Today the customer experience is seen as the only source of sustainable competitive advantage as the effectiveness of traditional marketing continues to diminish in the face of new technologies, changing customer behavior, and rising customer expectations. But how effective are companies at leveraging this competitive advantage? Well, according to a new report ‘The Consumer Conversation’ from Econsultancy and IBM, many companies are quite pleased with themselves with 70% of companies stating that they deliver a good customer experience. But many brands might be prematurely celebrating the success of their customer experience initiatives. The report found that consumers that switched services in the last year did so for reasons companies should be able to prevent. Of the consumers that had a significant issue with their provider only 28% of them felt that the company dealt with the issue effectively. Furthermore, nearly one third of consumers that switched providers in the past 12 months cited experience related factors for their switch.
What can marketers do to bridge this gap between consumer and company perceptions regarding the customer experience?
Focus on the Voice of your Customer
A key takeaway from the report was the importance of customer data and the need for marketers to focus on analytics. 81 percent of brands say they have a working holistic view of their customers while interestingly, only 30 percent of consumers believe companies understand them. What’s missing? The Voice of the Customer. According to the report, over 50% of companies cited customer service history, demographics and online behavior as key components of a holistic customer view. But by not including the Voice of the Customer in a holistic view of the customer, companies are unable to fully understand the intent, needs, and experiences of their customers. By not engaging with customers to collect their feedback, companies are missing critical data that will help them understand the reasons behind their visitors’ behavior. Only by leveraging Voice of Customer data can marketers understand how their customer experience initiatives are performing.
Understand the customer lifecycle
A critical element of the customer experience is understanding the different stages of the customer lifecycle. With the traditional understanding of the customer journey turned on its head due to the digitalization of interactions, marketers must anticipate their customers’ intent, needs and experiences in order to make an impact. It is imperative to measure and manage customer lifecycle states to understand what is working and what needs to be improved from the customer’s perspective. That’s why at iperceptions, we designed frameworks to specifically understand the different stages of the digital customer lifecycle.
Customer data to personalize the experience
One way that brands can leverage customer data to improve the customer experience is through personalization. According to Digital Trends, 73 percent of customers say they prefer to do business with retailers who use customer data to make their shopping experience more relevant. Jeff Fuhrim from Adobe said that, “Highly personalized experiences perform better, compelling more visitors to sign up, subscribe, download, or buy.” One of the most effective ways to personalize the customer experience is through intent data. iperceptions is helping companies achieve this through our Active Recognition Technology that recognizes the intent and experiences of anonymous visitors in real-time. This data can be injected directly into dynamic Content Management Systems (CMS) to personalize the experience around the visitor’s goals. By focusing on a visitor’s purpose not their personally identifiable information, marketers can design a personalization flow around key visit types to ensure they are proactively meeting visitors’ needs.
Marketers are on the right track
Marketers are going in the right direction. According to the Econsultancy and IBM report, 88 percent of respondents agree that their company’s growth depends on personalization and better customer knowledge. As brands bridge the gap between the customer’s and their own perceptions around the experience, Voice of Customer data will play an essential role.