Almost 10 years ago, Forrester declared that we were entering “the age of the consumer. A 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to understand and serve increasingly powerful consumers systematically.” More than 5 years ago, Gartner declared customer experience as the new battlefield and reported that “by 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly based on customer experience.”
We’re now half-way through 2020. What do you think the greatest opportunity is for business today? As Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr said in 1849, “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.”1
Despite the fact that we’re a decade into Forrester’s age of the consumer, most businesses are still struggling and striving to compete on customer experience. In fact, according to the 2019 State of CX Management report from Qualtrics, 83% of companies have significant efforts underway, but only 2% deliver “excellent” Customer Experience. We all know that CX done well can differentiate a brand and improve financial performance. And we’ve seen the stats that prove bad CX is a key reason for customer defection. But delivering exceptional experience is hard.
So what does it take to excel?
CX doesn’t start after the first purchase is made. It begins the first time someone engages — browsing your website as an anonymous visitor, requesting a quote, opening an email or downloading a whitepaper– and extend across their entire relationship with your brand. Every single interaction is an opportunity to understand a customer’s preferences and needs better, but only if you are listening for and capturing those signals across both channels and departmental boundaries. Customer experience is not marketing. Customer experience is not sales. Customer experience is not service or billing or eCommerce. Customer experience is all of those things. The truth is that most brands are capturing brontobytes of data, but it often goes to waste — locked up in organizational silos or solutions that cannot integrate.
Ask yourself – how easily you can leverage the data being collected across your marketing ecosystem and your organization.
The best marketing feels like a conversation with someone who knows you well. It’s an ongoing, responsive dialogue, not a series of disjointed monologues. If you treat me like a VIP when I call the call center, but the emails I receive are generic and irrelevant, do I feel important? If you are serious about CX, you should be thinking about omnichannel journeys rather than campaigns. And instead of pushing products, you’ll want to focus on responding to individual customer needs. That means that sometimes, rather than a promotion or a discount, the next best “offer” might be education, or a service message, a thank you, or a survey. Finally, consider the fact that when and how you deliver a message becomes as much a part of your personalization strategy as the message itself.
Ask yourself – what would it take to move from campaigns to conversations?
Customer experience is not static. The segment I fell into yesterday is not the one I’m in today or maybe even 30 minutes from now. An optimized experience blends everything you’ve learned about your customer over time with what they are doing NOW, in the channel, to arrive at the most relevant interaction for that moment. Forrester calls it “moments-based marketing“. Doing that at scale requires the right technology and real discipline around closing the loop on contacts and responses so that every channel can react and respond to what is happening in every other channel. In other words, the call center had better know what email just got opened and your next email had better reflect what just happened online.
Ask yourself: are you set up to learn and respond in real-time?
In conclusion, we can all agree that relevant, consistent and continuous customer experience is key to building strong, profitable relationships. However, success depends on the virtuous cycle of deep customer understanding, data-driven, relevant engagement, and the means to capture and leverage – in real-time- learning from each and every interaction. The Unica Marketing Platform was built for just this kind of end-to-end customer engagement. We’d welcome the opportunity to show you how we can enable your vision for excellent customer experience.
What is the experience I want to deliver?
Where are my biggest gaps?
My greatest opportunities?
Do I have the tools and skills to support that vision?
Am I getting the most out of the investments I’ve made?
1. “The more things change, the more they stay the same”