June 21, 2016 | Written by: Stephen Monaco
Categorized: Customer Analytics
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The results from a recent study conducted by Econsultancy in association with IBM revealed 76% of consumers expect companies to understand their individual needs while 81% demand faster response times.
Digital transformation is required to deliver on these customer experiences. Unfortunately, over 80% of companies lack the digital readiness, according to a recent report by Harvard Business Review.
What’s more, Gartner found that 89% of companies expect to compete on the basis of customer experience.
Exceptional customer experiences as a competitive advantage
Most companies have a lot of catching up to do and some won’t survive, merely maintaining the status quo while the world changes around them. Digital Darwinism is unkind to companies that don’t adapt and evolve.
However, other companies like Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Starbucks, Netflix, Costco,
Coca-Cola and Chick-fil-A have made exceptional customer experiences their competitive advantage and become some of America’s favorite brands. Loyal customers have affinities for these brands on par with their favorite sports teams and music groups. So, how do they do it?
Customer-centricity is crucial
These companies are obsessive about their customers and have developed customer-first mindsets throughout their organizations. They are customer-centric, placing customers at the very center of their organizations.
It’s crucial for company leaders to understand the implications of how digital has dramatically changed customer behavior. This shift should drive decisions about operating processes and business models within organizations so they can allocate the resources they need to succeed.
My stack’s bigger than yours
While I applaud companies that ventured outside their comfort zone to develop new strategies and adopt digital technologies in an effort to deliver exceptional customer experiences, the “Shiny Object Syndrome” is already a genuine problem.
Earlier this year at the MarTech conference in San Francisco, attendees learned that companies are using more than 35 separate products in their martech stack under the guise of “going omni-channel capabilities.” Nonsense!
“Shiny Object Syndrome” is causing some marketers to purchase products unnecessarily just to flex their muscles and boast about the size of their martech stack – like swaggering teenage boys talking about the size of their car’s engines before a drag race.
Can you imagine the interoperability nightmares inherent to attempting to get 35 different technologies to ‘talk nicely’ to each other and still deliver the information you’re seeking?
It’s not about the size of the stack. It’s about obtaining highly-relevant data that provides actionable insights in a timely manner.
Deep insights into consumer behavior
To create exceptional customer experiences unique to individual people, marketing professionals need quick access to meaningful and detailed insights about behavior and digital interactions. These insights are necessary to make informed, data-driven decisions in near real-time during customer journeys.
With this level of contextual knowledge readily available, actions can be taken to further refine positive experiences –or to quickly revise areas along the customer journey that people find counter intuitive and are getting tripped up on.
Being alerted to these choke points allows for continuous improvements that lead to the highly-coveted exceptional customer experiences that turn customers into raving fans.
When customer experiences are built with craft and care, brands dramatically increase ROI by smoothing things out. Customer journeys are unified and enjoyable, while customers and brands alike get the information relevant to them when and where they need it.
Increases in awareness, prospective customers and conversion rates result in desired outcomes – growth in revenue, profit margins, loyalty and positive word of mouth. The latter being one of the best outcomes of all!
Everyone wins in scenarios like these; except the competition.
For more information on the state of customer experience, read the results of two surveys from Econsultancy and learn what matters most to customers, what makes them willing to engage, and why so many brands are missing the mark.