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Creating That Magic Moment Through Customer Experience

1David-Trice EngagecxDo you feel special when a company where you’ve just shopped sends you a personalized email, thanking you for your business? Probably? Maybe? Do you feel special when you get the same sort of email from every company where you’ve done business? Doubtful. It’s more likely that you’ve figured out that sending out “personalized” emails is now an automated process every company out there is doing.

This is the trap in which many companies today find themselves — trying to look like they have personal relationships with customers without truly getting to know them. And, while the intent is well meaning, the execution falls flat. Most of the time, customers can see right through it.

Instead of seeking out the appearance of personalization with customers, companies should focus on really getting to know their customers by putting customers and customer experience at the center of all business processes. The end goal is to empower employees to really know and understand each individual customer, so they can relate to them on a personal level right when it matters most — at the moment of engagement.

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Right. So the common response to this idea is: Putting customers at the center of all business processes sounds all well and good, but it also sounds incredibly expensive and hard-to-pull-off. Does technology fit into the equation? And what are the steps required to truly learn each customer? It all starts with understanding the customer lifecycle.

Building Customer Relationships: The Customer Lifecycle

The Customer Lifecycle is a straightforward concept — it represents the stages of engagement that the customer traverses in their relationship with a business. Every time a customer touches a business, no matter if it’s via a mobile device, over the Internet, or in a store, that engagement is a touch point along the customer journey.

Tracking, measuring, and understanding each touch point along the Customer Lifecycle helps businesses start to get to know customers and their likes and preferences. By understanding customer behavior at each lifecycle stage, a company can begin to put together an enriched profile of each customer and their journey. The customer lifecycle also enables a business to create metrics to help it understand how well the business is doing in meeting customers’ needs.

Measuring Customer Affinity

During the creation of enriched profiles for each customer, businesses need to be measuring how the customers react to each and every touch point. What is the relevance of a touch point in the eyes of a customer? Did the customer think an event was helpful? Did the event have an emotional impact that pushed them away from the brand? Did the event move a customer closer to buying? It’s important to frame and rank important reactions from customers at various touch points.

There’s a lot being done today to measure customer sentiment through traditional surveys, likes and shares, and the bottom line for businesses on how to best measure customer affinity is to increase both the frequency and the simplicity of capturing sentiment. Get away from the five-page surveys that no one wants to answer. Instead, make requests for feedback short and simple. Ask for less, but do it more frequently. Make it easier, yet more insightful as you gain visibility into sentiment over time.

Busting Company Silos To Improve Customer Relationships

Internal silos are the biggest roadblocks companies must overcome in order to deliver truly seamless customer experiences. Companies need to bust all the silos within their walls and, instead, need to look at themselves through the lens of the customer.

The customer doesn’t care that the web division has different processes than the call center. The customer sees the company as one single entity and expects the company’s left hand to know what the right hand is doing. He expects the call center associate to be able to see his profile on the company website. The first step in tearing down the silos that inhibit customer experience is learning how customers engage with a brand through the implementation of the customer lifecycle.

Empowering Employees At The Moment Of Engagement

So, you’ve tracked and measured the customer touch points to create customer lifecycles, you’ve measured the customer’s affinity with those touch points, and you’ve crashed through all the silos that impeded the flow of information about customers throughout the organization. Now what? Well, this is the moment where the magic happens. Employees must be empowered to leverage all of this information about the customer right when it matters most — at the moment of engagement.

Imagine being able to know who a customer is as soon as she enters the store, being able to change the visuals in the store according to her preferences, and giving an associate the power to greet her by name and steer her towards products in which she’s already shown interest through past touch points. This is what creating a truly personalized experience is all about. And the good news is: companies don’t have to break the bank to achieve this level of personalization.

The new technologies, including customer-driven CRM, available in the marketplace allow smaller competitors to deliver truly personalized experiences without disrupting existing systems and incurring huge price tags. It is this ability to deliver on customer experience that will be the best creator of loyalty and sustained customer value in today’s constantly evolving retail atmosphere.


 

David Trice is co-founder and CEO of ENGAGE.cx, the leading experience-driven CRM for enterprise. Prior to launching ENGAGE.cx Trice was VP of CRM at Oracle, where he led the launch of Oracle’s Fusion CRM.

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