A recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit discovered that 86% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) and senior marketing executives believe that, by 2020, they will own the end-to-end customer experience.
This also happens to be the same year that the customer experience will likely be the number one differentiator for brands. The stakes are high, and it’s essential for marketers to implement the right customer experience strategies to stay competitive.
A great customer experience isn’t just about guiding customers through the purchase process; it’s about surprising and delighting them along the way. For brands to be successful, they must understand what customers want and need, and those answers lie in the insights generated from customer interactions. Only when marketers have the right insights can they take steps to deliver an integrated, personalised customer experience.
As marketers take ownership of the customer experience, there are five priorities they should consider if they want to meet new customer expectations:
1. Find the true voice of the customer
Today’s consumer is “always on” Whether through a social network interaction, web chat, phone call or an email, customers are constantly interacting with brands, and brands must always be listening. Those interactions produce an influx of data, and marketers should advocate to deploy speech and text analytics software in the contact centre to gain a firm grasp on those interactions and conversations. The true voice of the customer lies within that data, and the right insights are accessible with the right technology.
2. Break down data silos
To deliver a meaningful customer experience, brands must design holistic technology strategies to leverage insights across the organisation. All digital touchpoints should be viewed in context with other systems and processes to paint a complete picture of the customer journey. For example, if collected data indicates customers are unhappy with a particular product function or service offering, that information should be linked to product development, supply chain and product marketing. When that data is shared, it can help brands get ahead of possible issues and drive improvements across the organisation, which will result in a better overall customer experience.
3. Determine where machines fit
By 2020, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are expected to be the leading ways to maintain competitive edge as well as manage the customer experience. Customer want personalisation when brands communicate with them, and AI and machine learning strategies can help brands deliver. Soon, AI and machine learning will be at the core of many marketing strategies, and it’s important to find the right balance between technology and the human touch. These technologies should inform and finesse decisions, but they should never replace people. With this in mind, marketers should incorporate this modern technology into existing strategies and use them to create the personalised experiences consumers want.
4. Keep up with change
To cater to changing customer expectations, it’s important to advocate the implementation of new technology. All too often, brands are reactive to customer demands, which means they’re never truly ahead of customer wants and needs. Instead, marketers should be open to new ideas to keep their competitive edge, which involves anticipating and providing the right experience at the right place in the customer journey. This doesn’t mean rushing into unproven technology or processes, but successful brands encourage continual, proactive research and openness to change.
5. Understand how and where to use data correctly
As the amount of data that companies collect about customers and employees continues to grow, brands are swimming in a deepening pool of information; however, many are not prepared to extract and utilise these data insights, so they often miss out on valuable information that can enhance customer experience strategies. Companies that boost employee engagement by five percent see a three percent increase in revenue, so it’s clear that happy employees create happy customers. If data indicates that employee engagement has dropped, then brands have the potential to engage, excite and motivate teams who interact directly with customers.
Changes in consumer buying habits and communication taking place over an increasing number of channels require brands to create advanced technology strategies that ensure they will stay competitive in the market. By constantly looking for new ways to innovate, implement new technologies, and engage with both customers and employees, marketers can take the right steps to successfully own the customer experience by 2020.
Calabrio is a specialist in call centre software that includes call recording, quality management, workforce management and analytics.