We all know that the technology to help us collect customer data is available, but why aren’t we using it more to create better customer experiences?
That’s a good question and one I’m asking a lot of marketers at the moment. What’s stopping us from leveraging these new tools to create better experiences for our customers?
A lot of it has to do with getting buy-in from management and just the brute thought of giving your systems a big overhaul can be overwhelming.
But I can tell you it’s definitely worth it. In this blog post, we’ll look at three ways you can use data and technology to create a better experience.
1. Offer a more personalized experience
Technology is giving marketers a way to collect useful data from their customers. You now have the ability to collect contact information, website behaviour, buying behaviour and customer service behaviour– all automatically using a range of tools.
The innovative marketers are using these tools right now. They are bringing all this data into one central location and slicing and dicing it to create robust profiles of their customers. These profiles are used to deliver tailored and personalized experiences, which means their customers only receive marketing communication and information that is relevant and valuable to them.
Let’s take a look at Amazon as an example. Here’s an email from Amazon taken from the Vero blog:
You can see a number of great things going on here. Amazon is firstly personalizing the email with a contact name, which instantly makes the recipient feel special. Next, they are using website visiting behaviour to tailor an offer specifically to the recipient’s needs. They saw that the customer had visited the Canon PowerShot page and wanted to include some extra details about the product with links to learn more. As a customer, this is a great experience because no longer are you getting generic offers and emails, you are now getting emails from Amazon that you are actually interested in and want to open.
Technologies similar to what Amazon is using are available to marketers and businesses like you. Tools like Hubspot, Marketo and ExactTarget can collect this customer data and identify interests by tracking behaviour, which means you can send more personalized marketing communications based on all this data.
2. Give customers easy access to important information via mobile devices
As our world changes, so do the expectations of your customers. Your customers are busy people and they are now being asked to use mobile devices inside their jobs. Think about it. We are no longer locked to our desks. Instead, we are off at client meetings, working remotely from home, emailing on the plane and more!
As a result, your customers want access to important information anywhere in the world and from any device. So what that means is you need to be providing information, reports, updates – whatever it is that your business does – in a way that is easily accessible via a mobile device. To do this, you’ll likely need to leverage technology to keep this data in a cloud environment and create mobile applications that can intuitively display important information so the customer can access it on the go.
Giving your customers access to information via mobile devices adds a level of convenience. It extends beyond the bare product or service you offer and, as a result, it goes a long way toward exceeding their expectations.
A great example of a company who makes important information available via mobile is Disney, especially for their theme parks. Disney created MyDisneyExperience, a web and mobile application:
The app syncs with your customer details and offers suggestions and information tailored to your family and individual interests. Customers can use the app while on vacation to make fast-pass selections, dinner reservations, check entertainment times of their favourite shows and even purchase photos. The information available with this technology extends on the experience and makes it a lot easier to plan day-to-day activities and find interesting things to keep the whole family entertained.
3. Unify customer service channels
Your customers are reaching out to you via so many different customer service channels that it’s hard to keep up, let alone systemize it. But that’s the way our world is moving and, as marketers, we need to accommodate these new expectations and streamline our customer service to ensure we offer a consistent customer experience to everyone.
Fortunately, technology can help us do that. We can use new technology to bring all our customer service channels – think Twitter, Facebook, email and phone – into a centralized system that matches up customer email addresses with corresponding phone numbers and Facebook/Twitter accounts.
This will help ensure that no matter what channel a customer is contacting you on, everyone on your team will know all their past conversations and know all their contact details. Furthermore, even internally you’ll be able to keep the experience transparent. Picture this: you have a customer who initially called sales, then spoke to support and now is on the phone to customer service. By using technology, you can bring all these departments together to ensure that no miscommunication happens and the customer is being given a consistent experience throughout.
Optus is a great example of a company leveraging new technologies that bring together all their service channels into a unified experience. They have an active presence on social media, which also syncs with their call centre and email support team. This sort of innovation was recognized last year when the company was crowned the global king of social media customer service at the International Contact Centre Awards.
In an interview with ZDNet, Optus Business managing director John Pairtaridis said, “There needs to be conventional investment in your mobile platform, applications, and technology, and that needs to be as seamless as possible with your contact centre, your online, your retail, and your social.”
The technology is available, so how will you use data to improve the customer experience?
The technology is here. Tools like Hubspot, Marketo and ExactTarget are a great way to get your feet wet with collecting customer data and tailoring better experiences. As you become more confident, you can turn to other advanced technology, which can get all your channels and data talking to each other.
The point I’m making here is that the technology is no longer only available to the big corporations like Amazon. Through advancements in cloud technology and reduced barriers to uptake, you now have access to the same tools as the big boys and it’s your job to ensure you create a better experience for your customers.
What ideas out of this blog post will you implement? Let us know in the comments below.
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