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The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic was the ‘moment that everything changed’ for business. Delivering an excellent digital customer experience is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s essential for business health. Today, personalization lies at the heart of every excellent experience. That requires data and lots of it. There is a wide range of digital customer experience management tools are available. How can they harness customer data and what benefits does this offer your?
What is digital customer experience?
Digital customer experience refers to all interactions that a customer has with your organization that are powered by digital solutions. These can include your web site, social media, mobile, email, live chat, IOT and wearable devices, kiosks, call centers, and physical locations The goal is to focus on refining those experiences and, more precisely, on your customers’ perception of the experiences that they receive from you.
When customers believe they receive a great experience, 86% will pay more – PWC reported up to 18% more. Conversely, 58% of customers say they will switch companies due to poor customer service. The best digital customer experiences are timely, context-driven, personalized and available across whatever channels customers desire.
How you interact and engage with a customer in service and support is just as important as your sales and marketing. The ideal is an end-to-end approach that covers the entire customer journey.
Get your digital customer experience strategy correct and you can look forward to a possible increase of over 300% in the lifetime value of your customers.
Key capabilities for digital customer experience tools
Digital customer experience tools must be able to deliver effective and consistent engagement and experience throughout the customer lifecycle. Most large organizations often end up with an ecosystem of applications and systems. Today, digital experience platforms are emerging, which tie these tools (and others) into an integrated, comprehensive package. The ability of all these solutions to interoperate and pass data back and forth leads to better personalization, more efficiency, and a more consistent customer journey.
Key capabilities of these platforms include:
- Context-driven experiences based on how customers interact with your digital touchpoints
- Personalized experiences based on customer behaviors, purchase history, location, and other factors
- End-to-end customer engagement
- Communicating with each customer at a time and on a device that’s right for them
- Effectively managing and storing information in any format to deliver rich, interactive customer experiences
- Identifying passive or unhappy customers and aiding the development of cost-effective campaigns to increase their value to the organization
Personalization relies on quality data
The foundation stone of great digital customer experience management is personalization. It is rapidly becoming an essential element for successful customer acquisition, satisfaction and retention, as well as increased lifetime value. Forbes reports that 91% of people say they are more likely to purchase from brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them, while 72% of consumers say they will only engage with personalized messaging.
Building personalization into your digital customer experience strategy requires data – and lots and lots of it. When first- and third-party sources are collated and reporting their insights to sales, marketing, CRM, support and other enterprise tools, more relevant customer experiences can be created along the entire customer journey. The ideal messaging can be individually tailored and targeted for each step.
Third party data sources are becoming less available as customers prefer to take greater control of their data and governments legislate to provide much greater privacy protection. For example, we’re recently seen industry giants, including Google and Apple, take moves that significantly reduce the value of using third-party data to feed your digital customer experience tools.
However, these developments may not be as challenging to your digital customer experience strategy as they first appear. McKinsey points out that excellent customer experience is actually driven by first party data – that information supplied to you, under permission, from you own customers.
McKinsey says: “Highly personalized customer experiences, when offered to millions of individual customers by using proprietary data, are difficult for competitors to imitate. When executed well, such experiences enable businesses not only to differentiate themselves but also to gain a sustainable competitive advantage.”
To help achieve personalization using customer data, some of the leading digital experience solutions are beginning to include integrated customer data platforms. This allows your digital customer experience management program to bring together all customer information to create personalized experiences at every touchpoint. This customer data can be used with digital customer experience analytics to deliver more targeted and effective communication and engagement.
The benefits of digital customer experience management
An effective digital customer experience strategy, that fully exploits customer data to drive personalization, can reap significant business benefits, including:
1. Deliver a ‘single source of the truth’ for each customer
All too often, organizations find themselves with literally hundreds or thousands of customer-facing systems that span different departments and the entire customer journey. These often form silos of customer information that inhibit collation or sharing. Worse, customers can be forced to provide their information again in each interaction with a new team or a team can be armed with inaccurate information, leading to a greatly reduced digital customer experience.
Modern digital experience platforms let you create a ‘single source of truth’ for customer profiles that breaks down siloes and allows information to flow between solutions and teams along the customer journey. This allows you to design experiences relevant to each individual customer at every touchpoint.
2. Create dynamic customer profiles
Your digital customer experience strategy is constructed around making your customers feel like you understand them and their needs, providing content they care about, and anticipating what they want next.
Once you’ve created a single source of truth for each customer, you can build a dynamic customer profile that will follow each individual customer as they pass from department to department along their journey with your organization. The profile alters in real time as your customer engages with you. This allows for digital customer experiences that evolve instantaneously as additional information on the customer becomes available.
3. Achieve personalization at scale
To fully benefit, you must be able to achieve personalization at scale. According to McKinsey, organizations that can personalize interactions with all or large segments of their customers often see a 2% or more lift in total sales. This requires more than just the ability to capture and collate customer data from any number of sources, it involves the ability to apply AI and machine learning to that data. Your digital customer experience management tools must be able to handle massive data sets to turn the information into insights into every customer.
4. Improve experience across the customer lifecycle
Digital customer experience is often seen as primarily the province of your marketing team, but it extends far beyond your sales and marketing functions. Every customer facing function can benefit from an enterprise-wide digital customer experience program that uses customer data to inform engagement and decisions along the customer journey. This means not only having access to up-to-the-minute, accurate customer data within your digital experience platform but also full integration with other related systems such as content management, customer journey matching, and customer relationship management (CRM) and, even, ERP.
5. Improve governance of customer data
Regulations like GDPR and CCPA have set a very high bar for the protection of personal data and more legislation is on the horizon. This means that companies have to be very careful of how they capture, store, manage, and distribute customer data. Having such data held within siloes across the organization now represents an unacceptable risk.
Types of digital customer experience services
It’s clear that there are many moving parts to great customer experience, especially in the digital realm. What’s more, new digital customer experience technologies are appearing all the time that offer the potential to increase the breadth and depth of your customer relationships. This is creating a complex environment that can be difficult for even the largest organization to navigate.
Organizations are increasingly turning to best-of-breed digital experience companies that can deliver innovative and powerful services to build outstanding customer experiences and facilitate frictionless customer journeys. Providers offer many types of digital customer experience service and the partner you choose will depend on which meets your exact business requirements.