customer journey

Improving Marketing Experiences With Customer Data

Guest Post from Presented By: Amanda Winstead

What’s one practice your 21st-century business can’t do without?

Our answer is data collection.

Gathering customer data, in particular, can help you hone your customer service strategy, better your sales techniques, and improve the marketing experience you’re providing to your customers.

We’ll talk specifically about the connection between customer data and the marketing experience in this article. When you collect data about your customers, you can make huge strides in your marketing strategy.

For example, you can create content that resonates with them and drives conversions. You can tailor your digital channel experiences to guide them to the next step of the customer journey. You can also learn about your repeat customers and create a specific marketing strategy for customer retention. 

Read on for more about improving your customers’ marketing experiences with data. 

Grow What You Know About Your Customers

Better marketing experiences come when you know your customers. In addition, because their needs, wants, and desires will evolve, you must continue learning about your customers to make effective changes to your marketing strategy. 

For instance, let’s say you collected data on your customers’ content consumption today. You learn they’re educating themselves on sustainability more and interacting with brands that highlight this value.

You can then start showcasing your business’s commitments to sustainability in your marketing content. You could also send your customers sustainable marketing swag, sweatshirts made from ethically-sourced materials, or notebooks created from recycled products to show the depth of your sustainability commitments.

Use your analytics tools to collect the following data to learn about your audience continually: 

  • What are my target audience’s current values? Have they changed since the last set of data?
  • Which digital channels are my target audience using the most?
  • How has their engagement on social media evolved?
  • Which media and content types are my target audience consuming regularly?
  • How many visitors are interacting with my brand for the first time? How many visitors are recurring?
  • How does my target audience make purchases today?
  • Are there any noteworthy changes to the customer journey?
  • Is there any new demographic information about my target audience? 

Customer data can also help you ensure your marketing efforts spread throughout the entire customer journey.

Ensure Your Marketing Efforts Extend to the Entire Customer Journey

Each of your customers will experience their relationship with your business differently. However, generally, they’ll move through the following stages with your business: 

  • Connection- how they’re introduced to your business
  • Cultivation- the relationship starts to develop between you and the potential customer
  • Consideration- they’re considering all solutions to their challenge, including your business 
  • Conversion- they choose your business’s product/service as their solution
  • Continuation- how the relationship continues after the first purchase  

For your customers to have the best experience with your business, you must ensure your marketing efforts extend to the entire customer journey. By collecting customer data on how various people move through their buyer’s journey with your business, you can learn what’s necessary marketing-wise to aid the journey.

Be sure to implement a data collection strategy that uses artificial intelligence tools. You’ll be able to collect vast data sets better and accurately filter the data. From there, you can analyze the information, extract valuable insights from it, and use those insights to improve how you market to your customers at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

You can also create better content and learn the best ways to share it with your particular audience with customer data.

Create Better Content and Learn Best Practices for Sharing it

One of the best ways to boost your marketing efforts is to create original content and share it with your target audience in their favorite places.

By collecting customer data on the kind of content your customer consumes, the platforms they consume it on, and how they best absorb the information, your content creation and distribution methods will work with your target audience more often.   

Use your data collection tools to gather the following information about your customers and content and improve the content marketing experience: 

  • Comments left and the quality of them 
  • What content is attracting new customers
  • Which CTAs are driving the most conversions
  • What content is resonating with current customers
  • If re-purposing content is working with your target audience
  • If your visuals and videos are a factor in driving conversions
  • How often your content is shared over various digital channels
  • Which digital channels your customers engage with your content the most on  

Improve Customer Retention

So many marketers focus most of their strategy on attracting new customers. This is a mistake because most of your business will come from current customers. Gathering data on repeat customers can help you create a marketing strategy specific to customer retention efforts.

Use your data analytics tools to collect information on repeat customers, like: 

  • Why repeat customers love your brand
  • How repeat customers make purchases
  • How the buyer’s journey differs for repeat customers
  • What the most popular products are among repeat customers
  • Demographics that are different from the rest of your customers
  • Which marketing strategies and tactics attract repeat customers
  • How repeat customers prefer to be rewarded for continuous purchases   

You can create marketing content that speaks directly to your repeat customers with data like the above. You can also make better use of the digital marketing channels they frequent. Furthermore, you can create a loyalty program that rewards customers in the ways you’ve learned they like to be rewarded and use this as an additional platform to drive customer retention.

Conclusion  

The fastest and most efficient way to improve marketing experiences is to collect customer data and use what you learn to make productive adjustments to your strategies, techniques, and tactics. Use the tips above to help you collect accurate data about your customers and modify your marketing to favor them. 

What New Paths Will Companies Take to Shape the Customer Journey in the Years to Come?

As the time-honored adage puts it, ‘a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.’ These days, the journey a customer takes when engaging with a company may be far more geographically limited but usually starts with a lot more steps. The ever-evolving customer journey incorporates varying interactions and experiences that take place on different touchpoints: a website visit for research, a call with a sales rep or chat with an agent, a conversation on social media or online review site, an inbound call, and even an in-store retail encounter.

It has become more important than ever for a business to take advantage of every possible resource to understand its customers: their wants, needs, and expectations, their thoughts and opinions and feedback and expectations. Building this knowledge will enable companies to deliver the highly personalized customer experiences that are becoming more crucial all the time in an increasingly competitive marketplace where consumers are offered a constantly growing array of options.

Given access to vast resources of data and technology, the customer journey today has morphed dramatically from where it was even five or ten years ago. And every company’s success depends upon combining the right technologies with the agility needed to effectively manage all the interactions that take place on every channel along the way.

Gazing into the future, which often-predicted developments will come to pass? Will the migration to the cloud finally encompass all businesses and make service more responsive? Will messaging ultimately surpass voice as the communication channel that is most compelling for businesses and consumers alike? Will digital transformation extend its reach deeper into the contact center environment to better leverage profile data, more closely examine customer feedback, and measure sentiment? Will customers expect greater availability of agent support that involves the use of screenshots, photos and video? And how will the growing use of AI-powered solutions progress, both in terms of those that provide more effective self-service options and those that support the development of more highly specialized agents?

Of course, no one can foresee every possible path the customer journey will take in the coming years, but CX and contact center executives and managers have an opportunity to get a cogent vision of many of the most important changes in an upcoming complimentary roundtable webcast on CrmXchange. On Thursday, December 5, at 1:00PM ET, NICE Nexidia and RingCentral will team up to explore “Smooth Customer Journey- Predictions for 2020 and Beyond.

Ken Brisco, Senior Product Marketing Manager, NICE Nexidia, who is responsible for establishing the scope and message as well as the competitive advantages of NICE’s Customer Journey Optimization Solutions within the CX space will be joined by RingCentral’s John Finch, AVP PMM, Customer Engagement, an executive with an extensive background in developing strategy for global customer engagement. Among the topics they will cover are:

  • How AI-driven analytics can boost customer loyalty and retention
  • The importance of measuring quality across all channels
  • In what ways bots are best able to collaborate with humans
  • How macro to micro-level journey analysis drives deeper insights into customer engagement

Register now for this insightful look into which near-future developments may change the way your organization helps to orchestrate the customer experience. If you are unable to attend on December 5, you can access the recorded version approximately 24 hours after the live presentation.

 

Customer Journey KPIs Every Contact Center Should Track

 

The customer journey can be a difficult thing to map and understand. With so many touchpoints along the journey, the map isn’t predictable and linear, yet it’s still necessary to monitor and analyze. These Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will help you gain insight from the customer journey and move on to improve it.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Even if a customer prefers self-service to live agent support, they don’t necessarily want to put a ton of effort into solving their own issue. Self-service shouldn’t be a difficult-to-implement alternative to normal customer support. Instead, it should meet the needs of the type of customer who seeks out self-service via quick, easy-to-find answers and the ability to make changes sans agent assistance.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Some of the most important customer journey touchpoints will occur when the customer interacts with a support agent. CSAT is the measure of the customer’s satisfaction before, during and after they contact customer service. If CSAT scores are dropping, it may be time to look closely at agent productivity, ticket management and self-service options.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The NPS will tell you if your customers are going to recommend your products and services to others. You have to go deeper here, though – why will your customers recommend your products and services, or what it is that’s keeping them from doing so?

Customer Churn / Retention Rate

Customer support teams for subscription-based products and services have to pay special attention to retention rate. If you see a lot of customers leaving around renewal time, it’s necessary to figure out why you lost them. What part of the customer journey is causing customers to change their mind? There’s a snag somewhere.

Customer Success

Customer Success isn’t a single KPI, but instead a customized KPI program based on your specific business, customers and goals. A Customer Success strategy may include Up- and Cross-Sell Rates; Average Revenue per Customer; or Rate of Adoption, which starts with defining beginner, intermediate and advanced customers or users. You may also want to include Retention Rate, NPS and CES in your customer success KPIs. Think of Customer Success as an overarching customer journey strategy based on what success means for you.

Customer journey KPIs may be difficult to track, but they come with a big benefit – often, improving one will have a positive impact on another.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself About Touchpoint Effectiveness

After you’ve mapped the customer journey, look closely at each touchpoint. Mastering each touchpoint makes a brand a great competitor while improving customer loyalty and enthusiasm. Ask the following questions to make sure you’re being as efficient as possible.

1. What specifics are occurring at each touchpoint? What are both the brand and the customer doing at each touchpoint?

2. Are the touchpoints addressing the customer’s needs and concerns? Are questions being answered?

3. Are the touchpoints working together for the brand’s target audience, including novices, experts and everyone in between?

4. Are there needs that aren’t being met by your brand or by your competitors? Is this a gap that your business is able to fill?

5. Is the same branding being used across all touchpoints? This includes tone, message, buzz words, and voice.

6. Are there problems with flow from one touchpoint to the next? Is this causing the brand to lose customers or is it causing dissatisfaction, such as product returns or extra help line calls?

7. Are your brand’s touchpoints different or better than those of your competitors?

Attend the ‘Shaping the Journey of the Connected Customer’ Virtual Conference March 16 – 19 to help you answer these questions.

How Creating Value and the Customer Experience Affect Business Outcomes

Often, people confuse the customer journey with the selling process. While the sales process is focused on how to get a buyer to purchase a product or service, the customer journey provides value and takes into account all of the questions and needs that must be answered and met along the way. According to Forrester, 21% of businesses base how well they’re handling customer experience on the business outcome (if they make a sale, for example). However, customers have to go through their journey at their own pace with plenty of content and support agents to help them along.

According to Forrester, between 70% and 90% of the buyer’s journey is finished before ever communicating with a vendor. While 80% of businesses feel that they provide a great customer experience, only 8% of customers agree. If you’re not one of those rare brands with customers who are truly enjoying their journey, it’s necessary to improve the customer experience you’re offering.

The Importance of Creating Value

According to 2014’s Marketing Performance Management Study, Best-in-Class (BIC) marketing companies create value by applying the follow best practices:

• They map touchpoints, taking note of possible problems.

• They look at each touchpoint to capture data regarding customer perception and expectation.

• They apply the customer experience and related metrics to business outcome.

• They create tools, processes, content, and systems to offer customers a differentiated journey.

James Allen’s Three Ds of Exceptional Customer Service

In an article for the Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge for Business Leaders, James Allen, Barney Hamilton, and Frederick F. Reichheld defined three elements that set apart the elite 8% of companies that deliver a superior customer experience.

1. “They design the right offers and experiences for the right customers.”

2. “They deliver these propositions by focusing the entire company on them with an emphasis on cross-functional collaboration.”

3. “They develop their capabilities to please customers again and again – by such means as revamping the planning process, training people in how to create new customer propositions, and establishing direct accountability for the customer experience.”

How Business Outcomes are Affected by Customer Experience

A brand won’t be able to reach its business outcome goals (repeat purchases, customer lifetime value, and brand preference, for example) if they don’t focus on customer experience. BIC companies realize that what happens before the sale is just as important as what happens after the sale.

Tips for Mapping Customer Touchpoints

In order to achieve business outcomes, successful brands understand that they have to develop a customer-centric outlook on the customer experience. Throughout the journey, touchpoints must be matched with breakpoints, which are the interactions that decide whether or not the customer becomes loyal or maintains loyalty. These four tips can be applied to customer journey mapping, with importance paid to touchpoints.

1. Universal Touchpoints: At first, map out universal touchpoints, which are ones that can be applied to all of your brand’s customers. Eventually, you’ll create more specific experience maps with more distinct touchpoints.

2. Detail Each Touchpoint: Make a list of touchpoints and pay extra attention to the ones that serve as breakpoints. For each one, include a description, interaction method, and customer expectation. At this step, you may need to get other people from the organization involved. Many organizations find it helpful to collaborate with their customer advisory board when mapping the customer journey. Working sessions and interviews will help capture data about customer expectations.

3. Visualize the Touchpoints: Visually illustrate the customer journey map, including flow from one touchpoint to the next. Having a visual will help you to see areas that work well and also areas that need to be improved. Spend extra time with the touchpoints that act as breakpoints.

4. Further Customize Each Touchpoint: Based on the data that was gathered throughout the mapping process, brands should revisit each touchpoint and further develop content that’s more relevant to the customer.

Competition, price transparency, and short product lifecycles mean that customer expectations are regularly changing. Improving the customer experience and fine-tuning the customer journey is an ongoing process.

Register for ‘Shaping the Journey of the Connected Customer’ Virtual Conference March 16 – 19 to learn more about Customer Touchpoints.  Attendance is free.