Harvard Business Review recently published a piece titled ‘7 Steps to Deliver Better Customer Experiences.’ The article lays out the steps an organization should take in “designing and managing customer experience” and include:
- Brand platform
- Customer experience strategy
- Business segmentation
- Customer segmentation
- Experience design
- Assessment and integration
The article discusses these steps in a strategic manner, however it does not deliver insight on how businesses can actually engage in data-drive initiatives or execute on delivering a better customer experience. This in itself is a daunting topic for many businesses who are buried in data and often ill-equipped to manage it in order to build the customer segments and design the customer experiences HBR discusses. Here are four steps to execute an effective Consumer Management initiative and deliver a better customer experience:
1. Centralize your data: chances are your organization has a ton of customer data, and more than likely that data is housed in fragmented silos across point-of sale systems, ecommerce platforms, mobile applications and social networks. Centralizing your data to synthesize it is the first step in driving a great customer experience. How do you centralize your data? By finding a single platform that can import and cleanse vital customer demographic and transactional records.
2. Understand your customers: Once your data is synthesized you can now centrally build segments, profiles and paths to purchase to gain a holistic view of your customers. Perhaps more importantly, now your brand can identify you Most Valuable Customers across an array of dimensions to cultivate and replicate. Avoid a excel spreadsheets or traditional CRMs that are intended for B2B brands, as a consumer brand look for a technology tailored towards segmenting consumers and segment on proven analysis and metrics, such as RFM and CLV.
3. Personalize your engagements: Once you’ve learned what motivates your customers and how they make their purchase decisions you’re now positioned to construct personalized, relevant, cross-channel experiences spanning in-store, online, mobile and social, strategically targeted to your different customer segments in order to align with their interests and activities. A customer’s email address is a communication lifeline, not to be abused. Often brands market products based on various reasons, time of year, margins, inventory to their entire database, with segmented data, market to the right customer with the right message.
4. Continually optimize: Your customers’ behaviors are shifting in real-time, so it’s not only critical to have ongoing visibility of these shifts with your centralized data platform, but also to strategically adjust your brand engagements and overall experience with the intelligence left by their “digital footprints.” With real time results, you’ll have more actionable insight then ever before, your business operations should be ready to evolve.
While many brands can agree and have a handle on the abstract strategy of customer experience, many are also challenged by how to actually execute on these vital concepts. The key is engage a Consumer Management technology that can integrate your established customer data sources in order to centralize your data into a complete customer illustration of how, when, where, why and what they purchase, as well as their cross-channel interactions.
Simply put, while a general strategy will get your organization to focus on the importance of customer experience, executing on delivering a strong, consistent, data-driven experience to your customers will provide and unmatched competitive advantage to your brand.