Using Advanced Tech to Measure Customer ExperienceBy Guest Author | Posted 2013-12-17 Print
Companies that can differentiate themselves will be the ones that can derive value and drive customer engagement based on data analysis of emotional responses.
By Krishnan Ramanujam
Think for a moment of the last time you shared a negative experience on your social channels, or when you conducted research from your mobile device before making a purchase in a store. More likely than not, these actions are second nature to you as they are for most consumers who consider multiple personalized touch points with a brand or product—including online, social, mobile, in store, etc.—to be the norm.
And it is.
However, for businesses, regardless of industry, this shift in customer communications is transformational. It is compelling companies to redefine traditional business and customer experience (CX) strategies in order to enable faster scaling, real-time engagement, and new innovation models that will retain and build customer loyalty.
The key is to identify what makes each individual consumer tick by understanding their personal experience, feedback and preferences, and then standardizing that experience across all touch points to meet that customer's expectations. It may sound like a daunting task, but, in many ways, the hard work has been done. Consumers are already talking with brands; it’s just a matter of listening to what they say.
Today’s customers are providing businesses with a treasure trove of rich, real-time data, and the latent power of that information is immense. It should be used to inform business strategies and, more importantly, is an opportunity for companies to make educated deductions about how their customers’ needs will evolve in the future so that they can plan accordingly and improve customer retention.
The data that companies are mining is not just objective or transactional. It is emotional and includes highly subjective opinions from customers who are expressing either satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their experience with a company or product. This subjective and emotional feedback is the most critical for companies to note.
In fact, our customers have told us that the “voice of the customer” is ranked highly as both a short- and long-term priority for their businesses because it affects key business goals, including customer retention and revenue growth. It will become even more important in the coming years as brands compete for customer loyalty in an increasingly crowded market. The companies that are able to differentiate themselves will be the ones that are able to derive value and drive customer engagement based on data analysis of both subjective and emotional responses.
In order to do this effectively, companies must first strengthen and refine existing data-mining efforts. Here are two guidelines for achieving that:
· Ensure that the back office is fully integrated with the front office (or the consumer touch-points and interfaces) to provide a seamless customer experience.
· Standardize all data being collected in order to translate subjective (emotional) data to objective (actionable) information.
With these tasks accomplished, a brand can then identify the CX pain points it needs to address. Businesses can leverage this data to predict future responses to situations, products or services, and through sophisticated and automated analysis, can identify ways to deliver improved solutions for their customers.
For example, in the commercial banking sector, customers are faced with a variety of options and opportunities. Banks must aggressively differentiate themselves, and many are adopting CX programs that focus on driving customer loyalty.
Consider this client, a global retail and private bank that wanted to change the overall customer expectation of banking for its more than eight million customers serviced via an extensive branch network, online channels and customer call centers. The bank acknowledged the pressing need to develop a CX strategy that was capable of monitoring the conversations currently occurring, evaluating customer feedback and opinion, and standardizing experiences across platforms and geographies.
By tapping into the advanced technology tools available to them, this global bank created a 360-degree view of the customer that was focused on not only acquiring and engaging new customers, but also on activating, sustaining and retaining existing customers. The bank created a repository of all customer data, which was then mined to create personalized offers and recommendations saved to a customer portal that was available to all bank employees.
This approach ensured that regardless of the point of contact, customers would get the same level of service and receive a consistent message that was tailored specifically to them. The result was an enhanced customer experience, which drove loyalty for the bank’s brand.
This is just one example of how companies can harness the power of technology in order to build customer loyalty through personalized experiences. Looking ahead, it will be increasingly important for companies, regardless of who their customers are, to tap into this data to stay ahead of the competition. When done correctly, the value of a personalized, data-driven approach to customer engagement is immeasurable.
Krishnan Ramanujam is the global head of Enterprise Solutions at Tata Consultancy Services.
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