Delivering a truly delightful customer experience (CX) demands a solid, unified data management strategy, relevant technologies and a skilled implementation partner.
As digital transformation continues apace, the delivery of a seamless digital journey, something that once set a business apart from its competition, is rapidly becoming nothing more than a ticket to the game.
After all, the digital environment has given modern customers a vast array of pathways to engage with their favourite brands. Customers are also more tech-savvy than ever and increasingly demanding. It should also be noted that customer expectations are evolving quickly, which means that to drive loyalty, businesses must resolve potential technical weaknesses rapidly. This will help to reduce friction on digital platforms and make for a more pleasing user experience.
Such an approach is particularly important in the hospitality and associated service industries, as many customers here demand a more personalised experience from digital technologies. At the same time, the desire for this experience to be available over multiple channels is growing. Some organisations may claim to have this in the bag, but the fact is that significant challenges still prevent a delightful digital customer experience.
These challenges were among the key issues discussed at a recent TechCentral roundtable event, hosted by HPE and Tarsus Distribution, with hospitality industry leaders highlighting the difficulties of delivering a more personalised, digital experience.
It is imperative that the customer experience (CX) is as pleasant as possible, which begins by ensuring that the journey is both accurate and relevant. An omni-channel CX affords customers choice, as it goes beyond them interacting merely with your website or application. It also opens up other communication channels, including email, social media, chatbots, and live chat, enabling them to connect with your brand in multiple ways.
The tricky part lies in making certain that all your customer interactions are properly unified and streamlined so that you are able to offer a consistent experience across multiple touchpoints. The challenge, of course, is that to achieve this, you will have to have a complete understanding of both customers’ and potential customers’ behaviours across this wide range of channels.
Tracking, tweaking and orchestrating a customer journey in this way requires the adoption of a data-driven, and data-centric methodology and process. Poor data quality inevitably leads to a scenario that ends in a negative customer experience.
Information that is out-of-date, not formatted correctly, locked in a silo, or even duplicated can ultimately be problematic and can ruin the CX. And with brand loyalty far less of a factor today, such a problem could see customers move to your competition in the blink of an eye.
The obvious insight results in that delivering a delightful and seamless CX demands a solid, unified data management strategy, coupled with the relevant technology. This will provide the foundation for a meaningful customer journey, that is both data-driven, and delivered via the customer’s platform of choice.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in delivering such a journey lies in the skills required to achieve this, which are in high demand. Being a data-driven journey, the best-positioned person to view such a journey holistically is a data scientist. Needless to say, data science skills are among the most sought-after talents, and this is on a global scale.
Faced with a need for costly and in-demand skills, it is more critical than ever for enterprises to focus on upskilling and specialisation. The right individuals to train for this task must have a strong understanding of people, their behaviours, and their pain points. In addition, they should be technically proficient, and understand predictive modelling and data visualisation. This will help them in establishing a clear, insightful path to a good CX.
With the necessary strategy, technology, and skills in place, you can begin providing greater levels of personalisation. There is little doubt that this is the future of CX and will likely be the defining characteristic of successful future customer journeys.
In fact, it has been suggested that soon, CX will overtake both product quality and price as the benchmark by which customer loyalty is defined. This makes a clear case for businesses to focus strongly on personalisation, moving forward. Remember that while a good CX may encourage the initial purchase, personalisation is the means by which the relationship is sustained, grown and leveraged over the long term.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle to an effective CX strategy is the need to properly integrate the various systems and software necessary to deliver a seamless CX, as described above.
The larger an organisation, the more applications and technologies they have within the business, few of which are properly integrated. Integration is, however, critical if you are to avoid the difficulties created by having disparate data silos.
Such silos lead to issues of data inaccessibility, which in turn prevents data scientists, as well as analysts and even other CX professionals from being able to utilise customer data in innovative and meaningful ways.
It’s worth noting that such challenges are quite common within businesses that are engaged in their digital transformation journey, and more crucially, it’s encouraging that such difficulties are not insurmountable.
What you need if you are to succeed in such an endeavour is to adopt the right approach, and then find a trusted partner with the requisite technical know-how. They will be able to assist you in implementing the technologies and processes needed to effectively leverage your data, allowing you to leverage insightful, personalised, and seamless omni-channel experiences for your customers.