When Was The Last Time You Delighted Your Customers?

baiju-shah-2"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Baiju Shah, managing director for strategy and innovation for Accenture Interactive.

The digital revolution is changing the business world as we know it, bringing with it a head-spinning number of new opportunities, challenges and business models.

Companies sitting outside our industry, including Uber, Spotify and Birchbox, have begun to shape customer’s expectations for your services. With its hassle-free check-out process and app that gives customers an ETA for their rides, Uber, for instance, has redefined a standard for transportation services.

With today’s heightened customer expectations, businesses are increasingly aware that they need to provide customers with relevant interactions and seamless experiences across all channels, from mobile to online and in-store, to succeed in today’s digital world. Given the ease with which customers can switch service providers, businesses need more than a new campaign, tactic or technology to hold their interest. To remain competitive, companies should undergo a digital makeover that puts the customer experience at the center of their thinking and strategies.

Companies need to look through the eyes of the customer and pursue a customer-driven digital transformation where they reimagine their role in their customers’ lives and then align processes and technology across marketing, commerce and service to power relevant customer experiences. For example, Amazon joined forces with Twitter to let customers tweet products they see on Twitter directly into their shopping carts. As a result, a customer can cross items off of their shopping list with a quick tweet – then go about their day.

The transition won’t happen overnight, but by focusing on how they can delight customers, businesses will have the compass to steer through a successful digital transformation.

How To Delight Your Customers

Relevant experiences are determined through the eyes of each individual customer. The message is clear: Companies should build a deep knowledge of their individual customers and then have the ability to flex experiences that are relevant to customers through all channels.

Knowing the context, preferences and intents of individual consumers at all times can seem daunting, but there are ways of accessing this information by using the right combination of data analytics and design.

For instance, Uber requests access to users’ location data and is transparent about how they will use that information for users’ benefit. Also, some retailers present customers with well-designed advertising variations, powered by analytics, to better understand how each consumer responds to messages that appeal to their heart or mind. The data captured on the customer response can then be used for future interactions and experiences on the fly, such as providing customers with tailored recommendations or extending invitations to store event via their preferred social media platform.

Pinterest is an example of a company whose service involves knowing its customers and providing an enhanced experience, at scale. It recently launched its real-time analytics tool that allows marketers to analyze Pinterest user history to develop personalized messages that will resonate with their targeted customers.

Putting It All Into Perspective

With the growing influx of digital competitors popping up every day, companies should assess whether they are taking the necessary steps to delight their customers. A great first step is to take stock of two items: determining what you already know about your customer’s interests and expectations, and how you can flex to deliver the desired delightful customer experiences across all channels. That will provide the necessary compass to begin making a customer-focused digital transformation as potential changes in strategy, process, technology and operating models can be identified that would please consumers.

Both digital natives and business leaders are already investing in design and analytical approaches to enhance their knowledge of the consumer and to flex their marketing, commerce and service experiences. When done right, these companies create “living services” that have the ability to adapt to customers’ ever-changing expectations and continuously delight them.

Follow Baiju Shah (@baijushah), Accenture Interactive (@AccentureSocial) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

 

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