by Larisa Bedgood, V12
Personalized customer experiences are now at the center of all marketing initiatives. Brands are competing on customer experience and a recent Gartner survey shows that 81% of marketing leaders say they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of customer experience.
Consumers prefer to do business with brands that offer engaging and personalized experiences. They are also willing to pay more for these experiences:
- 73% of companies with above-average customer experience perform better financially than their competitors. Temkin Group | Qualtrics XM Institute
- A recent study shows that about two-thirds (65%) of respondents in the US feel that a positive experience with a brand is more influential than great advertising. Unfortunately, only half (49%) say that companies are providing a good customer experience today. PwC
- 87% of customers who say they had a great experience will make another purchase from the company, compared to 18% of customers who had a very poor experience. Temkin Group | Qualtrics XM Institute
- 59% of consumers who have experienced personalization say it has a noticeable impact on their purchasing. Infosys
- 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company. American Express
- 49% of American consumers switched companies last year due to poor customer service. New Voice Media
- Consumers are willing to spend 17% more on a company that has outstanding customer service. American Express
- 77% of customers would recommend a brand to a friend after having a single positive experience. Temkin Group
- 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service. HubSpot Research
- Businesses can grow revenues between 4% and 8% above their market when they prioritize better customer service experiences. Bain & Company
The Customer Experience Gap
Although many brands often feel they are delivering, cust0omers often don’t agree. Acquia found that 66% of respondents can’t remember the last time a brand exceeded their expectations, and 61% feel that brands which should know them, simply don’t, even at a basic level. However, 87% of marketers are confident that they are delivering a winning customer experience.
Challenges of Delivering Exceptional Experiences
Delivering a customer experience that delights and engages consumers requires technology, data and resources to deliver. CMOs agree – 13.4% of CMOs stated that their biggest challenge in delivering CX is having the necessary capabilities to design, deliver and monitor customer experiences.
Additional challenges include:
- 12.1% Determining the contribution of each touchpoint to the overall customer experience
- 11.2% Integrating touchpoints seamlessly along the customer journey
- 10.8% Mapping all elements of the customer journey
Customer Experiences are Driven by Data
To deliver engaging experiences, you need to know your customer, which requires data. Today, customer experiences should be rich exchanges between a brand and a consumer based on knowledge of who that customer is and insights into their likes and dislikes. Plenty of data exists to help brands know consumer at this level – it’ a matter of pulling the right insights and blending it into a cohesive customer view.
Start with Your CRM Data.
A company’s own first party data in their CRM systems is often the most valuable data to begin with. Through previous interactions with your company, your CRM can provide name and contact info, maybe basic demographics such as gender and age group, transactional history and insights into channel preferences.
Enhance with Third Party Insights.
Adding in additional data insights using third-party data enhancement can complete the picture. There may be missing or wrong contact details that can be corrected through a third-party vendor. Additional insights can also be added such as basic demographics on age, birthday, occupation, children in household, hobbies, or other areas of interest for your brand. Complete the picture with more real time information such as what types of products and services your customers and prospects are browsing online for, or what physical store locations they are visiting.
Technology to Help Brands Excel at Customer Experience
Brands must also invest in the right marketing technology to activate data and transform into meaningful engagements.
As we’ve already established, customer experiences depend on data – and a good experience is only as great as the data behind it. Consumers are interacting with your brand through numerous channels – email, social ads, customer service, point of purchase systems and so forth.
Marketers must ensure they are collecting and integrating this data in near real time to have a consistent view of customers as they move through the journey to purchase. Enhancing records with third-party insights should also be part of the real-time process.
Brands are increasingly centering customer experience around the customer and their journey. According to research by Pointillist, more than 87% of respondents say providing exceptional customer experience is very or extremely important to their business. Only 2% say it’s not so important.
Additionally, nine out of ten respondents in the survey say their organizations have adopted a journey-based approach to CX. About 80% say a journey-based strategy is of high importance to the overall success of a company, and has particular relevance to customer satisfaction, customer retention, and customer lifetime value. Only 3% of those who have not yet adopted a journey-based approach said it was due to not seeing the need or value of a journey-based approach.
In an age of Covid disruption, customer experience will also be a key component in determining which brands come out ahead. Consumers will gravitate towards those brands that are empathetic and who provide experiences to make their life easier such as contactless payment and curbside pickup through offline channels and consistent and amplified experiences as more consumers head online.