by Kate Kompelien
How well do you know your customers? Are you aware of the different demographics they fit, and what those demographics need from your organization? Have you developed a holistic understanding of their preferences that enables you to deliver the seamless, hyper-personalized experiences they not only expect, but also deserve?
In order to deliver exceptional customer experiences, customer-centricity is key, but building it requires knowing your customers inside and out. This means gathering data, gleaning insights from that data, and executing on those insights in meaningful ways.
Once you’ve leveraged customer data to develop a 360-degree understanding of your consumer, then you’ll be ready to drive advances in related technology solutions. And once you’ve invested in the right technology improvements, you’ll be prepared to deliver customer experiences that differentiate your business from the competition.
1. Ongoing Data Collection
Since the first step to delivering better experiences is developing your customer understanding, you’re going to need as much data as you can get. Prioritize the ongoing collection and analysis of data, not only to improve your understanding but also to prepare you to adapt to any shift in your customers’ needs of preferences.
Some of the most effective customer data points and collection strategies include:
- Customer journey mapping
- Social media data collection and analytics
- Voice of the Customer programs
- Focus groups and individual interviews
- Automated data management
- CRM data
- Observation and shadowing
- Third-party data enrichment
- Behavioral data collection
Ideally, you want to pull data on a broad range of customer behaviors and preferences, both from your own internal systems and from public sources – this will help give you a holistic understanding of customer behavior inside and outside of your organization.
Data is an essential tool for deepening your understanding of your customers, and technology solutions are a great way to help you gather more data, faster and more consistently, without having to devote much manpower to the process.
Technologies like AI, customer data platforms, and robotics (RPA) continue to evolve and integrate with one another. More than ever before, these tools are working together, giving way to an era in which data can be collected and analyzed in mere minutes, which enables organizations to deliver more relevant, hyper-personalized customer experiences.
Struggling with understanding who your customers are?
2. Use Data to Inform Your Technology Investments
The data you gathered in the previous step isn’t just useful for customer insights – it should also inform your technology investments. Utilizing the data you already have, you can identify what improvements could be made to your data collection and analysis process, and apply your investment accordingly.
It’s worth doing an overview of your process to figure out where your investment would be most effective. Some questions to ask yourself:
- What gaps exist in our process?
- How easy is it for our customer service agents to access the information they need?
- Where are we lacking the visibility into data and insights we need?
- Are our systems siloed and impacting our ability to get a holistic picture of our customers?
- What friction might exist for our customers?
- How can we make interacting with our brand easier?
- What technology is missing to help us ensure our data is meaningful?
Once you know what you need, you can consider your options. For example, a robust solution like Microsoft Customer Insights can simplify and speed up the collection and analysis of actionable customer data and insights, so you can deliver better experiences in less time.
3. Use Data and Technology to Deliver Personalized Experiences
The purpose of all this data gathering and any technological investments should be delivering more personalized customer experiences. Leveraging data helps you establish a more well-rounded picture of your customers’ wants and needs, which in turn enables you to deliver targeted messages and offers that take personalization far beyond addressing your customer by name.
When you’re able to build conclusions around the wants and needs of your individual customers and targeted segments, you’re able to understand your customers at a micro and macro level. Customer understanding, and the empathy it leads to, is the key to delivering experiences that make your customers feel seen and understood. Those become your customers’ last best experiences that leave a lasting, positive impression on your customer and have a direct impact on your bottom line.
Data collection is just the beginning. The more data you gather, and the more areas of the customer experience that data covers, the more insights you’ll be able to glean. With the right technology investments to help you streamline the process and get more out of your customer data, you’ll set your organization up to deliver memorable customer experiences.
Our team at Avtex has extensive experience guiding our clients through this process and helping them get the most out of their data. If you’d like a hand implementing these best practices and delivering experiences that set you apart in the market, reach out today.