4 Customer Experience Management Trends for Digital Marketers
Today's consumers are hard to nail down. They go from smartphone to tablet to laptop in the blink of an eye as they're bombarded with a dizzying array of brand messages. This dynamic has made it even more difficult for brands to forge meaningful connections with key audiences.
A customer's experience with a brand is an essential part of the business-consumer relationship. More than ever, consumers are looking for brands that can cut through the noise and deliver experiences that speak directly to their unique needs and preferences.
Brands are also being challenged to collect feedback from a variety of channels, ranging from comment cards to social media, and then use that data to achieve personalization, the ever-elusive brass ring in customer experience management (CEM).
Leading brands are leveraging technology to get usable customer feedback and achieve high approval ratings from their customers. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that no brand can afford to rest on its laurels. To stay at the top of their game, brands need to identify CEM trends and adjust their strategies accordingly.
Customer experience management trends
At Empathica, we're seeing four CEM trends that will shape brands’ ability to capture customer feedback and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
1. Omnichannel feedback: It's fairly common for brands to collect data and establish consumer connections through QR codes, text alerts, emails and other mediums. But a relatively small number of brands are maximizing the effectiveness of the data they collect because omnichannel feedback is treated separately, creating disjointed customer experiences and disconnected feedback insights. This year, many brands are improving the use of feedback by implementing technologies that track customers through the entire purchase experience and engage them appropriately across channels.
2. Unsolicited feedback: Survey data and unsolicited customer feedback are both important for improving customer experiences. Customer reviews on websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor empower consumers to make more informed buying decisions. For brands, online surveys and call-center data highlight areas for improvement. In the next year, more and more businesses will bring these two disparate sources of feedback together to enhance their ability to listen to their customers and address their concerns.
3. Increased focus on service quality: Today's consumers are increasingly demanding a higher level of service quality in addition to product quality. This shift is changing the way industry leaders approach CEM; it's forcing them to rediscover that effective selling requires attentive staff and a brand environment that makes customers feel healthier, happier and more attractive. This year, many brands will re-examine how they measure these feelings as well as the way they implement improvements to local customer experiences. After identifying the branded behaviors that support these feelings, businesses will either build on them through reinforcement and validation or change their behaviors to craft more effective customer experiences.
4. Big data personalization: Ninety percent of all of the data in the world has been created in the last two years. This explosion of data is expected to continue. The optimized use of "big data" (large and complex data sets) is a priority for many companies. But while big data itself may not be helpful for local managers of multiunit brands, big data insights can contribute to better customer experiences. Going forward, brands will leverage information gleaned from big data to offer research-based advice and coaching to unit operators, enabling local managers to combine big data learnings with personalized and relevant customer experiences.
Technology is transforming brand-to-customer relationships as customers are now constantly connected with their favorite businesses and other consumers through social media and mobile technologies. The challenge for brands is to learn how to adapt while maintaining open dialogs and transparency when relating to consumers in 2013 and beyond.
Bruce Warren is the vice president of marketing at Empathica. Bruce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.