In a recent article we talked about the widening gap in Europe in customer experience maturity. We thought it would be helpful to decode the strategies that CX leaders use to break away from the pack. Our focus in this article is on leveraging real-time customer data to provide richer, meaningful end-to-end customer experiences at every touchpoint. Insights on identity, interactions, behaviour and attitudes that help you identify, and predict, CX issues and opportunities. —Before going any further, thank you Corinna Klaes for your invaluable feedback.
Why now, and why in real time?
Brands have unprecedented access to customer data and digital footprints. In our always-on world, customers expect businesses to do something with this knowledge that’s in their interests. They know what their data’s worth. And they want something tailored, meaningful and relevant in return for sharing it. This is the value exchange that underpins informal ‘data contracts’.
Customers are also growing tired of surveys. Think about the number of surveys you’re asked to complete each week. As a leader, you may diligently complete all of them. However, you are also aware that the information you provide has its limitations – it’s reactive and high-level, with minimal real-time application. Fortunately, there are a few organizations that stand out in their utilization of this information and in incorporating customer feedback into their products and services. Data latency in any form can pose a risk to your business, but it can also be a tremendous advantage.
The companies setting the standards on analytics are listening, hearing and reacting in real time. They gain immediate insights into customer preferences, behaviour, and purchasing patterns to enhance their experience. CX pioneers boost their capabilities by investing in customer data platforms (CDPs) to give them a unified, 360-degree view of customers – across devices, channels, location, culture and time.
Agile, cross-functional teams – marketing, sales, customer services and contact centres, operations, product teams, tech and PR have access to instant, actionable insights. They are driven by rapid data-oriented factual decision making
Leaders go beyond meeting the functional and emotional needs that are the hallmark of a good experience. Insights from real-time data enable them to offer a unique, personalised experience: tailored messages, offers, recommendations, and interactions – in the moment and at scale, This is the hallmark of a great customer experience. This level of personalisation increases customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy = sustained growth.
Real-time data analytics and CDP adoption are gaining traction in Europe and across the globe
IT leaders last year told IDC that investing in technology to achieve real-time decision making was a top priority. This year is no different. Start where you are. You’re already collecting masses of data to give you actionable real-time insights. You probably already have a 190-degree view of your customers. If you’re thinking about how a CDP solution could help you work towards a unified, 360-degree view to give stakeholders across your organisation insights in the moment, read on. We later highlight some aspects to think about when doing your research, and four examples of the types of solutions on the market. First, let’s explore some of the ways real-time data can transform your CX.
Personalisation at scale
Businesses are improving their data analytics capabilities. But, by their own admission many still have work to do to add personalised value at scale – in the moment, and over the course of a customer’s life. This is at odds with customer expectations. As we mentioned earlier, customers know the value of their data. They want to be seen as individuals. They want companies to demonstrate that they know them and understand their individual detailed preferences.
AI, automation and machine learning mean solutions are available to meet these expectations – at scale. It’ll be worth it. According to McKinsey, organisations that leverage real-time data to personalise customer interactions can achieve revenue and retention by 10 to 30%. Marketing becomes to 10 to 20% more efficient and costs are reduced.
Minimize scattering loss through personalized real-time offerings
Scatter loss keeps marketers awake at night. Minimizing the number of contacts that aren’t in a target group and not interested in your products and services is another top priority. Personalized real-time offerings significantly reduce wastage. Scatter loss is a major drag on the effectiveness of your campaigns and communications and ROI can be diminished.
Improve the omnichannel experience
Real-time data enables businesses to provide a seamless omnichannel experience for customers. By collecting and analysing data from various touchpoints, such as website visits, mobile app usage, social media interactions, and customer service interactions, companies can ensure consistent and personalised experiences across channels.
Leverage predictive modelling
Leveraging predictive models helps you anticipate customer behaviors and preferences. By analyzing real-time data, organizations can identify buying patterns, predict churn, and optimise their marketing strategies.
Predictive analytics also mean preempting and predicting issues or upsell and cross-sell opportunities. The more complete the customer view – the more accurate the predictions. (More on this in a moment).
Serve and react in the moment with a CX mindset
By capturing real-time data, you can proactively, and promptly, identify and resolve customer issue. If there’s one thing that makes customers frustrated it’s having to repeat their information every time they speak with a customer service representative – on the same channel. On a different channel. Also use real-time status updates for services / complaints.
Quickly identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities
Set real-time triggers to engage customers at the right moment. A customer buying car insurance might also be interested in personalized products offered by partners. If a car breaks down, real-time assistance is imperative to customer perceptions of your brand as oI mentioned in previous articles.
McKinsey found that by deploying product recommendations and triggered communications within singular channels, personalization leaders reported a 10 to 30% increase in marketing-spend efficiency. Leaders also take this one step further by doing this in real time.
Be more human and inject empathy into interactions
If questions and queries are answered and resolved in the moment – by a person, chatbot or via online chat, this frees up capacity for your customer service representatives to do the heavy lifting on more complex interactions, and provide the human touch and empathetic support that customers seek and it serves any sector or company the empathy applies anywhere as Dr. Natalie Petouhoff and Tony Bates, CEO at Genesys stated in their great book ‘’Empathy in Action’’.
Take the pulse of customer sentiment
What are your customers experiencing right now? Real-time intelligence helps you prevent issues escalating, and identify opportunities to engage.
Manage stock inventory availability in real time
Nobody wants to order, or source, an item and then find out it’s out of stock. Especially if they’ve made a trip to collect it. Real-time inventory gives supply chains and vendors up-to-the-minute visibility on stock levels.
These are just some of the use cases. Stakeholders in your business will need to be clear about how your use case delivers quick value to keep momentum. Do you have the right data to get to the right insights? If you need a CDP solution, what else do you need to think about? Let’s continue.
Choosing the right data solution
If you’re thinking about investing in a customer data platform, here a few tips and options to help you find the right solution.
There’s a big caveat here. Technology in itself doesn’t make the difference. Successful implementation requires a change management strategy, cross-functional buy-in, agile thinking and sometimes Agile methodologies and transparency on what can be achieved to deliver better outcomes and to adopt it – for customers, partners and the business.
Having said that, what do you need to think about?
When selecting an enterprise solution think about scalability, data security, integration capabilities and analytics features. Choose a solution that can handle large volumes of real-time data and scale with your business growth. Ensure that the solution integrates seamlessly with your existing technology stack, including CRM, marketing automation, and data analytics tools. Data security and compliance should be prioritised to protect sensitive customer information.
Look for solutions that offer robust analytics capabilities, including real-time reporting, predictive analytics, and customer segmentation, to enable actionable insights for decision-making and personalisation. Evaluate the credibility and reputation of the solution provider, considering industry recognition and customer reviews.
Four companies delivering real-time data solutions
Salesforce – Salesforce offers a comprehensive customer relationship management platform that incorporates real-time data to enhance what customers experience. Salesforce Customer 360 provides a single, shared view of customer data across multiple channels. This enables businesses to deliver personalised interactions at scale..
Adobe – Adobe’s Experience Platform also provides real-time data capabilities to scale personalisation. It unifies data from across the organisation. Companies can assemble actionable real-time profiles using Adobe Real-Time CDP. It also offers real-time journey analytics, and journey optimisation.
SAS – SAS Customer Intelligence 360 offers adaptive planning, journey activation and a real-time decision engine to create personalised, moments-based CX at scale. SAS Real-Time Decision Manager enables you to drive real-time interactions, automate decisions and find better ways to leverage customer interactions. SAS also offers a predictive analytics solution.
Oracle – Oracle offers a comprehensive suite of customer experience solutions that leverage real-time data. A single, dynamic view of each account delivers intelligence in real time. Its Cloud CX Platform enables businesses to connect customer behaviour, transactions, and demographics across touchpoints to also deliver seamless, scalable personalised experiences.
There are many other technology suppliers available today; we have only mentioned a few of them.
That’s a lot to think about for now. So, let’s wrap up.
To sum up
Leveraging real-time customer data offers many advantages, including enhanced customer experiences through improved personalisation and comprehensive customer understanding. It’s what your customers expect in return for sharing their data. Agile companies that prioritise real-time data analytics and personalised experiences outperform their competitors in terms of customer satisfaction, adoption, loyalty, customer loyalty and revenue growth.
When researching a data solution, think about scalability, data security, integration capabilities and analytics features. And remember, a customer data platform can boost your capabilities and transform your CX significantly. But, technology on its own does not make the difference. You’ll probably need to create a change management plan and transform your culture or adapt a bit as the center of your business should be your employees and customers without doubt, think with agility, ensure cross-functional adoption and be transparent to unlock the value of real-time data.
The European Customer Experience Organization (ECXO) understands the complexities of data analytics and is here to help and educate. ECXO is a fast-growing and evolving professional business network, created to bridge the gaps between the different cultures across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and later globally to create a new set of education approach that will work for all companies in Europe and across the globe. In 2024 we are launching our education program. We aim to educate executives, leaders, creator, innovators, investors, and CX practitioners and companies while generating a unified customer experience model responding to the European regional focus and challenges. Find out more here.
If you liked it please share and help the European Customer Experience Organization. Become a member now from the Open Access CX professional Business Network: https://ecxo.org/ until 2024 it still a open access network.
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SAS Customer Intelligence 360
Oracle Cloud CX Platform
Adobe Real-Time CDP
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