For many companies, the very thought of harvesting big data and analysing this to maintain and improve their customer engagement strategies can cause them to break out in a cold sweat.
The truth is that although the concept can seem daunting, the desired outcome is actually fairly simple. Think about all the times you feel engaged and connected to a favourite brand. The operative word here is feel.
A recent study shows 50% of customers cite how they felt about their interaction with a brand as being the most important factor in a relationship or transaction – rather than the actual tangible elements that the company delivered as part of the product or service.
A great customer experience triggers the same cerebral feelings as being loved. So, brands that consistently deliver great experiences have an army of loyal customers who love engaging with them, and positively advocate the brand to their peers.
Therefore, with such an abstract goal, customer engagement presents itself as a challenge to businesses that are trying to enhance the experience they deliver to their clients and customers. Having a positive emotional impact on your audience is much harder to control than tangible results – but the two can be connected.
Importance of punctuality
Implementing a project on time may be the tangible result, but consistent informative contact with an account manager throughout the process might deliver the emotional connection.
Purely operating in a professional but sterile manner might result in surface-level engagement, rather than the deep emotional connection that is the ultimate goal –this is where personalisation comes in. Using big data to personalise what brands offer to each customer group and consistently use data to understand their habits and needs, is the key to delivering lasting and emotional experiences.
Obviously, companies will always have to deal with factors outside their control that have a detrimental impact on the experience they offer. To tackle these it is important to gain a balanced and detailed view of the Voice of the Customer (VoC) so you can address and fix the issues that matter.
Businesses that are lagging behind their competitors in this technological, fast-paced world are essentially failing to keep up with increasingly high demands that customers have. The trend is such that now even B2B companies are expected to deliver similar speed, transparency and convenience that B2C companies can.
Customers as people
B2B customers (clients) are still humans, who have their expectations set in everyday life when they interact with the best consumer-centric brands in the world – Uber, Airbnb, Apple, Amazon… and they bring these expectations to work with them. Whether they do this subconsciously or not, it has an undeniable impact.
Reports indicate that by 2020 CX will have overtaken price and product as the key brand differentiator. In retail we are seeing this happen already. Consumers now expect smooth omni-channel experiences, where their relevant data is shared instantly across channels and devices, and content is personalised. This shift increases pressure on a brand to consistently deliver smooth journeys and really know what their customers want from them.
Much customer engagement happens in the subconscious – hence the argument for developing a more in-depth understanding of human behavior, through big data, and its application for behavioural targeting.
The use of data and – more crucially – its subsequent insights must inform demographic and behavioural segmentation, allowing businesses to personalise content and zone in on their audiences to a greater degree. This approach often yields more measurable results.
A perfect example of this is O2 Priority, which relies heavily on analysing customer behaviour to offer the right reward to the right recipient, at the right time. For O2 customers the experience now doesn’t stop with their phone, the brand taps into their needs to provide perfectly matched emotive engagement opportunities with musical, artistic and cultural events.
When using big data brands must remember that customers are individual and have a voice that they want to be heard. There’s a thin line between using information to personalise and enhance emotional engagement, and being intrusive. Therefore, actually understanding qualitative data is as important as quantitative metrics.
Truly understanding the customer journey, and the practical and emotive aspects to the interaction, will result in a solid knowledge base. This will enable a company to make informed decisions about what to change, and ensure they deliver a tailored, personalised and relevant experience to each of their customers or clients.