Integrating technology with customer experience can make the experience consistent throughout the customer’s journey; right from research to purchase. A study conducted by Oracle, ‘The CMO Solution Guide to Leveraging New Technology and Marketing Platforms’, provides some stark revelations about customer expectations that very few marketers realise today. To quote a few, the study mentions that
- 72% of consumers want marketing collateral including in-store to be consistently presented across channels as a means to reinforce their perception of a given brand.
- 85% of consumers expect a consistent shopping experience across all channels including in-store.
- 89% of consumers said it was important for retailers to let them shop for products in the way that is convenient for them, no matter which sales channel they choose.
To ensure that you provide consistently good customer experience across all your channels, you should be able to map each customer journey back to each touch point within the overall customer experience as top priority. Knowing your customer better will give you better opportunities to provide personalised experience. We as Marketers have realised the importance of optimising the ‘online’ experience for our customers. We have highly intelligent marketing tools that automate things for us. The key here is to utilise the intelligence provided by these tools to connect a customer’s online experience with his offline one. This is important because at some point in every customers path to purchase there is at least one offline transaction in the form of a call or store visit or maybe even asking a friend for advice. Sebastian James, Head of Retail at Dixons, who is also a participant of the study mentioned earlier, says "Making sense of big data, including social media activity, online history, ecommerce interactions and traditional customer data, is a challenge. It is also an opportunity for companies to emphasise how they are different.”
To implement an effective, future-oriented customer experience programme in today’s world, companies must design a programme that helps them understand how their customers experience a brand at every touch point. They must engage with people in an easy and non-intrusive way, and analyse and synthesise the data this provides with other data points and feedback to detect trends and risks. Importantly, they must also research and invest in tools that help connect the online and offline experiences in the form of data that is available in real-time. Consistency is the buzzword here and the future of customer experience will be rooted in the fusion of the ‘online’ and ‘offline’ elements.