It’s time for John’s annual summer vacation — his bags are packed, he’s put in his request for time off, and he heads to the airport. In the taxi, he tries to check-in online and the web portal is down. When he’s checking in in person, he realizes he’s been given a middle seat instead of the aisle seat he paid extra for. His frequent flier program isn't giving him points for this flight because he used his work email to book it.
As he waits at his gate, John vows to never fly on Grimshank Airlines again.
Everyone has had an experience similar to John. One awful episode is enough to make customers swear off a brand for life, and the best companies win the hearts of their customers by delivering personalized experiences in the moment. As brands continue to expand the ways they interact with people, they need to think about customer experience at every step. The days of single channel are gone — consumers expect to be engaged the way they want across mobile, email, customer service, and anywhere else your brand has a presence.
Your ability to compete as a brand is defined by the level of holistic customer experience across all channels. But to treat your customers the way they desire, you have to truly understand them first.
Know your customers in every channel
The digital customer experience (DCX) is incredibly important — companies rely on DCX to grow their revenue and customer base, improve retention metrics, and strengthen brand value. Businesses that truly understand their patrons use that knowledge to create the outcomes they want, for example higher ROI, or boosted loyalty. In a world where people are just as likely to interact with a brand on a screen as in person, businesses have to excel to catch the attention of consumers.
Even though brands know the crucial importance of DCX, marketing executives say that they still don’t feel they understand their customers’ behavior the way they need to. Data from CMSWire’s annual survey on the state of digital customer experience find there are abundant opportunities around to learn more about consumer behavior and orchestration. A mere 18% of those surveyed felt they truly understood their customers’ digital behavior, and the majority believed they only had a moderate understanding.
Though the numbers may appear disheartening, being further from the goal means there are more opportunities for improvement.
Knowing your customer and then using what you know about them across channels lets them enjoy a smooth brand experience as they toggle between in-person, online, mobile app, and whenever else they might find you. But problems often crop up when it comes to really knowing your customers. How can brands tackle this problem?
Tim Barnes, the AWS Industries and Solutions Director for Advertising & Marketing, shares, “Delivering seamless experiences starts with breaking down silos, being deliberate with your data, and adding the tools and technologies that can keep pace with today’s environment."
Brooks Running, a joint AWS and Amperity customer, always wanted to put the runner first but they didn't have access to the insights needed to put their dreams into play. Without a single view of the customers, they were unable to identify their customers’ needs and effectively personalize, and on top of that, their masses of data were stuck in silos.
With the help of Amperity and AWS, they gained a unified view of the runner and began to put their customer-centric mindset into practice. They identified that cross-selling single-category shoe buyers into apparel had a dramatic impact on profitability and customer lifetime value, and pinpointed customers who preferred buying apparel so they could fine-tune personalization and optimize ad spend on the right audiences.
A seamless digital experience looks a little something like this:
Sarah can’t wait to get to Bermuda and sunbathe on the beach. On the train on the way to the airport, she checks-in online and her e-ticket is delivered to her phone with just a few easy taps. Because she’s saved so much time by checking in virtually, she browses the duty-free shops and has a pre-flight snack. Then she gets a notification that there’s been a gate change — but with the update being beamed directly to her phone, there’s no sudden scramble or need to decipher garbled loudspeaker announcements. When she boards the plane, the flight attendant greets her by name and hands her a complimentary drink.
As she puts on her headphones and settles in, Sarah decides that from now on, she will only ever fly with Amityville Airlines… so when she logs into the wifi and gets the offer to join their loyalty program and earn a bunch of bonus points for signing up in-flight, she’s happy to join.
Be on your A-game
Be your customers’ favorite brand by providing them with the best experiences possible, wherever they are. Limited behavioral data, data silos, and outdated technology give brands a view of the customer that’s at best limited, and at worst, incorrect. To build a holistic and customer-centric view of your customer, the journey they’re on, and what they’re trying to accomplish, you must combine all the data you already have with relevant real-time behavioral signals and smart technology that provides nuanced personalization options.
For more information on solving for identity and why it’s vital to digital customer experience, download our whitepaper on optimizing tools for customer insights.