The digital revolution is empowering consumers like never before. They can now access a wealth of information from all over the world, anytime or anywhere they want. The result is that consumers are now more informed about their purchase decisions than ever. All of which means one thing: the buyer’s journey has changed.
Advancements in technology allow consumers the convenience of getting the products and services they want, on demand. Customers have higher expectations, so it’s now more difficult than ever to convince them of the value you’re offering while competing with other brands.
As a result, marketers, entrepreneurs, and business owners need to provide an outstanding product coupled with exceptional customer service. After all, in this day and age, it’s all about the customer.
A recent Walker Info report revealed that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as a key brand differentiator. In fact, the same report shows that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. The implication here is that effective customer experience management creates a competitive advantage for brands.
But, What is Customer Experience?
According to a recent Forbes study, customer experience is defined as “rich interchanges between customers and the organizations with which they choose to do business. It requires a combination of individualized insights, connected interactions and an agile approach to meet customers in the channel of their choosing.”
This means that you need to be armed with data and information about your customers so that you can meet their demands and reach them with the right product or service at the right time, on the right platform or channel.
It’s more than just about doing the same things over and over again. It’s about constantly exploring new customer trends and preferences, and seeking creative ways to respond to these demands.
Data-Driven Customer Experience
According to 52% of executives, a well-developed and designed data analytics system enables them to deliver superior customer experience. So, you need to look at the data available to you to understand what your customer wants and how you can best deliver an exceptional experience.
But, with the vast amount of data available, how do you use big data in enhancing the customer experience? Let’s take a look at four important steps:
1. Identify your Unique Selling Proposition
Start the process of enhancing your customer experience by identifying your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What makes your customer experience stand out from your competitors? What do customers like about your service?
It’s critical to understand your unique advantages so that you know which strengths you can play up. It’s also important to identify the strong elements of your product and service offering, whether it’s your customer referral program or a rewards/loyalty system that keeps them coming back for more.
2. Map Out your Customer Journey
An eMarketer study revealed that despite the importance of the customer journey, 55% of marketers are not confident their organization’s understanding of the customer journey.
A customer journey map is a visualization of the entire customer experience throughout their relationship with your business—from the moment they become aware of your company to the after-sales service.
How do customers end up in your store or on your website? Data analytics will help you map out the customer journey and determine the routes they take to make a purchase.
Mapping out your customer journey will allow you to get valuable insight into what customers expect from your company. More importantly, it will help you predict customer behavior so that you can respond to their needs and demands faster and better.
3. Determine your Key Business Channels
B2B businesses now reach their buyers through a wide range of channels, both online and off. This omni-channel marketing strategy is so relevant in today’s business landscape that companies with a strong omni-channel approach retain 89% of their customers, while those with weak omni-channel strategies only retain 33% of their customers.
Now that you’ve mapped out your customer journey, it’s time to take inventory of the business channels and digital marketing strategies that your company utilizes. Through data analytics, you can determine whether the channels you’re using are getting positive results in terms of lead generation and business revenue.
4. Streamline your Customer Experience
Compare the customer journey you mapped out against the common channels you use and the customer touchpoints. Are you meeting your buyers where they are?
These days, buyers communicate with brands using multiple channels and touchpoints. How are you synchronizing these systems to offer a frictionless journey?
An Accenture study revealed that 89% of customers become frustrated after having to repeat their concerns to various representatives in different channels. Using the data you captured and analyzed, streamline your customer experience to ensure that all information is centralized.
Providing exceptional customer experience will help you prevent customer churn. Remember that 13% of dissatisfied customers will tell 15 or even more people that they are unhappy, while 72% of customers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people.
You don’t want unhappy customers to destroy the brand reputation that you’ve carefully crafted through the years now, do you?
So, to address the shift in consumer buying behavior, start adopting a holistic view of your customer experience and create a competitive advantage that sets you apart from the competition.
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