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Posted on: August 25, 2020 | Posted by: Sona

Thought leadership interview series: Ashish Kumar, Gap

The Role of Data in Improving Your Customer Experience

In ZineOne’s Thought Leadership Interview series, we sit down with experts from across industries to discuss the latest movements and technologies transforming the customer experience.

Companies such as Uber have had a monumental impact on customer expectations. Uber can not only tap into proximity data to match riders with the closest drivers, but can also instantly serve up information on the driver’s name, car color, and model to make the rider’s experience more seamless. Such models have raised the bar for customer expectations from the enterprises they interact with, demanding 1:1 personalization delivered faster than ever before.

With this in mind, it’s important to consider how enterprises can more effectively utilize data to engage with their customers. That’s what Ashish Kumar, Digital Customer Experience and Commerce of Gap, covered when he sat down with Debjani Deb, CEO and Co-founder of ZineOne, to discuss the increasingly important role of data in mapping the customer genome. Kumar brings forth extensive knowledge from his tenure at Wynn Resorts, Kohl’s and now Gap, to talk about:

  • How B2C marketers use customer data
  • Predicting in-the-moment behavior of a visitor
  • Strategizing for omnichannel personalized engagement

Holistic View: Creating a 360° Picture of Every Customer

Enterprises collect customer data from a myriad of sources. This data, both structured and unstructured, provides critical insight into consumers’ historical actions, which can be used to inform future outreach. However, making this information actionable through data mining can prove challenging for enterprises handling large quantities of data. While there are multiple schools of thought on establishing a customer data platform (CDP) to unify siloed data versus using an API layer and allowing data to reside in different places, it is often more apt for an enterprise to first evaluate its position today. This allows the enterprise to more accurately determine which approach will create a 360°view of its customers that will sustain it for years down the line—even if it takes time to get started initially. 

Ongoing View: Maintaining the Integrity of Customer Data

An enterprise’s job is not complete once it has compiled its historical data into a 360° view of each customer. Rather, enterprises must be diligent in maintaining customer views, ensuring individual profiles are updated on an ongoing basis as new data points come in. For instance, when working for Wynn resort, Kumar maintained customer data by using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) through Alexa to allow customers to tap into self-assistance directly from their rooms. This not only served as an additional channel to collect customer data but also allowed Wynn to meet customers expectations through instant self-service.

Contextual View: Understanding a Customer’s Real-Time Intention

While historical behavior provides an important indicator of how a customer may interact with a brand in the future, data from days past cannot tell the full story of today. As such, enterprises require the ability to react in-the-moment to customer behavior in order to create meaningful outcomes. Doing so can take many forms—from in-session offers to suggest related items, to offering free shipping for a certain dollar amount—but must be paired with a 360° view of customer’s historical and environmental context in order to deliver the most optimal experience. Additionally, data from across channels should be incorporated to ensure frictionless, omnichannel engagement.

Regardless of industry, optimizing the customer journey requires enterprises to utilize data to personalize every customer interaction. Through the use of technology, enterprises can more accurately predict and tailor experiences based on customer motivation to deliver an experience informed by both historical and contextual insights. 

Interested in learning more? Check out the full interview with Ashish Kumar to learn firsthand how data can be used to improve the customer experience.

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