Back in the day, customer experience (CX) was mostly about using good manners and trying to reduce friction in the sales process.
These days optimal customer experience is more of a science, and the technology companies that can help other businesses harness that power are coming out ahead. Today’s tools can make the management of customer relationships and processes much more measurable and strategic thanks to analytics that reduce workload and the huge breadth of available data reflecting customer preferences, characteristics and past behavior.
Such strategic marketing practices have become critical differentiators in many industries; in fact, nine of 10 business leaders recently surveyed identified customer experience as a critical element of their brand’s success. Further, research shows customers who become highly engaged with brands spend 300 percent more than the less engaged.
Some ways marketers are looking to optimize technology in their CX strategies:
- Aligning marketing, technology, products and services all toward what customers have been proven to want.
- Using all data at their disposal to determine primary customers and how they’re likely to react to different messaging.
- Creating interactions that are timely, consistent, relevant and highly targeted toward their preferences. “(Identity) means knowing what a customer wants and needs and where she is in her buyer journey,” advises Sands. “It means realizing the opportunities to improve the relationship by solving her problems, anticipating her needs or purely delighting her.”
- Determining how to best use rapidly evolving technology trends that could inform on data-gathering and messaging strategies, including AI, virtual reality and the IoT.
- Optimization for mobile. Pew Research indicates 91 percent of American adults now use mobile devices, opening the door for enormous real-time marketing opportunities.
- Extending their platforms with new tools that can enhance customer experience. An example is live chat, preferred over phone by 56 percent of Americans 18 to 34.
- Adding more self-service resources to their apps and website, making access to information fast, clear and simple for time-starved users. One study found 65 percent of consumers prefer to find info through online search rather than phone, live chat or email.
- Creating omnichannel customer support, encouraging customers to contact them by their preferred channels without losses of information between communications.
“This will be the year customer experience rises to the top of marketers’ priority lists,” predicts Mike Sands in MarTechToday. “(It’s) overtaking product and price as a brand’s key differentiator. People want rewarding experiences that deliver on their needs, exactly at the right moment.”