“Customer Experience is at the top of every business’ priority list. It concerns the CEO to the CMO and even the CIO. Emerging technology, changing consumer needs and effective use of customer data are critical elements to ensuring your Customer Experience Strategy is as powerful as possible in a competitive and digital landscape.”
The increased pace of change.
Technological advances are unfolding at a vastly accelerated pace and it seems that not a day goes by without the next groundbreaking development emerging. What was groundbreaking yesterday is yesterday’s news today – I am being facetious but the reality is that the half-life of technology seems to shrink every year.
The challenge in all this from a Customer Experience perspective is to identify what is useful, relevant and desirable. The big wins being realized from this disruption happen when technology is humanized and made relevant to real people.
Abundance of customer data.
These days, brands are collecting vast amounts of data about customers, their interactions, buying preferences and behaviors, and more. Essentially, data can be collected in three ways:
- By asking customers for it directly (via profiles and preferences).
- By indirectly tracking customers (via interaction analytics).
- By connecting other data sources to our own (via third-party data providers).
Data collection on this scale, and the manipulation of the data collected represents a huge opportunity for the savvy disruptors to gain a competitive advantage and secure big wins over the competition.
Bear in mind, however, that in order to get the most from big data’s potential, it’s necessary to “translate” the information into actionable strategies that companies can use to grow sales, increase profitability and enhance Customer Experience. “Actionable” is key. If your translation is too complicated or doesn’t clearly demonstrate value, there’s a real danger it will be ignored.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
Most applications of AI for business lie in the AI subset of machine learning. Programmers have designed clever algorithms that can “learn” from previous results and shape outputs based on that accumulated knowledge. These capabilities are being leveraged today to detect patterns in customer data, behavior and needs which, in turn, enable enhanced customer experiences through hyper-personalization and responsive customer service.
However, AI still has a long way to go and a massive amount of disruption is still lurking somewhere down the road. If you consider machine learning as functioning on a single layer between input and output, deep learning (the future) will function across complicated cross-functional networks, multiplying its output capabilities exponentially.
While you might consider video as being yesterday’s disruptor, it deserves a special mention because not only has it turned the way we consume information on its head, there are serious downsides to not engaging with video.
A good example is how video relates to your business website – if you’re looking to get found in organic search that is. One of the metrics Google uses to determine the relevance of your website or web page is “dwell time”, which is how long a user spends on page. Video greatly enhances this metric.
Brands today can leverage video in old and new ways to enhance customer experience – old, but still good, as in step-by-step instructions on how to use your product or new as in a virtual reality video that allows you to test drive a car when you can’t go to a dealership.
The seamless omni-channel experience.
Regardless of whether you use Salesforce to manage customer support, SAP to manage orders and Riversand (Product Information Management or PIM software) to manage product information, your customers expect a seamless and unified customer experience that doesn’t require them to hop across systems/applications to do what they need to do. This implies integration across your enterprise.
This holds true regardless of how your customers choose to interact with your brand, be it via the web, a mobile device, social media, IVR, a call center, chat or any other available channel. A seamless omni-channel experience, with a strong and relevant brand presence at each stage of your customer’s journey, is key to delivering a superior customer experience, encouraging brand loyalty and maximizing customer satisfaction.
Seamless CX Spells Opportunity For Your Business.
Intelligent use of customer data and integrated digital experience platforms represent a serious opportunity for savvy businesses to outperform their competitors. A seamless omnichannel experience, with a strong and relevant brand presence at each stage of your customer’s journey, with the right message and functionality, delivers a superior and compelling CX that builds trust and relationships.