Marketers are increasingly feeling pressure to deliver rich consumer experiences with data-driven insights in order to drive brand growth and revenue. In a CMO Council global marketer survey, 91% of marketers said that there was an expectation by senior management and board members that marketers drive measurable growth, with one in three saying that their business leaders felt that driving measurable growth was the primary mandate of marketers today.
As the owners of CX strategies, marketers recognized the need to use data-driven insights that deliver measurable outcomes. However, getting this data in order often proved challenging. The CMO Council asked marketers to rate their organization’s overall access to customer data that is relevant to their function. According to the research, less than one in five felt relevant data was highly accessible, with 36% saying it was fairly accessible but lacked real-time capabilities and often required manual processes. Another 32% said data insights were hit or miss, with access varying wildly across functions and with little reliability to access.
The top 3 data-driven obstacles as stated by marketers included:
- Gaps in technology systems that fail to connect data into a single customer view
- Inaccessible data trapped in individual touchpoints and platforms
- Team lacks skills to fully unlock data and apply intelligence
However, today’s consumers expect sophisticated levels of personalization from brands. 61% of marketers say they own the overarching customer engagement strategy; 59% see themselves as visionaries for opportunities to innovate and better serve the customer; and 55% claim they’re collectors of critical intelligence about customers and their needs.
As ambassadors of CX strategies, keeping the customer first and foremost at the center of strategies has its own unique set of challenges.
Optimizing data-driven interactions requires the coaction of numerous data points to understand not only who they are on a demographic level but also what motivates them and drives them to purchase. Users are constantly interacting with brands across the purchase journey through in-person and digital channels and across multiples devices. They also interact with different departments depending on where they are in the journey such as talking to a salesperson in a physical store or calling the customer service department when they need a problem solved. All of this data hold valuable insights and marketers must be diligent to collect these insights and view the picture in its entirety.
How Do Consumers Respond to Great Experiences?
Consumers expect to be known to a brand whether they are engaging though a brand’s website, through email or calling customer service. When these interactions are integrated into a single customer view, personalized messaging can quickly follow. When brands do deliver, how do consumers respond?
The good news is that consumers are willing to spend more with a great experience. In fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
The more expensive the item, the more they are willing to pay, according to a research from PWC.
For example, customers are willing to pay a price premium of up to 13% (and as high as 18%) for luxury and indulgence services, simply by receiving a great customer experience.
Brands are also rewarded with more impulse purchases – 49% of buyers have made impulse buys after receiving a more personalized experience. (source)
What Types of Experiences are Consumers Seeking?
- Mobile is Key
Studies show that mobile experiences often are lacking in quality. According to Temkin Group, 60% of companies believed they were delivering a good mobile experience, however, only 22% of consumers felt the same.
- Expect Companies to Understand Their Needs
Salesforce conducted a survey of over 6,000 consumers and found that 76% of them expected companies to understand their needs and expectations. 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. 70% of customers say understanding how they use products and services is very important to winning their business. And 59% of customers say tailored engagement based on past interactions is very important to winning their business. Customers are 2.1x more likely to view personalized offers as important versus unimportant.
- Quality Customer Service
In a poll by Gallup, when it comes to memorable service people tell their friends about, it’s more important that the service provided feels “thorough” and friendly, rather than quick. In fact, the #1 reason customers would abandon a brand was due to poor quality and rude customer service.
- Connected Journeys
According to Salesforce, 70% of customers say connected processes such as seamless handoffs or contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions, are very important to winning their business. Customers are 3.7x more likely to view seamless transitions between channels as important versus unimportant.
- Consumers Seek Innovation
Salesforce’s research also revealed that 56% of customers actively seek to buy from the most innovative companies (that is, those that consistently introduce new products and services based on customer needs and new technology). 63% of customers expect companies to provide new products/services more frequently than ever before. 66% of customers say it takes more for a company to impress them with new products and services than ever before.
How Well Do Consumers Feel Brands are Delivering on CX?
Expectations are high and companies must deliver on all front, including marketing, sales, ecommerce, and service interactions. However, they must also prove that they have the customers’ best interests in mind.
However, about half of customers say most companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences.
The good news is that consumers are willing to share their data for personalized experiences. Sixty-one percent of millennials are happy to share personal data if it leads to a more personalized in-store or online shopping experience, while 58% will share personal data to power product recommendations that match their needs. Although the percentage is smaller for baby boomers and traditionalists, 41% are willing to share data for personalized shopping experiences.
Consumers have many options and customer experience is clearly top of mind in making a decision in which brands they choose to do business with. Consumers are willing to reward those companies who deliver, in terms of loyalty, repeat business, impulse purchases and referrals. CX is multi-faceted but the rewards are huge for those brands who take the time to implement strategies that put consumers at the heart of their business.
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