Digital technologies have given customers unprecedented power to dictate the terms of purchase, to the point that instant gratification has become the norm. Customers expect the same kind of immediacy, personalization, and convenience in all their interactions with a brand. Therefore, companies must understand customer-behavior and be ready to cope with the demands created by multiple customer touch points. Failure to deliver personalized customer experiences at the right time, on the right channels can lead to customer churn and even business demise.
The question is, how can personalized services be provided in a highly digital-driven world? How can an organization deliver a connected, consistent experience across all touch points? More importantly, how can companies balance human and digital interactions to deliver an enhanced user experience while strictly adhering to privacy regulations?
The answers to these pertinent questions lie in identifying and transforming the customer journey management process. For customer journey mapping and personalization to succeed, the entire organization must be aligned to the goal of ensuring that every customer’s journey with the brand is delightful and beneficial. It also involves getting rid of a non-collaborative culture and improving disjointed processes and systems working in silos. To achieve this, it is important for organizations to address broader issues like traditional channel fatigue and ubiquitous connectivity. The backstage functions should also be aware of system and technical issues to be able to identify where customers are “stuck or lost.”
Approach To Customer Journey Mapping And Personalization
The majority of personalization efforts by organizations have been an ‘inside out’ approach, which typically involves content deployment based on customers’ purchase history, preferences or any other implicit behavior. This customization is meant to target customers with the right offers at appropriate times. The ‘inside out’ approach also aims to cross-sell and upsell, and is systems-driven.
However, once we think from a customer’s perspective and take an ‘outside in’ approach, personalization efforts are refocused to cover a range of emotional needs. This innovative personalization approach addresses the basic psychological drivers like bonding and attachment, learning and growth, desire to feel in control and security for uncertainties.
Customer Journey And Personalization Management: The Key To Better Customer Engagement
With an ‘outside in’ approach to personalization in mind, here are three ways to improve customer engagement.
1. Focus on end-to-end customer journeys
Disruptions in the customer purchase process and other critical success factors are uncovered through effective customer journey management. This approach places the customer at the center and offers organizations the ability to hear and act upon inputs from customers, employees and the larger business environment.
By shaping the customers’ experiences (CX) at each stage of the buying cycle using different channels, companies can influence customers’ perception toward their brands and also uncover various aspects of customer behavior, thoughts, feelings and preferences in new ways.
Customer journey mapping also enables companies to identify gaps and disjointed or frustration points in customers’ experience with the brand. For example, common pain points are gaps between the devices, channels, departments and customer communication. Effective customer journey mapping or personalization ensures contact center transformation solutions leverage journey mapping and analytics-enabled Artificial Intelligence (AI). This helps retailers understand customer behavior and associated patterns to predict future needs and formulate a proactive, customized approach to achieve customer engagement.
2. Standard vs. Personalized Experiences
Amongst the key pillars of customer experience, which include personalization, integrity, expectations, resolution, time and effort, and empathy, personalization has the most significant impact on advocacy and loyalty. While it is important to advance all pillars to deliver an excellent experience, the priority should be on personalization. This means demonstrating that you understand the customer’s specific needs and circumstances, and will adapt the experience accordingly. For example, using the customer’s name, past history of interactions and preferences all give a personal touch. Customers form an emotional connection with the brand and eventually might also become brand advocates.
Leading companies are using individualized attention to drive an emotional connection. Companies like Netflix, Amazon and Uber are investing in AI algorithms for recommending personalized content. AI-led solutions improve personalization using ‘deep learning’ — a method of organizing content to reflect how the brain works. These companies have cleverly put customers in control, giving them the freedom to choose the way they want to interact with their brands.
3. Focus Self-Service
Within the next few years, the majority of customer interactions are likely to be managed with minimal human intervention. Therefore, it is important for staff to be trained on process capability and functional and technical aspects to be able to cover end-to-end customer journeys. This is integral to a customer experience strategy and ensures that the right products and solutions are delivered.
To keep up with advancements and manage volumes of customer activity better, companies also need to deploy newer customer engagement solutions, such as digital CX, Natural Language Processing (NLP)-enabled intelligent chatbots, voice biometric authentication and cognitive capabilities. Organizations can deploy self-service content (including videos, FAQs, interactive manuals, etc.) and digital channels (like chatbots, voice bots, etc.) to further enhance personalization and win customer loyalty. Integrating digital channels with social media also offers better convenience and speed to the customers.
There is often a very thin line between a good experience and a bad one. A single interaction — big or small — is all it takes to lose a potential loyal customer. To that end, companies must invest in delivering delightful experiences through consistent and connected customer experience, work to understand customer needs across the journey and personalize what is delivered. In the end, an organization’s genuine efforts toward personalization are likely to be reciprocated with customer loyalty.
Deepak Moudgil is Global Head – Go To Market, Enterprise Business, Wipro Digital Operations and Platforms (DO&P). Moudgil is an accomplished IT/ITeS professional with over 20 years of international and diverse industry exposure. He has expertise in telecom, consumer, utilities domain, platform and processes, providing digital and business enterprise transformation solutions for global clients.