Why it is time to transform the Customer experience?

Customer experience need to be personalized

Customer experience have changed now.Customers expect better services from companies.The expectations for better experiences started when Amazon, Uber and Netflix started to provide personalized services that are accessible on demand across multiple channels and responsive to their needs at that exact moment.
Customers now expect such experiences even from an ordinary bookstore.Customer expectations are being set by the industry leaders and the other players are now forced to provide the same experiences else they risk of getting displaced from the market place.
Companies across industries have started to respond to the customers expectations not only to stay relevant to their customers but spot new opportunities.Many enterprises are looking to eliminate artificial silos between marketing, sales and customer service in order to serve their customers better.
Nike has been a pioneer in delivering customer experiences.Nike does this by collecting profiles of all its customers and when one of the customers enquires to customer service on the status of his shipment, Nike immediately responds to the customer.In addition, Nike use this conversation as an opportunity to cross sell other items.For instance if a customer is running a marathon in london and has ordered shoes, then Nike customer support ask if the customer has thermals because the weather will be cold in London.If the customer does not have thermals, then Nike ships thermals along with shoes to his location.
Nike is able to do this because Nike customer support team had access to all relevant information of the customer, was able to look holistically at the customer’s needs at that moment and then was able to switch its role from customer service rep to sales rep.In future with evolution of AI, this whole conversation would be done by the chatbots rather than humans.
If an enterprise wants to transition to this new approach, it will take a massive undertaking in three areas – Having a Customer Data Platform to have all customer data in one place, Building an unified system of engagement that allows customers to interact across all digital and physical channels and then leveraging AI and analytics to personalize the customer engagement.

Right investments in customer experience

  • In order to provide personalization and responsiveness at scale, enterprises need to lean heavily on Automation and Artificial intelligence.At the same time these tools cannot be used as one size fit all approach and they must be used to address actual needs at important moments in the customer experience.
  • In order to achieve personalization, enterprises need to determine where to focus their investments.In order to arrive at the right investments, one needs to visualize the steps that customer goes through in their journey in order to make a purchase decision. The sales funnel – process of converting prospects to customers needs to be aligned with the customer journey.
  • Enterprises need to take an exhaustive approach to analyse how each stage of the customer experience looks like from a customer’s perspective. This will help clarify what information and content will be most useful for customers at each stage.This analysis will help enterprises take necessary actions to nurture customers across the customer journey. Companies can build use cases to leverage AI to personalize the information and content to engage with customers at each step in the journey.
  • Building an unified model of customer experience is very challenging and complicated because most enterprises do not have a common database about their customers.All the data are in silos and unless all these data are not stiched together, there will be no uniform definition of customer across all business units.There needs be a common Customer ID that tracks all information about a customer.
  • Hence companies need to create a single platform to house all data across all channels, stages and interactions.The platform should also house an automation engine.It is imperative for enterprises to have this platform ready before they think about making investments in analytics.

Build a customer experience funnel

  • Once the unified model of customer experience is developed along with Customer Data Platform that is capable of tracking individual interactions, then enterprises need to determine which moments in the customer experience could be personalized and then carrying out iterations to test which would work.
  • Enterprises should then decide which stage of the customer journey would require analytic models.When there are areas of concern in the customer funnel, then these areas becomes the point of attack for predictive models or analytics applications.
  • For instance, if a flagship software product of a company has 90% market penetration but if software does not provide full utility to the customer then chances of customer retention will reduce.In order to address this customer retention risks, companies can leverage AI and analytics models to create personalized recommendations for trying out new features so that customers can experience more value from it.

Customer experience is an evolving journey

Enterprises can improve customer experience by identifying areas in their customer journey where there are biggest problems and then gradually working towards a more comprehensive end to end view.
It is important to think big but to start small and scale fast.Machine Learning and AI should be applied to do hundreds of small things that add significant business value and improve customer experience.

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