Does Your Customer Experience and Personalization Strategy Need A Tune-Up?
It’s not just a faux pas to engage with all customers in the same way; it’s downright dangerous. A cookie-cutter approach won’t win you many fans, though it will definitely lose you some, and it can make your brand appear more irrelevant than ever. Today, newer and more progressive brands not saddled with infrastructure challenges are delivering interesting and unique experiences, while less nimble legacy brands are struggling to meet this rising customer bar. With this reality in mind, there’s no better time to take a cold, hard look at your customer experience and personalization strategy.
To create a successful customer experience, you must re-think and re-imagine your communication and interaction with your customers across the customer's lifecycle, each customer’s journey, and in-between the customer’s interactions with your brand. When you have the right communication and the right interaction with your customers at the right time – your customers and your business win.
If you’re not sure how to hit these marks or if you’re struggling to determine which pieces of your CX strategy could use shoring up, focus first on standing up key customer capabilities and following through on these essential practices:
- Bring all of your data together to enable a single view of the customer. This single view is delivered by linking and synchronizing data from multiple sources across your organization. Assembling customer-level data allows you to study, analyze and predict behavior by developing customer attributes, models and a strategic segmentation. Once this framework is constructed, you can manage the health of your customer portfolio using segments and create personal communications and interactions with attributes and real-time data.
- Ensure that one customer ID is the single source of truth in your organization. This means that everyone across your business is working from the same integrated customer data so that you are maintaining one continuous conversation with a customer across multiple channels or devices. To do this, simplify account creations for your customers by using unique email addresses and/or mobile numbers that are accurate and functional for each customer, and not shared with other family members. This requires an investment in time and information technology infrastructure to ensure that your customers are immediately and consistently recognized at any point in their interaction with your brand. Companies known for delivering a meaningful and seamless customer experience all started with a well-designed customer identification process.
- Make it easy for customers to self-ID across every touch point when they engage with your brand. You can’t deliver a cohesive experience if you don’t know how and when your customers are interacting with your brand. This might be the least sexy, but one of the most important areas to focus on when thinking about a CX and personalization strategy. People won’t do things that are difficult, frustrating or take too much time. If customers have to jump through hoops to move forward, they’re just as likely to walk away in search of an easier and more satisfying experience elsewhere. You can be more progressive and innovative in all your digital and CX efforts when you take this fundamental step, so keep the information you ask for simple and straightforward.
- Pinpoint and prioritize the points in your customer’s journey that cause the most friction and that present the highest risk of customers straying from your brand. In other words, what are the relationship-breakers that have a direct impact on your revenue and bottom line? Your top customers, and likely your most valuable customers, will be impacted by these points of friction — so concentrate on the pain points with the greatest reach and impact on your brand. Some of these sore spots may be due to customer ID issues, others may involve the actual product or service you deliver or how you resolve your customers’ problems. It can’t be said enough: it costs more money to acquire new customers than it does to make the experience better for the ones that already love you.
- After you identify these points of friction, determine how these aspects of the customer journey are impacting your employees. It’s likely that employee pain points exist there too. If your employees aren’t equipped with the right customer information or the right tools to serve customers, their ability to deliver can be critically compromised. If you can resolve these points of conflict, this too will unlock better experiences for your customers. Employees that are given the tools and latitude to take care of customers are usually happier and more fulfilled. And happy employees more often equal happy customers!
These steps are not necessarily linear, but it’s critical to understand the connection points and the interdependencies across each. Once you’ve assessed where your organization is in each of these areas, you can begin to build a roadmap to become more customer centric. You’ll need martech partners to achieve some of this, but before you engage, be sure you are clear about the experiences and the interactions you want to deliver. Research tells us that brands continue to invest in customer experience and personalization, and rightly so. These investments are linked to a number of positive financial metrics for the organizations that are getting it right. Whether you’re focused on fine-tuning or major transformations in customer experience — take comfort knowing you’re in good company.
Lisa Brink is senior director, customer strategy at Elicit, an award-winning consultancy that helps clients transform the way they use customer and employee insight. Lisa serves as the bridge between analytics, research and the business teams, with a focus on translating customer knowledge into rich stories that lead to action. Before joining Elicit, Lisa was director of brand strategy and insights for Advance Auto Parts and previously director of consumer and brand insights at Best Buy. Elicit’s clients include Southwest Airlines, Fossil, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, and Pier 1 Imports.