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As the global shift to a digital-first approach intensifies, customers’ expectations of a connected user experience will only continue to increase. Therefore, it’s imperative to learn how to unify data for connected customer experiences that are future-proof.
Even before the covid-19 pandemic began, consumers were clear that they expected businesses to offer a streamlined experience that made shopping straightforward and fun. Indeed, in one Mule Soft survey, about 72% of consumers said they would ditch the shopping process and consider a different service provider if the user experience was disjointed.
Now, following the devastating consequences of the ongoing pandemic, the need to provide connected user experiences is greater than ever. With most customers (and businesses) moving online, there’s an even greater chance of losing a large proportion of your customers to your competitors.
Below, we look at how to unify data for connected customer experiences to retain your customers while attracting new leads.
The first step in how to how to unify data for connected customer experiences is to draw up your strategy. In this case, you need to bring together previously siloed channels to design a single vision that brings together marketing, advertising, commerce, and service. This would allow you to create a defined roadmap around your customers’ needs.
As you define the roadmap, make sure to account for things like team reorgs, product launches, and milestones. For instance, you need to plan for order management and data management systems. Once you have all the points, organize the roadmap to ensure you’ve captured key priorities. You need to cover the customer pain points, identify the technologies and data the customers typically use and identify areas where you’re already working to improve customer experience.
Although all customers are the same, some are more important than others. Why? Because they generate more business than the rest. As part of creating the best customer journey for your customers, identify segments of the customer base that bring the most value to your organization and build customer journeys around them.
For instance, you need to identify high spenders, frequent shoppers, and high influencers. These segments are unique to your business because they have a massive impact on your profitability and growth. Once you’ve identified these segments, try to understand the journeys they take to interact with your brand. This exercise will reveal customer experience gaps that you can fill to improve the overall shopping process.
Creating a connected customer journey will require that you assemble an agile team comprising members from various departments within the business. For instance, if you seek to align email marketing messages with authentic experiences on your website, you may ask an agile marketing team to sit with your engineers. Although it initially feels like stepping into a new world, partnering with their technical counterparts can help the team learn new ways to create connected experiences across web and mobile applications. So, don’t fall into the trap of organizing teams by platform or grouping resources by customer experience goals. Instead, work hard to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Providing a great customer experience can consume a lot of resources. While it’s worth the effort in the end, it usually feels better if you can compare expenses against returns to verify your profit range. The easiest way to approach this part is to align KPIs across channels and audit touchpoints throughout the customer journey to measure your performance and identify any gaps.
More importantly, everyone working on the customer journey project needs to understand the KPIs and metrics. So, it’s best to standardize naming conventions across channels. For instance, you can use the same names and data types. This way, everyone will understand the KPIs being tracked and have a single source of truth if they need a reference. In the end, you should be able to demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) for the key performing index (KPI).
According to the 2021 Connectivity Benchmark Report by Mule Soft, the average business uses about 900 different applications. However, only 28% of the applications are connected. It creates a major collaboration challenge among your teams and makes it extremely difficult to create a unified customer experience. Fortunately, there are many approaches you can use to consolidate business data and bring your teams together.
One of the best approaches, as regards to how to unify data for connected customer experiences, is to group data based on use-case. This will allow you to establish a customer data platform (CDP). Additionally, take steps to minimize data isolation. Data can become isolated within an organization for many reasons. For instance, perhaps one team is keeping critical data from the rest of the organization to get ahead of the other teams. Isolated data can lead to missed opportunities.
Although many business leaders will do everything to avoid change management, anyone looking for a complete transformation should embrace it. Yes, it can cost the organization a few weeks through a slowdown. However, change management also has the potential to turn around your business.
So, how can you approach this part? We recommend training your team on your vision for the ideal customer experience and showing them the new roadmap to the desired destination. Clearly, lay out your newly developed roadmaps and set up channels if anyone has any feedback. Most importantly, promise never to go back to the status quo.
The most important part of any change process is determining whether you’re making progress and adjusting accordingly. Here, you’ll need to go back to your KPIs and closely track your outcomes to determine whether you’re hitting pre-defined targets. Additionally, you need to create use cases to prove success.
We’d advise that you establish a pattern for delivering use cases in an MVP format while testing all aspects of your content and content. Also, make sure that the technical teams have an easy way to implement results so that you have a continuous improvement of the roadmap.
It should be every business’ objective to learn and perfect how to unify data for connected customer experiences. Unfortunately, you cannot do so with disjointed data. Hopefully, you now know how to unify your data to build a more connected customer journey.