Adaptation has been a constant from day dot in the retail and technology space. The introduction of online stores and a quarter-century of mobile phone development have a lot to answer for when it comes to how modern consumers discover and buy products.
As the years have gone by, we’ve transitioned from shopping on the main street to venturing to suburban malls, witnessing the rise of superstores like Target and category killers like Bunnings. As well as their decline and evolution (here), as the likes of Amazon and ASOS have redefined how we shop.
This physical shift has been mirrored in the more abstract progression of customer expectations. No longer it is enough to provide goods and services – these are not equal to customer satisfaction. Instead, businesses must construct and deliver a total package, whereby the memory itself becomes the product. Or, “The Experience”.
Research from PWC shows that 42 per cent of consumers would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience, and 52 per cent would pay more for efficient customer service. In the day-to-day of eCommerce, it’s easy to imagine that success is minimal bugs, delivering on time, on budget, with successful integration and minimal divergence from requirements. When we come from “an experience” lense instead, customer empathy becomes our bread and butter. Why? Because it provides context.
It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that ongoing brand relationships are not happening in one environment, although we know they’re not. Brands tangle themselves up with different versions of a customer across eCommerce, email marketing, in-store point of sale, customer service and internal reporting identities with nothing quite matching up.
The result? No single trustworthy and accurate view of the customer. No context. Sure, solving this from a marketing point of view is essential, but solving this from a customer point of view is even more critical.
As a customer, I don’t care that there’s a fundamental difference between an online order and an in-store transaction, or that there’s a different manager in charge, I care that:
- My time feels valued
- I can pick up where I left off
- I’m not asked the same question twice
- It’s not difficult to achieve my goal
- Value is delivered
Customer experience is predicted to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the year 2020 (KPMG’s Global Retail Trends 2018). But already, the way customers think about the experience has a direct correlation with revenue growth (Forrester Research). With more choice than ever before, online and offline, customers will go wherever the best experience is – and they’re willing to pay more for it.
With a single customer view, meeting these growing customer expectations becomes achievable. A holistic profile will cover attributes, preferences, transactions and interaction history from ALL channels. From these foundations, brands can determine who their best customers are and how best to nurture those relationships, but more importantly, when this view is available to the customer and the people who serve them, trust becomes the basis of an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship.
This is a task often seen as to monumental by agencies and clients alike, but the risk in forfeiting this view is also considerable. As an industry defined by adaptability, context becomes the precursor to long term success, and when we forfeit context we forfeit success.
Need help getting started? Talk to the MindArc team about getting started with the Omneo CX suite.