Positive customer experiences are crucial to helping your business recover from the pandemic — and grow for the future.
For most businesses, that is going to mean upgrading data and technology capabilities to engage your prospects and customers with the right experiences, at the right time.
In a world with covid uncertainty, disrupted supply chains and scarce labour are creating markets where supply struggles to meet demand in a timely basis. Marketing automation to trigger the right email and contact, is shifting from a “nice to have” to an absolute necessity.
Speeding past disruption and into growth mode is nothing new. We can start by taking a leaf out of history’s book. Forrester Research undertaken before and after the 2007-2009 recession is just as relevant now, showing that brands linked to a good customer experience (CX) dipped lower, but came out the other side faster and had better long term growth. In fact, according to the research, customer experience leaders had 3x higher returns for shareholders.
Getting CX right
Many companies in a broad number of sectors currently are being hit hard by supply-chain delays, the best companies are competently managing customer expectations.
The first step is for brands to understand what the modern customer wants. To develop deeper insights through empathy mapping, to understand the customer lifecycle and how people experience your brand and experience. Importantly, the need is to get the whole organisation on the same page, because once you are aligned internally, everything else falls into place more easily.
Once a customer journey map has been collaboratively established it allows you to seamlessly scale your operation as you grow. If I, as a customer, order something and it doesn't arrive as planned, even having the capability to be able to let me know about that is a good thing. These inflection points are called trigger points and technology enables you to address these at scale and in real time.
When you map a customer lifecycle or experience, you have a clearer idea of what journeys, comms or experiences will make the biggest business impact because of the impact they’ll have on the customer’s experience.
Planned content that's engaging and relevant to the purchaser or the customer segment is crucial.
All of this is driven by that most valuable of commodities – data. Armed with the right data, and understanding it, allows you to trigger conversations with customers and to plan engagement in advance. For example, when an item arrives in New Zealand, an email, message or notification should tell me my package is in the country.
While a good number of businesses are capturing data to optimise customer journeys, they also have to take the next step and come up to speed with the requisite infrastructure.
For example, minimum viable product experience could just consist of sending that message when the item gets to New Zealand. This could even be a manual process rather than having it automated and data driven.
Eventually, all businesses will need a solid process to highlight trigger points and prescribe associated customer expectations.
We need to upgrade business email capabilities, or bring customer experience experts inhouse with data and technology to wrap around existing data capture.
And it's always best to move away from manual processes.
Anyone for pizza?
Fast food shows the way. When you buy a pizza online, you’re sent a photo of the pizza for quality control, and you can see the little pizza guy graphic approaching on a bike. Uber Eats using Adobe Marketing Technology works the same way, managing expectations with live maps and messaging.
Allied with smarter use of data and technology, companies need to ensure privacy is front of mind, putting in place documented policies around to how they use personal data.
Gen X and Millennials are ageing and expecting a certain level of using data to help them, plus a level of use of AI to personalise their experience. This does, however, come with increased sensitivity to privacy.
Data use is also going through a transition. Apple is doubling down on privacy, hampering brands like Facebook from using data on iPhones. Technology won't work as it used to, and businesses will have to adapt.
How do you respond in a targeted and personalised manner?
We would suggest the simplest approach is sometimes the best: businesses could give new customers a form and keep a record to ensure they have explicit, recorded consent around marketing.
Upgrades to technology for handling data are important to write into any business plan, too.
Contemplating this new world environment shouldn't be so scary that it stops businesses from approaching change. The pathway can easily be broken down into small steps.
Test processes by installing new technology, getting it up and running, using data, figuring out how to personalise it, and grow digital maturity over time.
The most important part of change is the first step. Everything after that will be easier on the path towards an enhanced customer journey for many, many new clients.