Updated May 2021
An analysis conducted by McKinsey & Company showed that companies that met their customer’s needs saw a shallower downturn, rebounded more rapidly, and achieved three times the total shareholder returns versus laggards.
Companies today are already taking note by implementing programs to retain existing customers and attract new ones. As consumers are moving to online channels, trying out new brands and looking for a sense of community, companies need to revamp their customer-centric strategies to align with customer expectations.
In order to understand today’s and tomorrow’s customers, organizations need to know what customers demand and expect. However, delivering on those demands is no simple task. A few brands I work with have achieved remarkable results by keeping the focus on their customers. In this blog post, I explore 12 success stories and share what you can learn from them. But, before we see examples, let’s first define customer experience.
Capturing and sustaining customer loyalty means constantly raising the bar. Customers continually expect less friction and more personalization in their interactions with businesses, regardless of the channel. Positive customer experiences build trust in your brand.
Companies need to develop a deeper understanding of their customers and use data to comprehend their actions. By gaining visibility into the customer lifecycle, companies can understand each customer at a deeper level and serve them better with convenience, personalization, and relevant experiences.
Customer experience is a simple equation. It is a combination of customer-centricity and customer engagement. Let me explain.
Customer-Centricity + Customer Engagement = Customer Experience
Customer-centricity is primarily an internally focused aspect of the customer experience equation. Putting the customer at the center of the business involves inward reflection, incorporates change management, and requires executive-level buy-in and sponsorship.
Technology can help businesses streamline and connect processes across functions, products, and geographies with consideration for efficiency and effectiveness. This is where many companies need to evolve from being account-centric or product-centric to being customer-centric.
Trusted data empowers decision-makers in the back office, at the front line, and on executive floors to make the right decisions at the right time about the customer experience.
Customer engagement, on the other hand, is externally focused. It is how a company engages outwardly with customers over time and across interactions and transactions, personalization engines, marketing messages, sales conversations, service calls, and so on.
Understanding how and when a customer wants to engage is critical. Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time has resurfaced as technology enables more precise insights for customer engagement. What becomes critical here is the trust, relevance, and context of data used to fuel these decisions. When all business functions are aligned for customer engagement, it manifests in convenient and consistent experiences for customers, irrespective of the business area, channel, or employee the customer is dealing with.
The ultimate goal of a customer-focused organization should be to align both the internal and external processes across the business and at every interaction. Actionable insights fueled by trusted data empower companies to create a bond with customers that is seen and felt. When experiences are differentiated, when customers can trust and rely on companies to not disappoint, and when employees are empowered to do what’s right at an individual as well as collective level, that’s when customers demonstrate loyalty.
Companies focused on customers can quickly emerge and disrupt entire industries. Competitive advantage is no longer guaranteed through differentiated pricing or product strategies. Competing on customer experience is the new battleground.
To engage customers at an increasingly individual level, companies need to manage all customer data strategically, end to end, in a way that creates real-time, consistent omnichannel experiences.
Data from multiple systems—marketing, inventory, physical stores, web shops, customer service, and more—is then melded together, to create trusted customer profiles and rich product information that power customer experience (CX) software. This forms the foundation of great brand experiences that build ongoing customer relationships.
Many of our customers are using data management technology to drive better customer experiences. Here are 12 examples of organizations going through digital transformation to improve CX:
1. HUBO Delivers a Better DIY Shopping Experience
A Belgian hardware store chain with more than 150 brick and mortar locations, Hubo has traditionally focused on the do-it-yourself (DIY) market, offering an extensive range of high-quality brands. The company offers hardware and supplies for all kinds of do-it-yourselfers, too, ranging from the occasional hobbyist to the ambitious and passionate artisan. With some key strategic upgrades to their technology, Hubo is now able to onboard new products and suppliers 10x faster and is planning to scale from 50,000 to a projected 1 Million product SKUs within five years. By offering a more comprehensive selection of products, HUBO plans to expand into a much larger marketplace. Hubo is a great example of a customer experience strategy centered around product data. Read more about Hubo’s customer success here.
2. Amgen Becomes Patient-Centric by Leveraging Artificial Intelligence.
One of the world’s leading biotechnology companies, Amgen is committed to discovering, developing, and delivering innovative therapeutics for patients suffering from serious illnesses. Its achievements in cardiovascular treatment have improved the lives of patients suffering from heart disease, the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. By applying AI and machine learning to high-quality data about providers, products, and payers, Amgen is able to reach more patients with potentially life-saving therapies. This patient-centric approach to analytics helps Amgen to notify a care provider and present preventive treatment to a patient before a health incident occurs. This new data-driven approach also allows Amgen to reduce the time to market for new product launches. Check out Amgen’s customer success story here.
3. Kelly Services Connects Job Seekers with Right Employers
Kelly Services strives to provide the world’s best workforce solutions. The staffing company based in Troy, Michigan, is a direct employer of nearly half a million people and connects thousands more with opportunities through a global network of partners. Laser-focused on the evolving world of work, Kelly Services helps people “ditch the script” on old ways of thinking and embraces the value of all work styles in the workplace. By investing in a 360 solution, the company was able to create a rich and accurate profile of job seekers by extracting data from resumes, emails from employees, and video interviews. The solution helps the company streamline job placements, expedite the talent selection process, and offer the right opportunity to the right talent at the right time. Read Kelly Services customer success story here and watch the video here.
4. PUMA Increases Online Sales by Delivers Right Products at the Right Time
I like sneakers, and I know that I’m one of many people around the world who love PUMA’s vast collection of lifestyle shoes. Now PUMA wants to leverage their established history of designing footwear and apparel for some of the most talented athletes on the planet, to realize their ambition to become the most desirable sports-life company. By focusing on its product searches and leveraging machine learning to better understand their customers, PUMA is now able to offer more accurate product recommendations and a hyper-personalized experience tailored to an individual’s needs in a hyper-personalized experience. Not only did the solution help PUMA reach its ROI targets in less than two years, but it significantly increased PUMA’s online sales. Read more about PUMA’s customer success story here.
5. Elkjøp Delivers Rich Product Experience to Its Customers
The largest consumer electronics retailer in the Nordic countries, Elkjøp currently has 400 stores and 10,000 employees in six countries. To meet their objective of reducing the time-to-market and meet rapidly changing consumer expectations and explosive growth of the electronic products marketplace, Elkjøp focused on modernizing and redesigning the process for onboarding products and providing automated product information management to its business users. With their new technology, the company now introduces new products quicker and provides an engaging, well-informed product experience that drives conversions across all touchpoints.
6. Elektro-Material Doubles Sales by Becoming Customer-Centric
The market leader in Swiss business-to-business (B2B) electrical wholesale, Elektro-Material (EM) offers smart home technology, lighting products, household appliances, and more. To succeed in an increasingly competitive online marketplace, EM wanted to provide the rich product information that customers increasingly expect. By focusing on creating an accurate view of its product information, and automating the onboarding and management of product data, Elektro-Material was able to achieve new product launches in one quarter of the time, and upload product catalogs from 900 suppliers in just hours instead of months. As a result, EM’s customers now enjoy a complete and accurate view of its products and images, which has led to doubled sales through digital channels in the past two years. EM is also better positioned to handle a projected eight-fold increase in product data next year. Check out Elektro-Material’s customer success story here.
7. Rent-A-Car Delivers Seamless Customer Experience
Rent-A-Car is France’s leading company in proximity car rental with €138 million in annual revenues. Despite an influx of new players in the auto rental business, Rent-A-Car has successfully grown its market share, doubling annual revenue over the past six years. By investing in a Customer 360 solution to gain a complete view of its customers’ journey, Rent-A-Car has gained a deeper understanding of its customers, and turned data into a competitive advantage. This has not only positioned the company as a leader in connected cars, it has also helped them fight fraud and even locate stolen vehicles. Read Rent-A-Car’s full customer success story here.
8. BMW Group Extends Brand Experience Across Customer Touchpoints
BMW Group uses an ever-expanding number of channels to connect with existing and prospective customers. The German manufacturer of the “ultimate driving machine” has a renewed focus on technology and in-car experience. BMW Group also wanted to communicate with its customers accurately and consistently across several customer touchpoints. These touchpoints including websites, social media feeds, brochures, customer service call centers, e-shops, and dealership. By using technology to streamline the creation of trusted product data, BMW Group is able to present different purchasing options to consumers. Read BMW’s customer success story to learn more.
9. KLiNGEL Drives Omnichannel Strategy with Rich Product Data
KLiNGEL is one of the best-known suppliers of household goods and fashion items in Europe, with subsidiaries in Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Switzerland, and Austria. The company sells through approximately 70 online shops and fulfills several million orders every year across 18 brands. KLiNGEL has a multi-brand and omnichannel strategy to ensure it provides a consistent view of product data across print catalog and online. With operations in 12 European countries, KLiNGEL wanted to ensure its customers can see every product, in every language. By putting a strategic focus on data, KLiNGEL has been able to launch products online seven times faster and reduce customer call volume and product returns, and has plans to increase sales on 60 webshops, including Amazon, eBay, and OTTO. Read the full customer success story here.
10. Kmart Australia Transforms into a True Omnichannel Retailer
Kmart Australia Limited is a brand widely recognized for providing Australian families with fashionable, high-quality products at great prices. With more than 30,000 employees and 234 stores, Kmart is also Australia’s largest container importer, processing a vast amount of goods every day. Amid competition from web retailers and international companies, Kmart Australia recognized that they needed to go beyond brick-and-mortar stores and use digital channels and innovations to improve the customer experience. The change is significant: instead of offering a mere 6 percent, Kmart is now able to offer 98 percent of their product range online. The company has also been able to introduce new products four times faster, quadrupling sales while tripling the team’s productivity. You can read the full customer success story here, or watch the video here.
11. Coop Alleanza 3.0 Delivers Unique Shopping Experience to Customers
With 2,700,000 members and 430 stores across 12 regions of Italy, Coop Alleanza 3.0 is Europe’s largest food retail cooperative. The company realized that they needed to unify its operations to provide each store with consistent business information to drive efficiencies and profits. Customer, product, and sales data is integral to Coop Alleanza 3.0’s effort to personalize the shopping experience for its members and customers. The solution Coop implemented is helping the company support the success of easycoop.com—a site designed to deliver a unique shopping experience by offering a wide selection of foods and fresh products to customers. Check out the full customer success story here.
12. Santalucía Seguros Powers Customer-Centric Digital Transformation
For more than 100 years, Santalucía Seguros has provided insurance coverage to individuals and businesses in Spain. The Madrid-based company has long maintained a familiar brand and brick-and-mortar presence through a network of 400 agencies and 17,000 workers. Realizing that many customers now prefer to purchase insurance policies through digital channels, Santalucía Seguros is undergoing an enterprise-wide digital transformation across all its lines of business— home, life, financial, retirement, pet, and other insurance products. By investing in a Customer 360 solution, Santalucía Seguros has been able to able to move from a policy-centric view to customer-centricity that helps in more personalized communications with customers. Read the full customer success story here, or watch the video here.
These 12 examples of customer success stories show how critical customer experience is l to your organization’s data transformation. Listen to your customers and value what they tell you to differentiate from your competition and stand out in the new world.
See how you get the most from your customer data strategy. Download the whitepaper, A Maturity Model for Customer 360 Data Strategies: Unifying, Analyzing and Governing Customer Data.
And feel free to connect with me on Twitter at @MDMGeek. I would love to hear your feedback and comments.