making them the most important factors in customer retention strategies. In fact, companies that increase employee engagement by 5% see a three percent increase in revenue. Given that brands collect customer data to better understand behavior, it only makes sense to do the same for employees.
Employee data gives brands the right information to understand employee sentiment, which can help them develop ways to engage, excite, and motivate the teams who are working with customers every single day.
These insights can help determine things like training strategies and the resources needed to arm employees with the right information to better serve customers. In other words, engaged employees equal engaged customers, and the 2020 company’s number one priority is its internal team.
Don’t be afraid of change
Implementing new marketing technology helps keep a company competitive, but it’s not an easy task. Simply investing in the latest innovations isn’t enough. To succeed, they must integrate new technology into their existing strategy and train their employees to use it to its full capabilities.
Oftentimes, companies will delay updating their technologies, which can lead to playing catch up because they waited too long. When companies find themselves lagging in the technology needed to serve their customers, they spend a great deal of their resources reacting to customer wants and needs, making it difficult to ever truly get ahead of issues.
Marketers and IT departments must stay abreast of advances in technology needed and budget accordingly to ensure they are leading with innovation to drive customer satisfaction and ultimately, business growth.
By 2020, companies will be faced with increased customer demands, and the inability to deliver the right experience can wreak havoc on the bottom line. However, if brands have a taste for innovation, they can implement forward-thinking strategies in order to stay ahead of competitors. By laying the right foundations now, companies will be positioned deliver a 2020 customer experience.
Sourced by Tom Goodmanson, President and CEO at Calabrio