Businesses that fail to orchestrate and deliver personalized and technology-driven connected experiences are soon going to be irrelevant.
No, we aren’t exaggerating! The stats from the State of the Connected Customer report indicate that 76% of customers expect harmonious interaction across all departments of the same brand and 54% feel that sales, service, and marketing teams do share essential information between themselves.
For example, a customer might receive excellent pre-sales service. But post-sales, when they try to reach out to customer service for any issue, they are often forced to repeat their concern and set context each time they interact with the brand.
The way customers interact with brands has undergone a radical transformation and connected experiences is the next big thing in customer experience management (CEM). As customers upgrade from being 'digital-savvy' to 'digital-native', they expect organizations to provide digititalized and personalized multi-channel engagements. Delivering a connected engagement and effortless experience across multiple digital touchpoints through web and mobile apps is crucial for brands to build trust, empathy, and convenience. Customers’ native comfort with technology, proliferation of mobile devices and touchpoints, and the stay-at-home economy are driving the shift to connected experiences.
Understanding connected experiences
Imagine you’re planning a vacation. When you opt for travel services from multiple providers, you’ll have to manually enter the data each time to book flights, hotels, rentals, ground transportation, hop on, hop off tours, etc. The rise of connected experiences will transform vacation planning into a seamless activity by integrating disparate travel applications into a single platform. Vacation planners can leverage the data pulled in from different sources (such as social media accounts, loyalty programs, news feeds, weather reports, and maps) to provide personalized recommendations for travel, hotels, and leisure activities.
Users can receive customized itineraries that adapt in real-time to political disruptions, weather conditions, or travel regulations. The customer doesn’t have to provide the context, each time. Instead, technology will play a key role in delivering personalized connected experiences that’s integrated, seamless, and interoperable.
Watching a webisode on one device and effortlessly connecting to another device while changing your location, or ordering your dinner pickup and then changing it to delivery for better convenience are a few examples of connected experiences.
Utilizing the data garnered from automated processes and self-learning software, businesses can build meaningful relationships with customers across channels. This, in other terms, is connected experiences.
Connected experiences is the future of CEM
The new customer is digitally conscious and always-connected. User-friendly mobile apps, artificial intelligence, automation, big data, analytics, and machine learning allow customers to get what they require, when they look for it. 55% of organizations that acknowledge customer experience (CX) as their core differentiator leverage multiple emerging technologies. It is imperative that enterprises need to be aware of the opportunities offered by modern technology, and leverage it to offer great customer experiences.
Tech-driven CEM enables businesses to:
- Gain a holistic and unified customer view
- Manage customer journeys across myriad devices and touchpoints
Why are these crucial? Let’s take a deeper look.
Build an integrated, 360-degree view of your customer
Customer data could come from multiple sources, such as emails, phone calls, text messages, website forms, social media reviews, chats, discussion forums, and so on. A customer might also interact with multiple departments of a business for analyzing or purchasing different products or services. Most organizations lack the technology to integrate these disparate data coming from various sources. This forces the customer to repeat their query or concern with different units or service agents of a business. Organizational silos affect the quality of customer experience and reduce the productivity of employees. Hence, it’s important to build a single view of your customer. Here’re a few techniques that can help:
Identifying and unifying data sources for better resolution
Businesses use several tools in their day-to-day operations, such as CRM, ERP, accounting software, HRM, email marketing tools, etc. Each of these software uses different methods to capture data. Some of these applications need to be integrated with third-party tools for data validation or aggregation. Adopting a Unified Data Management (UDM) framework enables companies to aggregate, unify, and store data from different sources into a common data repository within a data warehouse. UDM employs data integration tools to automatically fetch and update data from different business applications, identify duplicates, and improve data accuracy.
Unified organizational data improves your visibility over business insights and fosters interdepartmental collaboration. Identifying and combining incongruent data sources contribute to the success of data-driven initiatives, such as improved compliance and governance, business intelligence, customer relationship management, and more.
Data unification doesn’t necessarily mean storing data within a single platform. The integrity of data is crucial as it influences an organization’s decision-making process. Data cleaning ensures that your database remains updated with all the relevant information needed to serve your customers.
Identity resolution platforms
A customer’s journey involves several personal identifiers such as email ID, physical address, location, device IDs, mobile number, customer IDs, account names, and more. Identity resolution is a data management technique that enables marketers to correlate the vast volume of consumer identifiers with each individual, as they interact with different channels, devices, and platforms. Most identity resolution software providers offer a proprietary database known as identity graph that maps all the recognized identifiers associated with individuals. The software connects to diverse data sources that house different types of personal information records. While searching an individual’s record, the identity resolution technique applies a string of algorithms as well as probability and scoring to detect the relevant entity. If there are multiple individuals having the same name, identity resolution evaluates other key distinguishing attributes such as contact number, social security number, address, national identifier, etc. to recognize the individual or the entity.
By eschewing disconnected, duplicate, and inaccurate customer data, identity resolution helps build a unified, omnichannel customer view. This enables brands to deliver relevant and meaningful messaging across all devices and digital touchpoints used by their customers.
AI and ML-powered predictive analytics enhances customer experience:
In 2018, only 29% of the marketers used artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to improve the customer experience and meet the changing demands. Within two years, AI adoption among marketers skyrocketed to a whopping 84%, as they started using the technology extensively to track real-time customer engagements and improve personalization. For instance, Netflix and Amazon use AI algorithms and machine learning to analyze user behaviors and make personalized content recommendations based on user demographics and preferences. AI-driven insights help understand a user’s current stage in the buyer’s journey and identify which competitors they’re following. This allows businesses to adapt.
One of the most powerful applications of AI in business is predictive analytics technology. Predictive analytics leverages data, user behavior, and machine learning to chalk out the next steps that a customer or a lead might take. The insights gained can be used to create tailored content, ad messages, and emails. AI and machine learning help build data-driven user profiles that allow businesses to prioritize customer needs and offer personalized promotions such as discounts, freebies, and upsells.
Manage and improve the omnichannel customer journey
Omnichannel is a revolutionary customer engagement approach in which a company makes their services, products, support, and content accessible to users or prospects across all channels, devices, and platforms. As more customers turn digital-native, it’s now impossible to think of building a desktop experience or a mobile experience in silos. Creating an omnichannel experience is a profitable approach that allows businesses to connect with customers across any channel. Similarly, customers have plenty of options to gain support from their preferred brands. There are two powerful methods for businesses to optimize their omnichannel customer journey.
Enabling communication through content as a service (CaaS)
The enormous growth of smart devices and widespread connectivity have changed the content search and content consumption habits of users. A recent industry report shows that more than 75% of consumers use different digital and physical channels for shopping. If Alexa notifies you of an upcoming appointment, Apple Smartwatch will remind you about the next workout schedule. Voice, video, text, design, automated messages, alerts – content format has evolved tremendously from the primitive websites. You cannot use the same content format for a website and a smartwatch app. This is where content as a service (CaaS) or managed content as a service (MCaaS) helps.
A content as a service platform distinguishes formatting and programming to deliver content via REST APIs or GraphQL-based APIs. Unlike the traditional content management systems, content as a service (CaaS) platforms fuel the omnichannel revolution, where businesses can personalize and optimize content to cater to diverse content delivery channels. Following the “write once, publish anywhere” norm, CaaS allows content to be created once and stored in a central repository, from where it can be pushed to multiple content delivery channels.
The rise of headless CMS or CMS platforms that decouple content repository from the presentation layer has expedited the adoption of content infrastructure (CaaS). Companies worrying about publishing content that adapts to multiple platforms can opt for headless CMS, such as Drupal. A headless content management system enables even non-developers to push structured content, regardless of the front-end layers used. Acquia Content Cloud is a popular no-code CaaS solution that powers multi-channel digital experiences.
Integrating interaction and delivery channels through APIs
Due to their ability to connect disparate systems and exchange data, APIs are used to improve business decisions, generate new revenue streams, innovate product designs, and enhance operations.
Developing an API strategy saves businesses from delivering disconnected customer experiences.
We believe that an API-first approach enables businesses to integrate and communicate across the different delivery channels and customer touchpoints. It allows content and data to be shared quickly to the right audience at the right time, through the right channel.
The recent Google-Oxford Economics survey reports that businesses using APIs to facilitate external collaborations gained an annual revenue growth of 6.7%, while the non-API users reported only 4.9% revenue growth per year. A common example of API-first approach is the social logins. Implementing social login for your applications allows your users to authenticate with any identity providers such as Google, Facebook, or Apple. Here, the API silently performs the whole interaction between your login screen and the social identity provider that authenticates the user’s identity.
As Auth0 observes, “APIs improve CX by reducing friction, like social logins, a Google Calendar integration, so users don’t forget appointments or a Stripe integration that saves users from having to enter their payment information to make a purchase. APIs seamlessly connect different tools, which enables delightful user experiences.”
It's the right time to invest in CX technology
The goal of customer experience management (CEM) is to effectively manage customer interactions across all physical and digital touchpoints to deliver personalized, user-centric experiences that boost demand, brand loyalty, and revenue. Tech-driven customer experience management should increase the speed, convenience, and user-friendliness – the core consumer demands. Customers expect technology to simplify processes and enhance experiences. They want technology to be unobtrusive, while maintaining the human touch across all their interactions. 79% of organizations surveyed by Forrester stated that they’re planning to increase their investments in digital experience technology to facilitate personalized omnichannel experiences.
Tech-driven CEM enables organizations to improve:
- Customer and employee engagements
- Omnichannel and contextual engagements
- Business process optimization
- analytics-embedded customer journey
- user-centric experiences
- CX alignment with brand and marketing.
Need any more reasons to invest in tech-driven CEM? Connect with our consultant to explore the wide range of opportunities that CEM can offer.