Customer experience trends might change from time to time, but the central component remains steady: The customer must be at the heart of every business decision that you make.
In B. Joseph Pine and James G. Gilmore’s seminal 1999 book, The Experience Economy, they predicted a new economic era in which businesses would shift their focus from creating products or services to delivering memorable experiences to their customers.
But even they did not foresee how the Experience Economy — the need to create 1:1 relationships with customers to provide a hyper-personalized experience across all touchpoints throughout the customer journey — would redefine the way we buy and sell goods and services today.
Customer Experience Trends: The Rise of the Consumer
Every facet of business has changed to adapt to the Experience Economy. Take Subway, for example. The company is tapping into personalized messaging to increase customer visits and spend, while also driving loyalty through targeted and experiential communication with the help of their mobile app. All the customer information collected helps Subway deliver personalized, 1:1 communication, like discounted pricing based on a customer’s visits. If a $5 footlong enticed Joe to visit twice, $4 will entice him yet again, thereby increasing revenue.
It’s no longer a matter of having just the best product, the smartest marketing, or the lowest prices. It’s about providing the best experience. In the Experience Economy, only one thing matters: the customer. According to Gartner, “more than two-thirds of marketers responsible for CX say their companies compete mostly on the basis of CX, and in two years 81% expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX.”
Every organization — from mom and pop shops to pharmaceutical manufacturers — must adopt tools and techniques for providing the hyper-personalized experiences customers require at every touchpoint in their journey.
Your Customer Experience Is Your Most Valuable Asset
To start winning in the Experience Economy, companies of every size and across every industry must become smarter about the ways they use data. By developing a data strategy around customer experience as a differentiator, you’ll be able to prioritize the building of the integrated data infrastructure and business processes necessary to deliver a consistent and exceptional CX across every touchpoint and channel — no matter how, where, or when customers choose to interact with your brand.
This means you need to expand your ability to centralize all your data across business and brand silos; bring in new data sources or third-party data to enrich your customer information; and access and use that data across each and every channel. Integrated and accurate customer data clears the path to:
- Business agility
- Enterprise scalability
- Big ideas like Digital transformation initiatives
The Road to Connected CX
The road to becoming a customer-centric enterprise is not always an easy one.
For many enterprises, legacy data management solutions are holding them back. These systems cannot provide access to the robust, comprehensive, and organized data needed to truly understand customers and generate new insights.
When your data management system fails to connect internal, external, and third party data in real time, and in a way that automatically links the data together, the obstacles to growth include:
- Limiting the attributes in your customer profiles, which are vital for hyper-personalized engagement
- Requiring cumbersome integrations with external or third-party data, which prevents your enterprise from scaling quickly or limiting your customer 360 profile
- Diluting cross-functional coordination and engagement necessary for rich, end-to-end customer insights
- Damaging your return on ML and AI investments due to limited or inaccurate insights, putting organizational initiatives like CX or digital transformation at risk
- Hampering your agility to respond to changing business needs and to effectively engage with customers in real time
- And complying with privacy and security regulations such as GDPR to protect customer data and respect customer communication preferences
A customer data strategy is no longer optional. It’s a business imperative that demands top-priority attention from your CEO, CMO, retail leaders, operations, customer support, and anyone else who works directly with your customers.
Customer experience trends might change, but for the foreseeable future in the Experience Economy, connected 360 customer profiles are the foundation for your CX solutions.