By Manish Dudharejia, President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc

According to Salesforce’s latest State of Marketing Report, nearly 68% of companies are competing in the market on the basis of customer experience (CX). Gartner predicts that in the next few years, 81% of businesses expect CX to be the baseline for competition within their field.

As CX plays a key role in both the decision to purchase from a company and the decision to come back, brands across B2B and B2C industries cannot afford to cut any corners in making theirs great.

Teams today have access to more customer information than ever before, and thanks to developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, that information is more accurate than ever before.

So, why are so many teams falling short when it comes to CX?

Let’s take a closer look.

 

What Really Is Customer Experience? 

To answer this question, we must first understand why CX is such a big deal.

It’s often defined as the accumulation of interactions with a brand throughout the buyer’s journey — from start to finish. If their experience is positive, they are likely to turn into a customer. However, if there is even a small hiccup along the journey, it may be enough to get them running for the hills  — or worse  — to a competitor. According to a survey of 2,538 consumers across India, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines conducted by Fifth Quadrant, 7 out of 10 customers would switch brands just after one bad experience.

With the majority of the buyer’s journey taking place digitally these days, it leaves businesses with little room for error. One common misconception is that CX is just an extension of customer service. This is simply not true.

Although these departments have some overlap within the realm of customer satisfaction, CX is really all about creating a positive sequence of experiences along the customer journey, delighting customers at each step along the way.

 

What’s Wrong with the Customer Experience?

Unfortunately, most businesses simply aren’t measuring up to customer expectations. Only 23% of marketers say they are satisfied with their CX efforts and their ability to transform customer data into positive experiences.

In fact, many marketing teams blame budgeting constraints, insufficient internal resources, and the lack of technical know-how as the biggest obstacles standing in the way of delivering a better overall CX.

 

customer experience issues

Source: Salesforce 

 

However, the true issue is not really tied to money or technology. It’s more so the fact that marketers have lost focus on what is truly important: the customer.

There is so much pressure in the marketing world today to be the best, the most innovative, or the most creative. Every day, companies try out new strategies or share their “secrets” on how to boost conversions with a few simple tweaks.

The problem is that these strategies often times have absolutely nothing to do with the customer.

Marketers are so concerned with creating a database of customer data — for accurate forecasting and stronger targeting — that they have forgotten how to surprise and delight people.

Consumers don’t get excited about seeing the same ads from the same business over and over again; they are, however, pleasantly surprised when a brand customises their content to match up with their interests.

In fact, according to Accenture’s 2018 Personalisation Pulse Check report, 91% of shoppers agree they are more likely to buy from brands that provide personalised recommendations or relevant offers based on their data.

 

What is the Solution? 

Data is a necessary ingredient for understanding customers on a personal level and creating a strong CX. Without access to information about preferences, demographics, and behaviours, delivering a stellar experience to new and existing customers becomes a complete guessing game and offering things like personalisation and targeted recommendations is nearly impossible.

 

 

Brands must find the connection between data and the customer themselves to create a great CX that revolves around individualised information. By creating the Internet of Customers (IOC), personalising content and the CX for each client is not only easier, it can be entirely automated and far more effective.

If brands want to create truly personalised customer experiences with every interaction, they will need loads of accurate data to support their strategies. Data collection solutions coupled with real time analytics ensures that the information your team uses is fresh and accurate, plus it also allows you to incorporate this seamlessly into your website and other brand channels for a highly integrated CX.

To give you an idea, if no information about a customer’s previous conversations are kept on file, sales representatives, marketers, or customer service agents will have no idea how to properly accommodate them without asking a repetitive series of questions.

With a fully-integrated CX platform in place, brands make it possible for customers to enter in information only once. Each interaction from that point forward is logged, recorded, and analyzed for future use on any number of channels. For example, customers may receive an email down the road offering a special promotion or product recommendation based on past purchasing or behaviour history.

As you can see, by integrating systems in a more customer-focused way, brands can ensure that each step along their buyer’s journey is smooth and effortless while also being able to provide customized and personalised experiences that ultimately drive loyalty over time.

 

Conclusion

In today’s hyper-connected world, a brand is much more than just a name and a logo. Thanks to digital and social media, people are able to build real connections with brands in ways that were never possible before.

Brands must be ready to build these relationships as well and leverage actionable data and knowledge about customers to create better, more personalized experiences along the customer journey. Doing so can help brands take their CX to the next level in a big way.

Article first appeared on the Salesforce Blog.

Lava is an authorised Salesforce Partner in Malaysia and has more than a decade of experience in cloud solutions which includes marketing automation, CRM implementation, change management, and consultation. We pride ourselves in not just being a CRM partner but in also understanding the needs of our customers and taking their business to the next level.

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