On-demand services are rapidly changing the way we experience every part of our lives.
For example, with television today we have far more choice as to how, where and when we consume content. Rather than waiting for closure on a ‘cliff-hanger’ from last week’s episode, you can now advance the plot instantly via Netflix or Amazon Prime.
If traditional media networks don’t evolve their customer experience to meet modern-viewing demands now, they risk falling behind their savvier competitors. Permanently.
This lesson applies throughout the wider world of business as well.
Success is balanced on customer experience, and if your company’s customer journey is anything less than exceptional, it isn’t likely to survive long term.
How do you provide exceptional customer moments?
To drive exceptional customer moments, you have to understand what they want and expect.
To do so, data is king. Data can tell you what your customer needs, what their preferences are, what they are looking to do and reveal their common habits.
Bluewolf’s The State of SalesforceReportshows that companies that have increased their investments in analytics in the past 12 months are three times more likely to see their data as a competitive advantage than companies that have not increased their analytics investments.
Your customer journey will only be as good as the data your company has access to. And data is something that needs to be curated and prioritised.
Without it, the superior moments customers now demand simply won’t be created.
Leverage Augmented Intelligence (AI) to know your customers
Intelligent business applications are already providing many companies with deeper insights into their customers’ needs, presenting staff with the clues they need to anticipate what customers are looking for – often before the customer knows it themselves.
With an AI-led approach, companies can mine vast quantities of data, identify patterns and recognise trends. This provides the foundation employees need to create memorable customer experiences by both predicting and even undertaking the next-best action.
Employees are still making decisions and relying on their own intelligence to initiate the right conversations at the right time, but they’re using a cognitive approach to augment their intelligence and ensure they’re connecting customer experience to value.
The recently announced partnership between IBM and Salesforce will make AI even more pervasive. By delivering joint AI capabilities, the two technology giants will enable an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing and more.
Building customer trust
Not only are customers becoming more streetwise about increasing industry competition and the choice that inevitably provides, they’re also becoming savvier about the importance of their own data to businesses.
Increasingly, unless the customer trusts the interested party, and fully understands what they will receive in return, they quickly dismiss the idea of sharing their data.
The best way to gain trust, and hence access to data and permission to communicate, is to ensure your customers are fully engaged with your company and its services. Recognise that data is now a currency; promote engagement by offering total transparency for customers on what they stand to get in return for their data.
Be attentive and guide customers through their entire journey – don’t just ambush them at specific steps or moments. If customers fail to feel like a priority at any given point in the process, their trust will evaporate and disengagement with your company will diminish.
Be the exceptional choice
We established that customers are getting pickier and more ‘data diligent’. Don’t push them into the paths of your competitors with moments that make them feel unimportant, or worse expendable. Focus on building experiences that bring out the best possible actions and decisions for your customers.
Have the right technology tools in place to bolster your team’s human expertise and enhances the ability to make everyday decisions.
If you can consistently provide customers with journeys that are memorable for all the right reasons, and demonstrate that you understand their needs and wants at crucial moments, they will keep tuning in.
Don’t give them an excuse to switch off and change the channel.