One of the things I enjoy most about my role at Informatica is meeting with people in all types of organizations and from all sorts of industries around the world. And while their business models and geographic locations may be wildly different, one thing is universally understood: to keep current customers and gain new ones, you must be able to provide an exceptional customer experience.
More than ever, customer experience plays a critical role in both initial and repeat purchase decisions, as well as customer advocacy and public perception of your brand or your company’s products or services. Can you think of the last time you bought something or went somewhere new without consulting Yelp or asking a trusted friend or family member? Most of us can’t.
Which means that, as far as your current customers or your future customers are concerned, it all comes down to how well you remove the friction from your processes and interactions—and that comes down to not only how well you understand them, but also how well-informed your teams are. So you need to not only understand how and why your customers choose your product or service; but also if your customer service, sales, finance or operations areas—and even chatbots—have the information they need to deliver an exceptional experience when engaging with customers.
But what makes an exceptional customer experience? Believe it or not, your customers are telling you exactly what they want—whether it’s the type of pillow they prefer whenever they stay with your hotel, the mortgages they’ve researched over the past couple of months, or the best way to reach them if you need to alert them to a last-minute change at the doctor’s office.
It’s all in your data.
You most likely feel that you already have quite a bit of information about your customer. And with every click or call, with each order or return, you can gain a little more knowledge and an opportunity to build a trusted relationship with them. Did they discuss a service issue with a chatbot? Register a complaint by email? Were they talking about your company on social media? Each interaction is a chance to discover just that much more about your customers. The trick is, of course, looking across these channels and stitching it together in a way that allows you to deliver intelligent and engaging customer experiences in real time.
For many companies, putting all of that data together—from the many different systems, channels and functions that exist throughout the organization, and in various stages of completeness and correctness—can be quite a daunting effort. And, to complicate things further, your customers are constantly changing how they interact with you. Every hour, more than 200 businesses will change addresses and 400+ business telephone numbers will change or be disconnected. In the next sixty minutes, nearly 6000 people will change jobs, and half as many will change their address. Before the hour is up, more than 500 people will get married and more than 250 will get divorced. It’s been calculated that nearly one third of your data degrades every year. This is a problem, because as data becomes less reliable, the people who use it lose trust in it, or will spend more time than they should to correct it. So, step one is creating a way to maintain your data and ensuring it’s up to date and remains trusted. Once that’s done, you have a foundation for a powerful 360-degree view.
Creating a data-driven customer experience means you are able to use relevant and trusted data to create an intelligent 360-degree view of your customer that resonates across your organization and is delivered to the teams that need it, where they need it, in their systems, channels, and functions. To create an even more powerful view of your customer, you can apply a hybrid of matching algorithms that mimic an expert human user to add real-time information to existing customer profiles—such as social, email, click stream, chat, analytics, or survey data.
This additional transaction, interaction and behavioral data offer up an even richer, more complete understanding of your customer, and give you better insights to create the next best experience—whether it’s being aware that your customer has a new baby and wants to make sure their insurance is up to date, knowing not to send an offer for a tourist attraction to someone traveling on business, or understanding that your customer doesn’t want to talk about refinancing a house that they plan to sell in three months.
The good news is that these insights are more accessible than ever. Customer intelligence systems (also called customer intelligence platforms) are purpose-built to connect your data so you can connect with your customers. Because they contextually match and synthesize your interaction, transaction, and behavioral data with your customer profile, customer intelligence systems can transform each experience, and use AI-driven customer insights to help you deliver that next best customer experience—not just once, but at scale across the organization. And, with an added layer of data governance, synthesis, and identity resolution, you finally gain the context from your raw data so you can take action on what’s important to your customers and isolate the trends and preferences that enable relationship discovery and deeper engagement.
If you’d like to know more about how these digital strategies are delivering differentiated and consistent customer experiences, visit our Customer Experience collection of curated content so you can bring your customers into focus and deliver the next best action, every time.