Customer Experience

Communications for a new business reality

A global pandemic. Mandatory lockdowns. Ever-changing rules and regulations. Online grocery orders. A shift to remote working, learning and telehealth visits. The last two years have been the ultimate use case for empathy-driven communications in customer experience management.  

The disruption has lasting impact for businesses. The pressure is on to get every interaction right and communications have never been so important. Customers are expecting digital delight and the bar is always being raised.  

The experience economy presents new business challenges. In a digital-first world, communications and experiences need to be crafted with the following principles in mind: 

  • Customer intimacy: the need to understand customer sentiment
  • Relevancy: the ability to stand out in a crowded digital landscape
  • Intelligence: eliminate friction and orchestrate the journey
  • Consistency: acquisition to retention across all channels
  • Responsiveness: reduce latency, lost time and communicate expectations
  • Efficiency: reducing operational cost while boosting employee efficiency

Is your CX solution doing all that? The experience gap is real. Research has shown that companies often overestimate what they’re delivering for customers – 75% expect to receive excellent or good service but only 49% actually receive it.

Moving from customer communications management (CCM) to customer experience management (CXM)  

A modern platform provides a set of data and insights capabilities that solve for the new demands of the experience economy. Intimacy is all about understanding your customers’ priorities, values, behaviors, and emotions. It’s impossible to achieve without a single customer view across all the touchpoints and channels that they engage with your brand. Using a single, shared customer data record to generate a web page, communication, call center experience, or next best action helps ensure a connected experience. Integrating disparate customer data together into a common record allows businesses to place the customer at the center of everything they do, creating a much more holistic and consistent customer experience.  

Relevancy is a marketers’ ticket to standing out amid content overload and digital fatigue. First-party data, coupled with Big Data and machine learning – such as Google Audience data – enables ultra-personalization at scale, which has the power to increase engagement and conversion rates. Intelligence removes friction from the customer journey by ensuring automated next best offers, next best actions and next best channels are ready to continue them down the path. Consistency can be achieved with an omni-channel approach, a 360-degree view of the customer and journey insights across departments, from marketing to communications to customer service – with brand and compliance ensured. Responsiveness helps marketers be event-driven. Efficiency bridges siloes, embraces automation, focuses on user augmentation and improves the employee experience while reducing repetitive workload. There is no effective customer experience without a superior employee experience.

Using customer data to move from acquisition to retention to trusted advisor 

To put these six principles into action and take a truly empathetic approach, marketers must deeply understand their customer. And what’s the best way to do that? Data. Specifically, first-party data that’s collected directly from your customers, website visitors, social media followers and subscribers. Chances are you are capturing a wealth of first party data today – but are you using it effectively across all your communications and experiences?  It’s the most accurate data to collect and use to inform decision-making since it comes straight from your audience. Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) help unify customer data from different sources to allow a company to enable modeling and to optimize the timing and targeting of messages to their customers.   

CDPs help remove data siloes – data available to one department but isolated from the rest of an organization. Data siloes happen when businesses scale too quickly to sufficiently share data or when technology can’t keep up. Silos are a drag on productivity. They create a less collaborative environment, slow the pace of decision-making and threaten the accuracy of customer profile data.  

CDPs can also help to unify cross-channel marketing efforts. It’s likely that many organizations have multiple campaigns, programs and activities happening at once. It can take precious time and energy trying to communicate, share and educate each other on the data you use and collect from these efforts. CDPs come into play by supplying consolidated, accurate data while collecting and organizing new data to inspire other, ongoing marketing, customer nurture, loyalty, and retention activities.  

The role of a CDP

A CDP does four main things: 

  • Data collection: ingesting first party, individual data from multiple sources like websites, mobile apps, communications and messaging solutions, visual testing and customer journey mapping tools
  • Profile unification: consolidating profiles and connecting attributes to identities  
  • Segmentation: enabling marketers to create and manage customer segments 
  • Activation: sending segments (audiences and profiles) to engagement tools with personalized communications and digital experiences 

With a CDP in the toolkit, communicators can paint a richer picture of their customer. This understanding allows marketers to design personalized communications and experiences that reach specific audiences wherever they are. The upheaval of the last two years has shown the importance of connecting with customers on a human and emotional level. Empathetic communications make space for customers to express themselves and help build trusted relationships, which in turn enable business benefits.

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Heather Oliver

Heather Oliver is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at OpenText. She has more than 15 years of experience working with our customer communications management (CCM) and customer experience management (CXM) solutions. Heather is a skilled negotiator who enjoys a good challenge and building robust relationships with internal and external customers.

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