By Daniel Heck, Senior Director of Marketing, EMEA, SugarCRM

The acceleration in digital innovation over the past decade has undoubtedly revolutionised customer experience.

When you look at Nationwide investing in behavioural biometrics which learn and adapt to the user’s behaviour and Caixabank providing customer services via WhatsApp, it’s clear businesses are beginning to understand they need to keep pace with the instantaneous mind-set of the modern consumer.

It is of course right that businesses are investing in digital technology to make their customer experience as streamlined as possible. But, businesses in their rush to take advantage of all-things-digital, need to not lose sight of the value of human connections.

A recent report by market researchers Vanson Bourne found that 91% of respondents agree that there should always be a way to contact a real person, with the same number believing complicated issues are more likely to require a real person to resolve it.

Equally, customers also have high expectations of the digital customer experience; a study by Accenture highlighted that 52% of consumers have stopped using businesses due to poor digital customer service. ASOS, for example, recently came under scrutiny for apparently using robots to respond to customer queries on Facebook.

This is a clear sign that businesses need to strike the right balance between the online and offline customer experience they provide in order to keep their customer’s satisfied.

The challenge for marketers is in joining up the on-and-offline experience they offer customers. It’s crucial to take a step back and really invest the time in understanding, step by step, the consumers’ journey and experience with your company.

One of the most effective ways to gain perspective is the creation of a digital customer journey map in order to visualise the multiple elements and touchpoints that form the unique sales process of your company.

The customer mapping process:

1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes

The myriad touchpoints a customer has with your business is ever-growing. Therefore, take the time to map the multiple stages in your customers’ interactions with your business. Ask yourself: as a consumer, how important is it that when I ring a business’s call centre to discuss an ongoing issue, the customer-facing employee has an instant record of my previous conversations with the business, whether via Twitter, email or any other means? (Answer: very).

2. Don’t fixate on sales

Of course the primary motivation for shifting towards a customer-orientated view of your business is the hope that the insight gained will lead to an increase in sales. However, if your attention is drawn too readily by your bottom line then you risk obscuring the holistic approach needed for effective journey mapping.

For any customer-facing business, service and experience should always be at the forefront of the marketing strategy. Focus on the widest possible picture and let the profits take care of themselves.

3. Embrace the opportunity of CRM

When complete, your customer journey map becomes a crucial document that should rest at the centre of your business, capturing best practice and sharing it with all of your employees. Now is the time to make sure that the technology customer-facing employees are using is effective and allows the customer to switch between these communications and systems seamlessly.

This can be achieved by utilising a modern CRM solution which choreographs all of the customer touchpoints within your business and makes the full customer decision cycle clear to everyone who needs a view of it.

Of course digital innovation has led to positive developments and empowered the consumer through making processes more streamlined and efficient.

But businesses must remember that ultimately customers are human, and deliver the service which they would like to receive themselves. At the heart of businesses’ customer-experience strategies should always be the question: what will give the customer the best experience?

The future success and longevity of businesses will depend on both their ability to keep pace with revolutions in technology while still delivering a personal, tailored service with a human touch.

 

By Daniel Heck, Senior Director of Marketing, EMEA, SugarCRM


GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at http://www.gdprsummit.london/


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