According to a Treasure Data and Forbes Insights study, 74% of consumers are at least somewhat likely to buy based on experience alone. It’s clear that consumers care about how their customer experience (CX) feels, not just what they buy or how much it costs.
The more we know about the current needs and preferences of our customers, the easier it is to create relevant customer experiences. The challenge is providing positive and profitable CX as tools continue to evolve and take on more and more complexity with every new technology. And, of course, new developments like the depreciation of third-party cookies, add another hurdle as we attempt to get to know and serve our customers.
The definition of customer experience (CX) isn’t complicated—it is the interaction a person has with your business at every touch point, from marketing to purchasing to ongoing customer service.
While the definition is simple, managing CX is anything but. Evolving customer expectations continue to change marketing best practices. Each CX at every touch point is a pass/fail test. You pass if your messaging, promotions, products and services line up with the consumer’s current needs and preferences. You fail if they don’t. Because customer journeys are omnichannel and constantly evolving, the chances to fail increase right along with the rewards for success.
The redefinition of CX is the shift in focus from brand-driven to customer-driven, adapting to your customers’ changing needs in real time. In order to gain and retain loyal customers, brands have to be able to gather and leverage customer data from all channels and make CX the heart of the business. Stephanie Thum, CX Consultant and Practitioner explains that:
“If you want a customer-centric company, then CX practices need to touch every corner of your business: Risk management, marketing, strategic planning, business process improvement, policy development, digital, etc.”
Changing your business to a customer-centric model also means redefining your customer experience management (CXM) strategies. The best CXM strategies are seamless, omnichannel, real-time, and data driven.
Relevant & Seamless: CX Expectations
Customers expect prompt, easy, and consistent service. They want interactions to be relevant and seamless no matter how they choose to contact the brand. If your website is clean and easy to navigate but your customer service is spotty and difficult to reach, people may take their business elsewhere. Customers are increasingly blending digital and in-store shopping and want it to be easy to jump from one to the other.
A seamless CX builds confidence and encourages additional customer engagement. To create and maintain seamless customer experiences, your business must collaborate and share data internally. Analysis of customer data can identify pain points and challenges that create friction for the customer.
Omnichannel: Everywhere, All the Time
Customers should be able to interact with your business through as many channels as possible. All businesses need to be reachable through mobile devices, desktops, email, chat, and more. All of this connectivity offers your customers easy access to purchasing and offers your business multiple ways to increase engagement and profitability.
For example, Muji, a global retailer, wanted to plan for growth beyond their existing 650+ store locations. They discovered that people browsing their website were looking for products to buy in-store. Unfortunately, Muji’s online and social campaigns weren’t reliably driving foot traffic to in-store locations.
To bridge this gap, Muji used a customer data platform (CDP) to integrate online browsing data with in-store purchases. The result was a mobile app with relevant and timely personal coupons and in-app push notifications. Using the mobile app in combination with highly targeted promotions led to a 100% increase in coupon redemptions across all store locations, higher volumes of in-store foot traffic, and a 46% increase in revenue over a two-year period.
Muji’s story highlights the true power of the right offer delivered at the right time. Consumers expect purchasing to be easy and nearly instantaneous, and businesses need to be agile and ready to meet customers where they are, when they want to buy. The only way to truly keep up with changing customer expectations is to have clear data profiles that can be updated in real-time.
A timely auto-generated coupon or push notification can increase sales. Current data about customers also avoids gaffs like offering a coupon for a product that the consumer just purchased.
Data Driven: What Do They Want?
CX data can also help analyze and improve your bottom line. Successful businesses are rolling out data-driven initiatives based on individual customer experiences. The paradigm shift from, “who wants my products?” to, “what products do you want?” can only be achieved through intense analysis of customer data.
Stephanie notes that, “You need both operational and experience data to power your business decisions. Operational data tells you what’s happening. Experience data can help you to understand why.”
Companies that provide excellent CX use insights gleaned from clean, comprehensive, near real-time data. A Customer Data Platform (CDP) can not only gather and unify this data, but it can also power analytics and insights that drive decision-making.
How a CDP Drives CX
To be relevant and profitable, businesses need to collect, unify, and analyze as much consumer data as possible. A CDP does the grunt work of stitching together different sources of data to create an actionable single source of truth. The right CDP gives you the tools to really know your customers as individuals and to use that data to create exceptional experiences.
CDPs store data about the entire customer journey and can automatically focus on the most profitable channels for any given customer. From preferences about communication to predictive modeling, CDPs keep up with marketplace and individual customer changes so brands can make the right choices at the right time.
Customers expect business to offer personally relevant CX at every touch point. To meet these demands, your business needs a single view of the customer that unites data from across the organization. CDPs create centralized, accurate, and relevant data streams that allow your business to redefine CX for your customers.