In the age of the empowered customer, you need your customers more than they need you. Consumers have more options than ever before and access to more products on more channels. Creating loyal brand advocates is no longer a matter of competing on price or product features. More so than ever before, customer experience is the new currency driving loyalty in 2015.

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While the term “customer experience” or CX is at the top of mind for every marketer, Harley Manning of Forrester Research summed it up best when he stated:

“Customer experience is the new battleground for companies that can no longer win customer loyalty based exclusively on product features (too easy to copy), selection (‘I can always find an alternative product or service online’), or price (‘At any given moment I can almost certainly find a lower price’).”

According to Gartner, as customer expectations continue to grow, analysts predict that as much as 50 percent of product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations by 2017.

The payoff for these investments is well worth the effort. Customers are more likely to be loyal to companies that provide these positive customer experiences.

According to Oracle Corp:

  • 81% – customers are willing to pay more for a superior customer experience.
  • 89% – customers switched brands after a poor customer experience.
  • 20% – annual percentage revenue losses due to poor customer experiences.

Here are some sure-fire ways to gain more wins on the customer experience battleground:

Offer Personalized Experiences:
Today’s consumers are inundated with mass marketing messages that have no relevance and are quickly forgotten. The messages consumers are most apt to remember are ones that are highly personalized, delivered through the channels they most prefer, and at the time of their choosing.  Delivering these personalized experiences begins with a well-integrated marketing database to derive a comprehensive view of you customers, their preferences, and what drives their behaviors.

Utilize Social Media Channels:
Consumers are actively seeking to engage in conversations with their favorite brands through social media sites.  Providing exceptional customer service is a key component to creating a positive customer experience. According to a study from NM Incite, nearly half (47%) of U.S. social media users today actively seek customer service through social media. Prompt attention to customer complaints, questions or comments on social sites provides a great opportunity to build better customer relationships with social followers.

Use Data to Improve Your Multi-Channel Marketing:
Consumers seek seamless and consistent interactions as they interact with their favorite brands across multiple channels.  Positive experiences across several channels greatly enhance brand loyalty and improve the customer relationship. Multi-channel consumers spend 82% more per transaction than a customer who only shops in store, according to business advisory firm, Deloitte.

Reward with Loyalty Marketing:
The concept of loyalty programs is not new.  Airlines have been using them for years.  These programs are purchase-based, rewarding points, freebies, or other incentives for purchasing. According to FiveStars, a company’s most loyal customers spend 10 times more than new ones. Consumers who sign up for loyalty programs want to hear from companies. FiveStars cited that 65% of a company’s most loyal customers want to receive coupons and promotions on a regular basis. However, customers do not want to receive every offer on the table. By analyzing customer profiles and channel preferences, marketers can deliver highly targeted offers on a regular basis.

Analyze to Improve:
Implementing a strategy to improve customer experience is a great start. However, organizations must continually monitor customer engagements to determine if customer experience goals are being met. Customer feedback is important, and should be utilized to evaluate interactions and make any necessary changes and improvements. Valuable tools include surveys, focus groups and text analytics.

Successfully analyzing the success of a customer experience strategy involves:

  • Integrated Data – All data sources must be properly integrated and cleansed to create a single version of the customer experience journey.
  • Measurable Analytics – Establish measurable customer experience goals and correlating metrics. For example, a goal may be to increase on-line purchases by x% among most-profitable customer segments through a loyalty marketing program.
  • Improve – If results are not meeting goals, develop approaches to refine and optimize strategies. The pace of business is continuously changing and moving – the same is true for your

In today’s age of the knowledge-driven consumer, companies must be committed to truly knowing and understanding their customers.  By integrating data across multiple channels to create well-developed customer profiles, companies can find smarter ways to meet increasing customer expectations. Every customer interaction is an opportunity to strengthen customer loyalty, reduce churn, and boost revenues.  The customer experience is truly a critical differentiator in today’s competitive economy.

For more great tips on how to enhance the customer experience, download DataMentors’ Customer Intelligence Solution Guide.

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