Today, almost every major industry is in the midst of a digital transformation. From retail to hospitality to finance, much of these digital efforts are being driven by a common goal that transcends any one sector: enhance customer experience across all touchpoints and deepen engagement with each and every customer.
The enterprises that succeed in this data-driven endeavor will increase customer loyalty and retention, and in turn, increase their revenue. However, achieving this goal is easier said than done. Recent consumer and technology trends are building up enough tectonic force to cause a seismic shift in the way customers interact with brands—and only companies that strategically leverage digital transformation to take advantage of these developments will come out on top.
A simultaneous shift in corporate marketing strategies, digital technologies, and consumer preferences has caused enterprises to seek a new approach for optimizing customer experience and engagement. This shift is being driven by forces such as:
Increasing Focus on Mid-Funnel Marketing versus Customer Acquisition
It’s a well-known fact that it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. It’s no surprise, then, that enterprises are seeking out ways to win repeat business. Studies show that by engaging customers with personalized, relevant communications and experiences that instill a sense of belonging and brand familiarity, companies can build loyalty and drive revenue growth of 10%-30%.Effectively engaging existing customers, though, requires more data to drive a deeper understanding of each individual and what action to take next. It is easy to turn off a customer by offering them a product they already bought; but, if the brand can build off this knowledge of past purchases – as well as how often and when the customer buys, and what product categories they always or never buy from – they can deliver relevant offers that inspire additional purchases and even new buying behaviors.
Changing Customer Expectations: “Personalize it for me!”
Customer-centric brands like Amazon and Uber are redefining brand-to-user interactions with engagement that is highly personalized and strategically individualized. Customers—particularly those of younger generations—now demand to be understood and engaged by brands authentically, in ways that are meaningful and relevant to their needs and desires. In fact, 86% of consumers say personalization has at least some impact on their purchasing decision, and 1/3 say they want more personalized shopping experiences.While this means that brands need to go the extra mile to get to know their customers, it also means that they need to be much more aware of the context in which they are delivering experiences. Targeting a customer with recommendations based on a single piece of insight – for example, what he or she recently searched on the website – will not optimize relevance to the customer, because those recommendations do not account for other factors – like the customer’s location, past purchases, etc. – that impact decision-making. It could actually have a negative impact if the customer feels those recommendation are not fully aligned with his or her needs (“You are offering me a discount for in-store pickup in San Diego, but I’m actually currently in Chicago on business!”). Brands need a full “in the moment” picture of the customer to truly understand intent and reach out with the most relevant and useful information at just the right time.
The Need for Connected Experiences Across Growing Touchpoints
Consumers today have a plethora of ways to interface with brands, not just in stores or branches but also via websites, mobile apps, SMS messages, emails, phone calls, chat bots, and more. And, they expect their personal information and historical transaction data to be consistent across all channels so that they can enjoy a seamless experience from one touchpoint to the next. Personalizing just one channel just isn’t enough.This requires enterprises to the overcome overwhelming amounts of siloed customer data—across channels as well as in disparate enterprise systems—that currently hinders their ability to attain a unified view of each customer. Each channel needs to share access to customer profiles, preferences, past transaction data, and real-time information on current interactions, wherever they are taking place, to ensure they are all equipped with the most up-to-date intelligence on each customer.
Move Toward Real-Time Marketing versus Batch Only While having cohesive knowledge of customers is crucial for meaningful engagement, timing is just as critical for taking engagement to the next level. In today’s hyper-online world, the traditional method of deploying emails, SMS, push notifications, or calls after analyzing batch-processed data — which only reach customers once they have left the brand’s digital property—is simply not attuned to the current digital ecosystem. Businesses now recognize the need to deploy immediate, contextual, and real-time interactions across devices and channels in order to meet customers where they are, and when their probability of an action or transaction is highest. Indeed, the proliferation of customer engagement channels has led to excessive spending on the part of enterprises. After investing millions in separate analytics, marketing, and data management tools – many of which have been jerry-rigged to work together for the sake of cross-channel experiences – enterprises are still often left with disjointed customer experiences. True digital transformation requires a comprehensive solution for agile and intelligent engagement that can scale and resonates with every customer across all touchpoints.
The bottom line?Brands need a single solution for real-time, cross-channel personalized customer engagement that drives ongoing customer loyalty and increased revenue.