Data is fast becoming a valuable part of business strategy. It gives companies the information they need to analyze trends, decipher customer expectations, and discover exciting new opportunities for growth. These “insight-driven businesses” (a term adopted by Forrester) are growing by more than 30% annunally and this is just the beginning. Predictions from Walker Info indicate that by 2020, 86% of customers will consider customer experience to be the most important factor in their purchasing decisions.
Consumers no longer have the luxury of time to peruse shopping aisles and this has forced many retailers to shut up shop in recent years. These customers are turning to online shopping instead and they have begun to expect a more personalized and unique shopping experience that is tailored to their individual preferences and lifestyles. This shift has been in motion for a while, but the fact that many retailers have been slow to respond has resulted in the closure of circa 7,000 stores from the impact of online shopping in 2017 alone.
Now, in 2019, it’s absolutely essential for retailers to focus on improving their digital retail approach in order to enhance customer experiences. This particularly applies to larger retailers who are stuck between a rock and a hard place due to the higher expectations customers have of them in comparison to the fact that niche retailers often find it much easier to provide these sought-after personalized shopping experiences.
A survey by data marketing company Segment surveyed over 200 shoppers and found that this personalisation can result in higher revenues and an increase in customer loyalty (44% of customers said they would shop with that retailer again in the future). In fact, in an Accenture study, 82% of customers who have switched loyalties and moved to a new retailer said that a better customer experience would have prevented them from making the switch. A lack of focus on providing these personalized experiences has been one of the main instigators of the department store shutdowns across the US in recent years.
The Shift to Data-Driven Experiences is Easier Than You Think
The technological changes involved in changing your approach to data are pretty straightforward, albeit time consuming. It’s all about shifting your business mindset and processes to make the most out of the data you have.
The amount of data available to businesses today can be overwhelming and many companies find it daunting to extract valuable customer insights from a data stream that never seems to end. One of the main issues causing this is the silo epidemic that’s ever present in large companies across the world. Sales, marketing, and customer service departments often work off different CRMs and it is impossible for employees to collaborate with a focus on the customer, which is essential to create an optimal data powered experience. When you take into consideration the fact that these departments often don’t even know each other personally, the problematic nature of this knowledge gap becomes even more evident. This leads to an inconsistent and disconnected customer experience that does nothing to encourage customer confidence in the business.
This lack of communication results in very little customer insight and a whole lot of unnecessary noise that marketers struggle to organize into valuable information. What usually happens to this collection of data is that it’s sifted through on an ad-hoc basis which again provides little consistency in addition to insufficient growth in the business.
The key to solving this situation is to take a new approach to the data and marketing strategy within your business. Data is useless to your business unless you know what to do with it. Finding and utilizing the correct data, organizing it, and making it available to everyone who needs it within your business will allow you to engage with customers on a much deeper level than you ever have.
This educated information should encourage websites to move towards a more tailored experience that responds directly to an individual rather than simply a persona. A data management platform is useful in this instance to help to make sense of the data noise at your fingertips. This can organize your data to show which parts of your customer experience need the most attention.
Customer Experience = How a Customer Interacts with a Brand or Business at Every Touchpoint
The correct usage of analytics and data is empowering businesses to take a new, engaged, and more educated approach to delivering an optimal customer experience.
Each touchpoint provides an opportunity to impress and fulfil the needs of your customer, and once you have a data profile of your customer you have all of the information needed to do so.
Touchpoints include any way that someone can engage with your business or brand, such as websites, commercials, online advertisements, email, social media, support calls, store visits, and purchasing a product to use. This is where you can evaluate how effective your content offers, email campaigns, and CTOs are so that you can then customize them to the needs of each customer. It’s also a great way to see how your customers usually interact with your business, i.e. via mobile apps or web.
The first thing your customer will think about before even thinking about your product is the experience you offer to them. It doesn’t matter how great your product or pricing is if you deliver a bad experience as this will stop people from turning into customers. The good news is that creating a data-driven customer experience will enable you to adapt to the changing preferences of each of your individual customers. The right data will help you to refine your customer experience, UX, analytics, and data to help you maintain and acquire profitable customers.
Never Stop Refining Your Strategy
Your data-driven customer experience strategy should be regularly refined every time you collect significant data via these touchpoints. Utilizing this data will help you to adapt to new trends quickly and stay on track with the evolving preferences and behaviors of your customers so that you stay ahead of your competitors.
Once you’ve gathered enough data, you can delve deep into the relationships between the different behavior patterns of your customers which will then become a key factor in your marketing efforts. This data can then help you to create an even better customer persona that is based on the actions of your customers instead of assumptions about what they want. This will enable you to provide suggestions of other products they may be interested in as a result of their previous purchases.
The success of your company ultimately depends on how well you know your customers, and retrieving the right data is the key to gaining that knowledge. Improving your customer experience will make your business smarter, more agile, and equip it with the information it needs to survive in this rapidly changing data-driven environment.