Creating meaningful experiences that drive purchasing behavior starts with a keen understanding of your current customers and those you want to attract and retain. Strive to enhance—and invest in—this capability and you will see returns.
Appreciate that analytics, cloud, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and concepts such as the internet of things (IoT) will continue to advance and enhance data gathering and analysis further for continued actionable insights, including anticipating needs. Investing in the proper technology—along with ensuring the processes and roles are in place to use it effectively—is key to understanding human interactions and purchasing behavior to inform and complement the customer experience.
Business and consumer data stored in multiple areas or locked away where only a few have access needs to be liberated and shared across the organization for review and analysis to garner insights necessary to act. Typical retailer limitations, highlighted in our point of view, “Future-Proofing Retail,” include the lack of a cohesive view of the customer across departments, unknown attribution and economic indicators, and inability to process and reconcile transactions (data) between siloed channels. This is especially frustrating for customers who recognize the brand and expect seamless operations regardless of the channel.
Working with what you already have can garner insights as well. Very often, traditionally siloed organizations have siloed data as well. Investigate data you have or can gain access to across different functional areas; assess and share relevant data and review collectively to inform actionable insights—then continually monitor and analyze information that is determined to be the most valuable to building customer relationships and understanding customer journeys. Sifting through what you already have can be educational and empowering towards striving to adapt to customer expectations.
As with any relationship, communication matters. Therefore, the frequency and consistency of seeking and receiving feedback from your customers, at every stage in the customer journey, should become foundational across all departments in your evolution towards achieving customer-centricity. The aim is to use information, insights and data collectively to better understand your customers interests, behaviors, and engagement to provide them with products and services that are relevant, easy, and enjoyable to obtain.
Actively engaging and conversing with customers through efforts such as social listening and engagement, user group inquiries, surveys, voting, customer care inquiries, purchase follow-up, and similar touch-points not only provides valuable insights, but also has the potential to build community, loyalty, and advocacy for your brand. Further, the outcomes of these activities become even more powerful with data and analytics that can garner deep insights for action across all your channels and platforms.