Recently we attended Interactive Minds Digital Trends for 2015. It was very interesting to hear what some of the industry’s leading digital marketing experts had to say about the future, however, we shouldn’t forget that 2015 is only a few months away. So even though some of the predictions were quite futuristic, the key take away was that customer experience is going to be a key focus for the year ahead.
Already in 2014 we have seen how customer experience has made it into discussions around the world and as we learn more about customer experience and start integrating it into our business strategies, 2015 will bring on new challenges and opportunities that we need to stay on top of.
Empower Your Customers
“Brands that can use digital to empower the customer will be the brands that excel.”
The balance of power has shifted from business to customer. Decades ago, supply was limited and you either paid the asking price of a product or service you wanted or did without. Today’s vast array of products and services puts the customer in the driver’s seat. With global economic uncertainty, an inflated Australian dollar and fluctuating consumer confidence, customers are increasingly doing their research before they spend their hard earned money to ensure the best value, price and quality.
At the click of a mouse, customers can compare brands and prices, visit online forums and create social media conversations to hear what other people say about your product or service; and have it immediately shipped to arrive at their doorstep within a few days.
The ways in which customers use technology to consume continues to rise. Customers browse websites from a variety of places – using not just smartphones and tablets, but in-store kiosks, web-enabled TVs and gaming stations. Social media sites are also an important part of the technology mix, with customers opting to ask friends, family and even strangers about the viability and credibility of a product rather than taking advice from you.
This leads us to our next point?
The Omni-Channel Experience
“Develop an overarching strategy that puts the customer first, creating a seamless experience no matter what technology they’re engaging with.”
In 2015, we’ll see technology make personalisation and omni-channel experience easier for the majority of companies. Companies will strive to create personalised relationships with their customers integrated across all of their favourite channels while on the move, in-store or at home. Both Burberry and Tiffany are already doing this well as they use data collected to customise experiences to each customer’s individual needs and wants.
Burberry has an obvious and dedicated investment into customer experience, particularly with regard to digital technologies. They have created a seamless experience across online, mobile, tablet, in-store and social media.
We’re not saying you need to have Burberry’s budget, but the key here is to flawlessly incorporate a consistent brand look and feel across all channels, as well as offer sophisticated personalisation options in order to meet the changing demands of customers, help improve sales, loyalty and business success.
When customers are treated like individuals, they immediately become customer advocates.
Here’s a great video with Coca-Cola’s prediction of the future of omni-channel marketing:
“Last click attribution doesn’t measure the customer’s true journey.”
In order to empower your customers and offer personalisation, you will need to know your customer. This can only be achieved by using real data to measure the customer journey.
Up until now, most online analytic tools would only measure the last click of the customer’s journey, but now it is possible to select attribution models through Google analytics, which will allow you to customise what data you would like to collect about your customer’s browsing habits.
Additionally smart sensors, face and object recognition technologies and wearable devices mean it’s possible to gather and analyse information about consumers – their location, preferences, purchasing histories and much more – in real-time as never before. Customers will increasingly expect real-time data to shape and enhance the service they receive, both online and in physical spaces.
There are so many tools out there that can integrate easily with your existing marketing technologies, such as marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. Ideally, you will need these tools to communicate seamlessly so you can make sure that measuring the customer experience is a good experience in itself – be smart about how you ask and capture this important data.
Make data your friend – it’s what’s going to help you grow your business. There is so much information out there that you can collect, so break down big data into small bites that are relevant to you.
“Digital marketers spend almost as much to keep customers (45%) as they do to gain new ones (55%).” – Gartner 2014
Moving into 2015, no matter how big or small your company is, you will no longer be able to ignore the customer experience. According to a service study by American Express, 63% of consumers said they felt their heart rate increase when they thought about receiving great customer service. For 53% of those tested, receiving great service triggered the same cerebral reactions as feeling loved. This means that it’s not about what customers think – it’s how they feel!
If you’d like to get ahead of your competition, remain relevant or learn how to collect, use and act on customer data, speak to us and we’ll help you create a business that delivers a superior customer experience.