Today’s multichannel, multi-platform marketing world offers us more ways to connect with our prospects and customers than ever before. But there’s no question about it: This brave new world comes with a bigger element of risk, too. With different product lines, different venues, different channels and different audiences in the mix, it can be difficult to create a truly customized, seamless customer experience across the board.
That doesn’t mean customers don’t expect a great experience, though . . . and with so much competition out there, anything short of a “great” customer experience can have a significant negative impact on a company’s bottom line in a very short period of time.
Just how important has the customer experience become? Well, a recent consumer retail behavior study found that:
- 60 percent of global consumers said they would be willing to pay more for a product if the brand delivered a positive customer experience.
- For consumers in the U.S., that number expanded to nearly three-quarters (73 percent).
So what can a brand do to keep customers hooked?
1. Use data to develop a better, more customer-centric experience. Data-driven marketing is the way to deliver on your brand promises and to create more meaningful relationships with your customers. But the key is to use all your consumer data – online, offline, in-store and everything in-between –to achieve a 360-degree consumer view. Most marketers collect some data, but very few collect all the data available to them. If you’re interacting with your customers based on a limited number of data sources, you’re missing critical pieces of information . . . and that’s what leads to a fractured experience.
Here’s the ideal: You must be able to (and know best timing to) initiate a conversation, solicit and act on real-time feedback, build emotional relationships and provide personalized messaging that is both relevant and delivered “just in time.” To accomplish those goals, marketing and IT must work together to gather, analyze and act upon every bit of consumer data available, no matter where it originates or where it’s stored. Which brings us to…
2. Break down your internal silos. Delivering a customer-centric, data-driven experience begins with an unexpected partnership between marketing and IT: two entities that used to smile and nod at each other in the office hallway. Today, that relationship is paramount to your company’s success. Think of this collaboration as the perfect combination of science (i.e., IT’s wealth of data and subsequent analysis) and art (the marketer’s instinct with targeted customer messages and offerings).
3. Think “people,” not transactions. There are people – real, live human beings –behind all that data you’re collecting, and their interactions with your employees play a significant role in how they perceive your brand. Please remember: All the sophisticated data-driven marketing in the world can’t replace genuinely great customer care. And what happens if you get both working in your favor? Why, you may just become irresistible!
4. Create consistency across channels. If the customer service reps at the end of your phone lines don’t offer customers the same support information they receive via email, customers will be left wondering who is actually empowered to solve their problem. If your in-store pricing deviates from your online pricing, customers will be left wondering where to make their purchase. The right hand needs to know what the left hand is doing to create an integrated experience that makes sense.
5. Live your brand, online and off. What does that mean? Michelle at Tory Burch knows. The CEO of Brooks Brothers knows. Warby Parker and Bonobos know, too. Essentially, your customer experience needs to deliver on your brand attributes whether your customer is on the web or in your store. It also needs to hold up whether a customer is gushing over a new purchase… or seeking support for a product concern. Without that kind of consistency, it’s tough for customers to trust you . . . and without trust, you can’t build loyalty.
It all comes down to this: Leverage your data wisely, but don’t let it replace the “human touch.” A consistent customer experience trumps all, and the better you know your customer, the better your customer experience has the potential to be. Around Teradata, we like to say, “When you know more, you can do more.” That’s undeniably true . . . and once you’re guided by data-driven marketing, one of the first places you can start to “do more” is to mend any fractures in your customer experience.