What kind of experience do you want to deliver to your prospects?

What kind of experience do you want to deliver to your prospects?

Article | Last updated: 17 April 2019

Customer expectations evolved (what customers expect)

Remember those times when customer experience primarily consisted of fair pricing and prompt, polite service? Of course, these remain of utmost importance. However, they don’t really give you much in the way of data. Data is, after all, the CX currency of today (and tomorrow – Gartner predicts more than 40% of all data analytics projects will relate to an aspect of customer experience).

This data-fuelled shift in focus, from point of sale to before the first interaction, is at the heart of the drive to gain a 360-degree customer view. To gain competitive advantage, this overarching insight forms the foundation of modern-day CX.

The 360-degree question

However, the likes of Gartner have reportedly found ‘fewer than 10% of companies have a 360-degree customer view and only 5% use this view to systematically grow their businesses’. At first glance this may seem a surprise. As far back as 2017, the likes of Deloitte (pdf) were citing customer experience as ‘the new differentiator’.

So why do so few companies seem to have got it right?

Challenges arise when multiple departments serve the same customers. The immediate impact is silos, along with a split in how the data is collected, resulting in multiple (and incomplete) views of the same customer.

This split is further compounded by omnichannel touchpoints. Without a single CRM, the data gets further fragmented.

Short-term goals, long-term expectations

Considering the nature of CX is ever-evolving, the task of meeting of CX expectations may need redefining, to being a continuous journey, rather than a goal. This is also a reflection of how marketing’s role has developed, to nurture existing customers, as well as acquire prospects.

In which case, adopting a lean strategy and zeroing in on more immediate goals is the way forward. That means understanding past and present customer behaviours, with a view to planning a more personalised relationship, and ultimately gaining a rich 360-degree customer view.

Organisations That Are Personalising Their Digital Experience See A 19% Increase In Their Key Digital Conversions

Building the foundation should therefore begin with:

    • Data
      Organisations must commit to gathering structured and unstructured data. What’s more, every interaction should be related to a business goal, to avoid a data lake scenario. It’s the first step towards being able to analyse and measure campaign impact, provide personalisation to scale messaging, and scale using automation, list management and lead scoring.
    • Alignment
      In any discussion that involves transformation, behavioural change has to be at the heart. Strategies such as Account-Based Marketing have helped highlight the need to bring together sales and marketing. To make this happen properly, particularly in large organisations, there has to be a drive towards a single CRM. Centralising the data in this way is a crucial step towards customer-centricity.
    • Content strategy
      There are millions (8 million as of 3.11pm on 9 Apr 2019) blogs published every day. If you’re commissioning or creating content for customer experience, audit what you already have. Look at what’s worked, and remove what hasn’t worked. At this stage it’s about gathering data on what’s relevant, important and useful to your target audience.

At this stage, it’s time to look at your current infrastructure. Can it support the above? If not, then it’s time to start looking at upgrading. Particularly because, as Forrester explains: ‘In the next few years, we will see brands differentiate themselves by having machine-learning systems and bots be able to predict and prescribe actions in real time.’

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