The customer has changed. She is always on, always connected, and moves across channels and devices seamlessly. Most importantly, she is in control of the buying process. She educates herself on how to solve her problems, gets feedback on vendors from her network, and by the time she reaches out to a vendor, she is very deep in the buying process..
In a world where the customer is inundated with information and has very little attention, marketers must rethink how to make their brands relevant to their customers.
Customer experience (CX) is a strategic differentiator. The results of differentiating on customer experience are tangible. "CX leaders enjoy a 35% higher return than the S&P 500" (Source: 2015 Watermark Consulting study). And, firms that lag behind in customer experience, take a 45-point hit compared to the market average.
This simply exemplifies the importance of the customer experience. For B2B companies, delivering a great customer experience requires a holistic approach that involves research, strategy, and technology working in concert across channels and devices.
This process can seem intimidating. Quite often marketers struggle with 'from where to start'. So, I’ve outlined 6 principles of delivering great Customer Experience to serve as a guide:
Great customer experiences start with a maniacal focus on the customer. We must seek to identify and segment customers, and capture their customer journeys. These journeys identify how a customer buys – what she is thinking, feeling and doing – as she's on a purchase journey through engagement, retention and advocacy..
Your marketing technology – CMS, Marketing Automation, Social Media, CRM and Analytics – must work in symphony to engage the customer. Alone, each of these components represents a major and a powerful piece of the customer experience. But, together, they represent a robust and effective CX strategy.
Many companies have mastered one or two of these functions, but the ones that commit fully to delivering an exceptional experience are the companies that create a seamless and effortless marketing and sales process throughout the customer experience, leveraging every opportunity to maximize value and increase engagement.
An integrated CX platform provides a single view of the customer, through which marketers can gather insights to orchestrate experiences wherever the customer is.
The bedrock of delivering an exceptional customer experience is a combination of data and insight – great personalized experiences are data driven.
For other pieces to come together, you need to weave a layer of data through every activity that follows customers across channels and allows you to provide contextual content while offering it as and when it makes sense.
With an integrated marketing technology ecosystem, it’s easier to capture a single view of the customer. You must capture and integrate data from your website, email platforms, social platforms into a single view that allows you to identify users across channels and devices. This view must then be used not only for customer behavior and marketing insights, but to orchestrate personalized cross-channel content and promotions.
There are many options to store a single view of the customer; there is no one right way. Leveraging capabilities such as Data Management Platforms, Tag Management, Master Data Management, and analytics tools allow you to store all your customer data in a single location.
Contextual experiences leverage customer data and insight to meet them at the exact point where they have a need -- to deliver the right message at the right time, without the customer even needing to ask. These experiences are enabled by data and delivered through personalization across all channels.
There are four steps essential to contextual experiences:
To know and segment your customer, you must identify the right type of customer and understand their customer journey. By capturing the customer journey, you capture context about the customer using a combination of approaches:
Once you know your customer, your technology must allow you to create personalized messages for customers depending on their context.
In a complex world, brands who simplify experiences for their customers win. Customers disengage from complex experiences.
Simplicity doesn't stop with the customer. If a marketer's experience is complex and poor, the customer’s experience breaks. Your team must be enabled with easy to use self-service platforms to deliver experiences at scale without much technical intervention. Technology should be easy to use.
These 6 simple principles should be the bedrock of your strategy. By bringing these into use, you can select technology that fits your goals and create a roadmap that executes your vision.