When it comes to customer experience, there is a clear disconnect between what consumers want and what brands are delivering. According to a recent Harris Poll survey, commissioned by RedPoint Global, 92 percent of marketers state that their company’s ability to deliver an exceptional customer experience (CX) is good or excellent. However, most consumers feel otherwise – with 73 percent reporting that brands struggle to meet their expectations.
Consumers increasingly expect personalized interactions that are delivered in a consistent omnichannel way while also respecting their privacy. Marketers understand the need to prioritize CX to better meet each consumer’s expectation. However, barriers get in the way that prevents them from executing their strategies successfully. In fact, the research also showed that 63% of marketers feel their company is failing to execute customer strategies very well.
The following are a few key elements to help marketers bridge the gap between CX strategy and execution:
Know all That is Knowable About Customers to Personalize Experiences
Consumers’ attention spans are shrinking. At the same time, they are bombarded with more and more brand messages. How can you not only stand out from the noise but also capture their attention in a relevant, meaningful way? The answer is Personalization. According to the same survey, 63 percent of consumers said they expect personalization as a standard of service.
Consumers want brands to understand them. It’s no longer acceptable to serve up an ad for something the consumer has already bought or to recommend a product that is completely irrelevant to their interests. Brands are expected to be helpful and relevant – and the bar for personalization continues to be raised. To achieve this, it’s crucial to have a single view of the customer –a “Golden Record” that includes customer data from every source and type. A persistently updated, real-time golden record is the foundation for creating a personalized customer experience.
Having this information accessible and available in real-time and in one view is the key to capturing a consumer in the moment – the second they connect on a website or walk in a retail location, for example, and ensures that a marketer never serves up disjointed, irrelevant, and inconsistent messages that results in a poor experience and a dissatisfied customer.
Maintain Trust by Respecting Data Privacy
While collecting and using consumer data to personalize experiences is important, brands must ensure they are respectful of Data Privacy. Consumers are more likely to disengage with a brand that fails to outline how data is used and stored. In fact, our survey with the Harris Poll found that transparency and data control are essential for nearly one-third of consumers.
When a company is transparent about how a customer’s data is being collected, stored, and used, the customer is more apt to share the personal data that is necessary to personalize the experience. Yet even if customers trust that their personal information is primarily being used to personalize experiences, they also want some level of control. To successfully strike the right balance between Privacy and Personalization, marketers must ensure their organization is ethically collecting and protecting data and has a strategy in place for making it actionable in a way that benefits the consumer.
Overcome Technology Challenges
To meet customer expectations for both Personalization and Data Privacy, marketers are adopting more technology. The overwhelming majority of marketers surveyed (91 percent) said that investing in Marketing Technology (MarTech) is a key initiative for their company. However, most (86 percent) also reported that their existing MarTech stack currently prevents them from managing omnichannel customer experience.
While technology is intended to solve problems and help foster enhanced CX, integrations are often costly and labor-intensive to manage. Marketers cited a lack of data integration among systems and lagging in cadence among channels (i.e., not real-time or contextually aware) as other challenges their technology presents.
Despite these challenges, marketers remain optimistic. An overwhelming 96 percent believe their CX strategy will evolve in the next year. The top three ways they expect this will happen is by:
- Applying additional resources to better understand customer behavior and preferences
- Embracing new channels for customer interaction
- Accelerating customer data initiatives
Consumers are clear about their expectations for personalized customer experience, and marketers are equally clear about the current barriers and challenges to deliver on those expectations. To close the gap between strategy and execution, marketers have their marching orders. Prioritizing both Personalization and Data Privacy are key, ensuring any data that is shared is used to enhance the customer experience.
Having the right technology solutions with an open garden approach is also essential, enabling customer engagement systems and data to connect in ways that overcome the silos. Consumers will not wait for brands to catch up, so the time to close this gap is now – before customers move on to a competitor.