14 items tagged "customer experience"

  • 10 Big Data Trends for 2017

    big-dataInfogix, a leader in helping companies provide end-to-end data analysis across the enterprise, today highlighted the top 10 data trends they foresee will be strategic for most organizations in 2017.
    “This year’s trends examine the evolving ways enterprises can realize better business value with big data and how improving business intelligence can help transform organization processes and the customer experience (CX),” said Sumit Nijhawan, CEO and President of Infogix. “Business executives are demanding better data management for compliance and increased confidence to steer the business, more rapid adoption of big data and innovative and transformative data analytic technologies.”
    The top 10 data trends for 2017 are assembled by a panel of Infogix senior executives. The key trends include:
    1.    The Proliferation of Big Data
        Proliferation of big data has made it crucial to analyze data quickly to gain valuable insight.
        Organizations must turn the terabytes of big data that is not being used, classified as dark data, into useable data.   
        Big data has not yet yielded the substantial results that organizations require to develop new insights for new, innovative offerings to derive a competitive advantage
    2.    The Use of Big Data to Improve CX
        Using big data to improve CX by moving from legacy to vendor systems, during M&A, and with core system upgrades.
        Analyzing data with self-service flexibility to quickly harness insights about leading trends, along with competitive insight into new customer acquisition growth opportunities.
        Using big data to better understand customers in order to improve top line revenue through cross-sell/upsell or remove risk of lost revenue by reducing churn.
    3.    Wider Adoption of Hadoop
        More and more organizations will be adopting Hadoop and other big data stores, in turn, vendors will rapidly introduce new, innovative Hadoop solutions.
        With Hadoop in place, organizations will be able to crunch large amounts of data using advanced analytics to find nuggets of valuable information for making profitable decisions.
    4.    Hello to Predictive Analytics
        Precisely predict future behaviors and events to improve profitability.
        Make a leap in improving fraud detection rapidly to minimize revenue risk exposure and improve operational excellence.
    5.    More Focus on Cloud-Based Data Analytics
        Moving data analytics to the cloud accelerates adoption of the latest capabilities to turn data into action.
        Cut costs in ongoing maintenance and operations by moving data analytics to the cloud.
    6.    The Move toward Informatics and the Ability to Identify the Value of Data
        Use informatics to help integrate the collection, analysis and visualization of complex data to derive revenue and efficiency value from that data
        Tap an underused resource – data – to increase business performance
    7.    Achieving Maximum Business Intelligence with Data Virtualization
        Data virtualization unlocks what is hidden within large data sets.
        Graphic data virtualization allows organizations to retrieve and manipulate data on the fly regardless of how the data is formatted or where it is located.
    8.    Convergence of IoT, the Cloud, Big Data, and Cybersecurity
        The convergence of data management technologies such as data quality, data preparation, data analytics, data integration and more.
        As we continue to become more reliant on smart devices, inter-connectivity and machine learning will become even more important to protect these assets from cyber security threats.
    9.    Improving Digital Channel Optimization and the Omnichannel Experience
        Delivering the balance of traditional channels with digital channels to connect with the customer in their preferred channel.
        Continuously looking for innovative ways to enhance CX across channels to achieve a competitive advantage.
    10.    Self-Service Data Preparation and Analytics to Improve Efficiency
        Self-service data preparation tools boost time to value enabling organizations to prepare data regardless of the type of data, whether structured, semi-structured or unstructured.
        Decreased reliance on development teams to massage the data by introducing more self-service capabilities to give power to the user and, in turn, improve operational efficiency.
    “Every year we see more data being generated than ever before and organizations across all industries struggle with its trustworthiness and quality. We believe the technology trends of cloud, predictive analysis and big data will not only help organizations deal with the vast amount of data, but help enterprises address today’s business challenges,” said Nijhawan. “However, before these trends lead to the next wave of business, it’s critical that organizations understand that the success is predicated upon data integrity.”
    Source: dzone.com, November 20, 2016
  • 5 Strategies that lead to a better customer understanding

    5 Strategies that lead to a better customer understanding

    Understanding your customers is a crucial component of building a successful customer experience (CX) program. Collecting and analyzing data is the key to unlocking deeper customer understanding, which (in turn) drives better customer experience efforts. Let’s take a look at five foundational customer experience information sources you can use to better understand your customers.

    5 ways to listen to your customers

    There are many ways to listen to your customers, but the most important thing is always that you’re listening at all.

    Let’s walk through five different strategies for building or enhancing your current customer listening program. You don’t need to adopt all five. Rather, implement a few of these strategies and make adjustments until you find the right combination for your business.

    1. Collect effectiveness data

    There are several ways to measure the current effectiveness of your CX efforts. Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES) are among the most popular. By incorporating these measures into customer surveys, you can better understand your customers’ feelings of loyalty, satisfaction, and effort.

    NPS measures how likely your customer is to recommend your brand to someone else, which gives insight into satisfaction and loyalty. The CSAT is a direct measure of customer satisfaction, usually in relation to a specific interaction or experience. And your CES measures the amount of effort customers had to expend to achieve a particular goal.

    2. Create customer personas

    A customer persona is a finely honed profile of your best or target customer. Your company may want or need more than one persona, but you should focus on your most valuable customer types. A persona is more than a list of common characteristics. It should be as specific as possible and help you visualize the wants, needs, behaviors, and motivations of your customer.

    Think beyond demographic information like age, gender, income, or geography type. Psychographic (e.g., values, opinions, aspirations), transactional (e.g., purchase histories, service records), and behavioral (e.g., engagement on your website or social media profiles) information are key components of a richly built persona.

    3. Complete a customer journey map

    A customer journey map is an externally focused map of your customer’s experience throughout the full cycle of a particular journey. For example, the journey could start at the customer’s own awareness of a need and end with a product purchase, with steps for every interaction and impression in between.

    The process of building a customer journey map is an act of empathy. You should put yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagine their actions and feelings along the way. That doesn’t mean the map simply springs from your imagination, it should still be grounded in data. It means that by the end of the journey mapping process, you should have a deeper understanding of gaps or flaws in the customer experience and your customer’s motivations, desires, and feelings throughout.

    4. Supplement with outside data

    There are also ways to learn more about your customer using data from outside of your company. Contextual data in business draw on facts from the broader environment, including social media, news, events, weather, market changes, demographic changes, or geography.

    You can source contextual data from third-party businesses or organizations, such as market research firms or vendors. There is also a wealth of publicly available data from government sources, such as the Dutch CBS (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek), the U.S. Census Bureau or the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A variety of customer experience-related software can also aid your gathering of outside data.

    5. Use a voice-of-the-customer (VoC) program

    According to Gartner, VoC programs 'collect, aggregate, and provide the means to analyze direct feedback from surveys and interviews, indirect feedback from social media and customer care interactions, and inferred data such as web analytics and behavioral data'.

    According to Gartner, data sources for a VoC program can include customer complaints, customer surveys, employee feedback, company reviews, interviews, and social media, among others. Through rich, diversified sources of customer feedback, VoC programs help companies better understand customer experience and sentiment.

    Pull it all together with customer experience software

    Many customer experience software solutions can address any or all of the above listening approaches, from managing surveys and multichannel listening to visualizing the customer journey.

    By consolidating customer experience information into a single CX dashboard or hub, your organization can conduct more efficient analyses and see a fuller picture of your customers.

    Author: Kristen Bialik

    Source: Capterra

  • Chinachem: successful use of SAP software in the Hong Kong property market

    Chinachem: successful use of SAP software in the Hong Kong property market

    According to a January story in the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong has topped the table as the world’s most expensive housing market for the 9th straight year. That sounds like good news for property developers in that area. But, according to the same story, prices of Hong Kong homes also decreased with 7.2% in the last four months.

    What the news really shows is that the property market can be volatile. Combined with long construction times running into multiple years and billion dollar capital investments, that makes property development an extremely challenging industry.

    Few of Hong Kong’s developers are more aware of that than the Chinachem Group. While Chinachem began its life in agricultural projects and chemicals, Chinachem has developed its presence as one of Hong Kong’s most famous property companies over the year. Tthrough prosperous times and through tough times. Recently Chinachem was able to win a big land parcel in one of Hong Kong’s upmarket suburbs after surveyors cut their valuation by 10 per cent, another sign of softening property prices.

    However, in an industry that is often very traditional in its execution, it is not just prices that are putting property businesses under increasing competitive pressure. The digital explosion is also having a huge effect. As Chinachem’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Donald Choi, points out: technology is changing how companies in every industry are organized and run. And Chinachem isn’t any different.

    Changing times

    Hong Kong has been lucky in a way, especially in the property market, which has been a long-term growth market. But complacency can be a killer.

    Chinachem’s Head of Group IT, Joseph Cagliarini, believes that the lesson to be learned from a truly global brand like Kodak, which went bankrupt because the world changed from film to digital photography, cannot be overlooked. Instead, he calls for a relentless pursuit of technology to make sure Chinachem is not only listening to its customers, but able to respond appropriately.

    Different companies are at different stages of embracing digital transformation and technology. Anticipating what is required and strategizing change, Chinachem has turned its eyes to a new generation of milestones, and embarked on a journey to become an intelligent business.

    For the long-time property developer, that change starts with (real-time) data. Like many companies, Chinachem didn’t have a central view of its operations. So, all of its business units operated autonomously to some extent. That created a mountain of manual processes, and many separate systems containing valuable information.

    In October 2018, Chinachem selected a comprehensive suite of SAP software and cloud solutions to drive operational efficiency across finance and HR operations for its corporate group and hotels in order to help drive long-term efficiencies and growth. SAP is also providing Chinachem to help drive rapid innovation and increase the strategic value of human resources.

    Once the solutions are fully implemented, Chinachem will enjoy a variety of benefits, including real-time updates on financial performance that will optimize their finance processes. This includes everything from planning and analysis to period end close and treasury management.

    Long-term plans

    Thanks to other key features the group’s long-term objectives, such as enhancing financial planning and analysis, accelerating planning cycles, increasing profitability, and making finance functions more efficient are also supported. Chinachem is now able to accelerate the building and deployment of apps and extensions that engage employees in new ways. This will allow HR to be flexible and innovative without compromising the organization’s core HR process.

    In addition, Chinachem’s hotels can personalize their end-to-end HR landscape, creating an outstanding, seamless and secure user experience. The group can also leverage data from SAP solutions to make insightful business decisions that will have lasting impact.

    Customers are still king

    Chinachem’s journey also involves adapting to changing customers who now live on multiple platforms, both online and offline.

    With the right technology and software, Chinachem will be able to monitor customer behavior and, therefore respond to their needs without actually being asked. Executive Director of Chinachem, Donald Choi, believes that advanced data analytics could be the key to this. Not to replace offline experiences, but to be at all the right places at the right time.

    In an ever-changing and increasingly digital world, a comprehensive suite of SAP software and cloud solutions may not be the final answer for all of Chinachem’s needs. However, as Donald Choi says, “it is a good starting point for this journey.”

    Author: Terence Leung

    Source: SAP

  • De kracht van fysieke winkels als onderdeel van digitale strategie

    De kracht van fysieke winkels als onderdeel van digitale strategie

    Met steeds meer vertrouwde merken die hun vestigingen sluiten, lijkt de fysieke winkel een uitstervend fenomeen. Niets is minder waar, maar een transformatie van die winkels is wel nodig, zodat deze een belangrijke component vormen van unified commerce. Wie dat doorheeft, wint de strijd om loyaliteit van klanten.

    Technologische ontwikkelingen gaan steeds harder, maar veel retailers lopen tegen de beperkingen van hun oude systemen aan. Consumenten verwachten echter wel dat ze met de nieuwste technologieën kunnen browsen en kopen wanneer, waar en hoe ze willen. Uit de 451 Research’s Global Unified Commerce Forecast blijkt dat we dit jaar voor het eerst meer mobiele transacties dan desktoptransacties zien. Ook ‘connected devices’ als smart speakers duiken steeds meer op voor commerciële doeleinden. Daarnaast verwacht het publiek steeds meer op maat gemaakte ervaringen, gepersonaliseerde aanbiedingen en cross-selling. En consumenten willen steeds meer op hun eigen manier shoppen, bijvoorbeeld via messaging apps of sociale netwerken, en betalen met hun favoriete betaalmethode.

    Om je te onderscheiden als retailer moet je de customer journey optimaliseren. Unified commerce betekent dat je een strategie hebt zodat de klant één shopervaring beleeft via verschillende verkoopkanalen. Om dat te bereiken, is het enerzijds belangrijk om frictie in de customer journey weg te halen. 

    Elimineren van frictie in de customer journey

    Hoe meer drempels, hoe minder verkopen. Wanneer niet alle verkoopkanalen op elkaar afgestemd zijn, bied je geen vloeiende, gepersonaliseerde ervaring. Wanneer een online gekocht product lastig te retourneren is in de winkel of als er rijen bij de kassa staan, heeft dit een negatief effect op zowel klantloyaliteit als omzet.

    Unified commerce betekent ook het bundelen van dat data en inzichten van alle kanalen. Zo zijn risico’s en fraude beter te managen. Via de systemen van een betaalplatform als Adyen kun je alle informatie zien die via transacties beschikbaar is. Patronen van mensen die frauderen zijn zo sneller herkenbaar, maar het voorkomt ook false positives: het afwijzen van valide klanten vanwege (te) scherpe beveiligingseisen. Wie de klant beter kent en kan zien dat een betaalkaart zowel in de winkel als online gebruikt wordt, kan het risico op fraude bij deze klant bijvoorbeeld lager inschatten. 

    Digitale transformatie: breek uit de silo’s

    Daarnaast is digitale transformatie nodig. E-commerce die naast oorspronkelijke winkels wordt ingezet, werd traditioneel opgezet als apart onderdeel van een retailbedrijf. Vaak waren het aparte systemen of zelfs eigen organisaties. Sinds de introductie van de omnichannel-aanpak hebben klanten meer keuze in hoe ze willen winkelen. Tegelijkertijd blijkt dat het opereren in diverse ‘silo’s’ een soepele customer journey in de weg staat. Met unified commerce ga je een stap verder en breng je de infrastructuur en data van alle kanalen bij elkaar, zodat het voor de klant niet uitmaakt via welk kanaal deze contact heeft met je merk. Zo run je echt een business die georganiseerd is rondom de klant.

    Fysieke winkel blijft belangrijke rol vervullen

    Retailers hebben online meer opties dan in een winkel. Online zijn je klanten bekend en kun je live aanbevelingen doen, betaalmethoden selecteren die bij hen aansluiten en one-click-betalingen mogelijk maken. Traditionele winkels hebben zich in vergelijking minder ontwikkeld. Door de mogelijkheden van online ook in de winkel te brengen, voldoe je aan een nog steeds bestaande vraag. Bijna twee op de vijf (37%) klanten heeft namelijk nog steeds een sterke voorkeur voor een winkel. Wie in staat is deze winkels aan te laten sluiten op de veranderende behoeften van klanten en de mogelijkheden die online shoppen biedt, werkt aan een hogere klanttevredenheid en -loyaliteit.

    Fysieke winkels hebben nog steeds de rol om te inspireren en het merk te laten beleven. Ook de directe voldoening die mensen ervaren bij het passen en direct meenemen van producten blijft een voordeel. Maar succesvolle retailers die de slag willen winnen investeren ook in klantgedreven technologieën, in de winkel van de toekomst. Neem bijvoorbeeld lange rijen: 9 van de 10 shoppers geeft aan soms weg te lopen uit een winkel wanneer ze te lang bij de kassa staan. Toch heeft maar een kwart van de retailers self check-outs of draagbare kassaterminals om dit te voorkomen. Denk aan manieren om de klant voorafgaand aan een bezoek aan een winkel te laten checken of een bepaald product op voorraad is. Of endless aisles, waar je in de winkel producten kunt bestellen die op dat moment even niet voorradig zijn of enkel online te koop zijn. Die kun je dan laten thuisbezorgen. 

    Overkoepelende digitale strategie 

    Winkels moeten in de totale digitale strategie worden meegenomen. Zo dragen ze bij aan een complete customer journey. Die strategie is volledig gericht op de klant: op gebruiksgemak, een gepersonaliseerde ervaring en klanttevredenheid. Denk aan interactieve spiegels of clienteling, waarbij winkelmedewerkers toegang hebben tot klantdata en op basis van koopprofielen suggesties kunnen doen.

    Voor veel retailers is het grootste probleem dat zij niet weten wie er in hun winkel komen. Betalingsdata bieden hen daar inzicht in. Via tokens is te achterhalen welke transacties en aankopen bij elkaar horen, zodat het gedrag van anonieme klantgroepen analyseerbaar is. En een belangrijke trend voor de toekomst: voor loyaliteitsprogramma’s zijn geen losse kaarten of apps meer nodig. Deze worden gekoppeld aan de betaalkaart. Zo mist de klant nooit meer een aanbieding, gaat de betaling aan de kassa nóg sneller en krijgt de retailer beter inzicht in de klant.

    Fysieke winkels zijn een onmisbaar element van de digitale strategie, waarom openen technologiegiganten als Apple en Amazon anders juist nu fysieke winkels? Om daar eveneens succesvol in te zijn én te blijven moeten retailers zich in het geheel organiseren rond de consument. Met betaalplatformen en partners die helpen unified commerce realiteit te maken.

    Auteur: Roelant Prins

    Bron: Emerce

  • Doing market research using data? Don't forget to engage with your customers

    Doing market research using data? Don't forget to engage with your customers

    The ability to gather and process intimate, granular detail on a mass scale promises to uncover unimaginable relationships within a market. But does “detail” actually equate to “insight”?

    Many decision makers clearly believe it does. In Australia, for instance, the big four banks Westpac, National, ANZ and Commonwealth are spending large on churning through mountains of customer data that relate one set of variables — gender, age, and occupation, for instance — to a range of banking products and services. Australia’s largest bank, the Commonwealth, has announced its big data push.

    Like the big banks, Australia’s two largest supermarket chains, Woolworths and Coles, are scouring customer data and applying the massive computer power now available, and needed, with statistical techniques in the search for “insights.” This could involve the combination of web browsing activity, with social media use, with purchasing patterns and so on — complex analysis across diverse platforms.

    While applying correlation and regression analysis (among other tools) to truckloads of data has its place, I have a real concern that — once again — CEOs and senior executives will retreat to their suites satisfied that the IT department will now do all the heavy lifting when it comes to listening to the customer.

    Data’s Deceptive Appeal

    To peek into the deceptive appeal of numbers, let’s review how one business hid behind its data for years.

    Keith is the CEO of a wealth management business focused on high-net-worth individuals. It assists them with their investments by providing products, portfolio solutions, financial planning advice and real estate opportunities.

    Like its competitors Keith’s company employed surveys to gather data on how the business was performing. But Keith and his executive team came to realize that dredging through these details was not producing insights that management might use in strategy development.

    So, Keith’s team decided on a different path. One that really did involve listening to the customer. They conducted a series of client interviews structured in a way that allowed the customer to do the talking and the company to do the listening. What Keith and his executives discovered really shocked them.

    The first was that their data was based on nonsense. This came about because the questions they’d been asking were built on managers’ perceptions of what clients needed to answer. They weren’t constructed on what clients wanted to express. This resulted in data that didn’t reflect clients’ real requirements. The list of priorities obtained via client interviews compared to management’s assumed client priorities coincided a mere 50 percent of the time.

    Keith’s business is not alone in this as studies have shown that big data is often “precisely inaccurate.” A study reported by Deloitte found that “more than two-thirds of survey respondents stated that the third-party data about them was only 0 to 50 percent correct as a whole. One-third of respondents perceived the information to be 0 to 25 percent correct.”

    In Keith’s case this error was compounded when it came to the rating of these requirements. For example, the company believed that older clients wouldn’t rank “technology” (digital and online tools) as high on their list of requirements. However, in the interviews they discovered that while these older clients weren’t big users of technology themselves, many cared about it a great deal. This was because they had assistants who did use it and because they considered having state-of-the-art technology a prerequisite for an up-to-date business.

    What Keith and his team also discovered, to their surprise, was how few interviews it took to gain genuine insight. Keith reports that “we needed around 18 to 20 clients to uncover most of the substantive feedback. We thought we’d need many more.” What Keith has encountered here is saturation; a research term referring to the point when you can stop conducting interviews because you fail to hear anything new.

    Listening to the Customer

    Engaging with your customers may not be as exciting and new as investing in “big data.” But it does have a solid track record of success. Cast your minds back to a historic time in Toyota’s history.

    When Toyota wanted to develop a luxury car for the United States, its team didn’t hunker down in Tokyo to come up with the perfect design. Nor did it sift through data obtained from existing Toyota customers about current Toyota models. Instead, it sent its designers and managers to California to observe and interview the target customer — an American, male, high-income executive — to find out what he wanted in a car. This knowledge, combined with its undoubted engineering excellence, resulted in a completely new direction for Toyota: a luxury export to the United States. You will know it better as the Lexus. Listening to the customer is now embedded in Toyota’s culture.

    Listening to the customer is also a fundamental component of Adobe’s culture. The company speaks of a “culture of customer listening” and has produced a useful set of guidelines on how to tune in to customers. Elaine Chao, a Product Manager with the company, has expressed it this way: “Listening is the first step. We try to focus on what customers want to accomplish, not necessarily how they want to accomplish it.”

    So, provided your data isn’t “precisely inaccurate” employ modern computer power to examine patterns in your customers’ buying behavior. But understand big data’s limitations. The data is historic and static. It’s historic because it’s about the past. Your customers have most likely moved on from what the data captures. And it’s static because, as with any computer modeling, it can never answer a question that you didn’t think to ask.

    Real insights come from seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. You will only ever get that by truly engaging with customers and listening to their stories.

    Author: Graham Kenny

    Source: Harvard Business Review

  • Het takenpakket van de CIO gaat ook customer experience omvatten

    Het takenpakket van de CIO gaat ook customer experience omvatten

    De rol van de CIO verandert, dat weten we allemaal. Maar steeds vaker wordt de technologische leider ook leidend in het optimaliseren van de klantervaring.

    IT wordt steeds complexer en de rol van de CIO verandert continu, daar is iedereen het over eens, maar hoe ziet de CIO van de toekomst eruit? De toekomstige CIO is de absolute leider van digitale transformatie en drijver van innovatie en groei. Dit komt omdat de CIO van de toekomst goed in staat is om technische expertise te verbinden met organisatorische skills. Maar wist je ook dat de CIO de persoon is die verantwoordelijk is, of zou moeten zijn, voor de customer experience?

    CIO: de trusted operator en business cocreator

    Onderzoek van Deloitte laat zien dat de rol van de CIO op verschillende manieren verandert. Er wordt in dit onderzoek verschil gemaakt in verschillende rollen die de CIO kan spelen. De trusted operator is de CIO die zich concentreert op efficiëntie, betrouwbaarheid en kosten. Hij of zij levert ondersteunende technologieën en sluit aan bij de bedrijfsstrategie. Een andere rol is de business cocreator, die zijn tijd vooral besteedt aan het sturen van de bedrijfsstrategie en mogelijk maken van verandering. Met als doel een effectieve uitvoering van de strategie.

    Customer experience valt onder takenpakket CIO

    Bij Salesforce helpt men steeds vaker organisaties die van hun CIO verwachten dat hij of zij bedrijfsprocessen, zoals de customer experience, kan transformeren. Uiteraard is hij of zij verantwoordelijk voor het (laten) bouwen van back-endsystemen, maar daarnaast zal de CIO ook bedrijfsprocessen moeten stroomlijnen door middel van technologie. Kijkende naar het onderzoek van Deloitte kun je concluderen dat het optimaliseren van de customer experience steeds meer een taak wordt van de CIO daar dat linkt aan bedrijfsprocessen en dus de rol van de trusted operator.

    Een mooi voorbeeld hiervan is van het bedrijf KONE, waar de CIO verantwoordelijk is voor het steeds slimmer worden van productie en onderhoud van roltrappen, liften en rolpaden met hulp van IoT en realtime-technologie. Het systeem kan storingen opsporen en automatisch een werkorder afgeven, waardoor het probleem al kan worden verholpen voordat de klant door heeft dat er iets mis is. Daarnaast heeft de buitendienst van KONE toegang tot goede en actuele informatie, en kan het door deze inzichten beter inspelen op de behoeften van de klant. Hierdoor kan een bedrijf proactieve, betere service verlenen waardoor de customer experience verbetert en het meer tevreden klanten oplevert.

    De ultieme customer experience

    De ultieme customer experience is gebaseerd op diepe en brede inzichten in de klant; een uniform klantbeeld is hiervoor noodzakelijk. Bij veel organisaties verzamelt elke afdeling eigen data en vormt zijn eigen inzichten over de klant. Het probleem is echter dat, zonder een customer data platform, deze data gefragmenteerd is en niet volledig kan worden benut. Wanneer systemen en databronnen niet samenwerken, kan de ene afdeling niet bij de waardevolle inzichten van de andere afdeling. Inzichten die kunnen helpen om de klant nog beter van dienst te zijn. Aan de CIO de taak om alle verschillende databronnen te integreren, zodat elke afdeling op elk moment over alle informatie van de klant beschikt en een betere klantervaring kan bieden. Dit stelt een verkoper bijvoorbeeld in staat om mogelijkheden voor cross-selling en up-selling te identificeren op basis van de geschiedenis van elke klant.

    Wanneer alle data van de klant beschikbaar is, kan deze data geanalyseerd worden en kunnen er aanbevelingen op worden gedaan. Aan de hand van eerder gekochte producten kun je er dan bijvoorbeeld achter komen of en wát iemand hoogstwaarschijnlijk de volgende keer zal kopen. Zo stelt het vervolgens marketing weer in staat om de juiste boodschap op het juiste moment bij de juiste klant te brengen, zodat deze sneller converteert. Dat is de belangrijke rol van de CIO binnen de customer experience waarbij de CIO zowel de trusted operator als ook de business cocreator-rol uitoefent en combineert. Dus CIO van de toekomst; zorg dat je zowel de trusted operator bent áls de business cocreator zodat je in staat bent de customer experience van begin tot het eind te optimaliseren.

    Auteur: Onno Tjeerdsma

    Bron: CIO

  • How artificial intelligence will shape the future of business

    How artificial intelligence will shape the future of business

    From the boardroom at the office to your living room at home, artificial intelligence (AI) is nearly everywhere nowadays. Tipped as the most disruptive technology of all time, it has already transformed industries across the globe. And companies are racing to understand how to integrate it into their own business processes.

    AI is not a new concept. The technology has been with us for a long time, but in the past, there were too many barriers to its use and applicability in our everyday lives. Now improvements in computing power and storage, increased data volumes and more advanced algorithms mean that AI is going mainstream. Businesses are harnessing its power to reinvent themselves and stay relevant in the digital age.

    The technology makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. It does this by processing large amounts of data and recognising patterns. AI analyses much more data than humans at a much deeper level, and faster.

    Most organisations can’t cope with the data they already have, let alone the data that is around the corner. So there’s a huge opportunity for organisations to use AI to turn all that data into knowledge to make faster and more accurate decisions.

    Customer experience

    Customer experience is becoming the new competitive battleground for all organisations. Over the next decade, businesses that dominate in this area will be the ones that survive and thrive. Analysing and interpreting the mountains of customer data within the organisation in real time and turning it into valuable insights and actions will be crucial.

    Today most organisations are using data only to report on what their customers did in the past. SAS research reveals that 93% of businesses currently cannot use analytics to predict individual customer needs.

    Over the next decade, we will see more organisations using machine learning to predict future customer behaviours and needs. Just as an AI machine can teach itself chess, organizations can use their existing massive volumes of customer data to teach AI what the next-best action for an individual customer should be. This could include what product to recommend next or which marketing activity is most likely to result in a positive response.

    Automating decisions

    In addition to improving insights and making accurate predictions, AI offers the potential to go one step further and automate business decision making entirely.

    Front-line workers or dependent applications make thousands of operational decisions every day that AI can make faster, more accurately and more consistently. Ultimately this automation means improving KPIs for customer satisfaction, revenue growth, return on assets, production uptime, operational costs, meeting targets and more.

    Take Shop Direct for example, which owns the Littlewoods and Very brands. This approach saw Shop Direct’s profits surge by 40%, driven by a 15.9% increase in sales from Very.co.uk. It uses AI from SAS to analyse customer data in real time and automate decisions to drive groundbreaking personalisation at an individual customer level.

    AI is here. It’s already being adopted faster than the arrival of the internet. And it’s delivering business results across almost every industry today. In the next decade, every successful company will have AI. And the effects on skills, culture and structure will deliver superior customer experiences.

    Author: Tiffany Carpenter

    Source: SAS

  • Information Is Now The Core Of Your Business

    DataData is at the very core of the business models of the future – and this means wrenching change for some organizations.

    We tend to think of our information systems as a foundation layer that support the “real” business of the organization – for example, by providing the information executives need to steer the business and make the right decisions.

    But information is rapidly becoming much more than that: it’s turning into an essential component of the products and services we sell.

    Information-augmented products

    In an age of social media transparency, products “speak for themselves”– if you have a great product, your customers will tell their friends. If you have a terrible product, they’ll tell the world. Your marketing and sales teams have less room for maneuver, because prospects can easily ask existing customers if your product lives up to the promises.

    And customer expectations have risen. We all now expect to be treated as VIPs, with a “luxury” experience. When we make a purchase, we expect to be recognized. We expect our suppliers to know what we’ve bought in the past. And we expect personalized product recommendations, based on our profile, the purchases of other people like us, and the overall context of what’s happening right now.

    This type of customer experience doesn’t just require information systems; the information is an element of the experience itself, part of what we’re purchasing, and what differentiates products and services in the market.

    New ways of selling

    New technologies like 3D printing and the internet of things are allowing companies to rethink existing products.

    Products can be more easily customized and personalized for every customer. Pricing can be more variable to address new customer niches. And products can be turned into services, with customers paying on a per-usage basis.

    Again, information isn’t just supporting the manufacturing and sale of the product – it’s part of what makes it a “product” in the first place.

    Information as a product

    In many industries, the information collected by business is now more valuable than the products being sold – indeed, it’s the foundation for most of the free consumer internet. Traditional industries are now realizing that the data stored in their systems, once suitably augmented or anonymized, can be sold directly. See this article on the Digitalist magazine, The Hidden Treasure Inside Your Business, for more information about the four main information business models.

    A culture change for “traditional IT”

    Traditional IT systems were about efficiency, effectiveness, and integrity. These new context-based experiences and more sophisticated products use information to generate growth, innovation, and market differentiation. But these changes lead to a difficult cultural challenge inside the organization.

    Today’s customer-facing business and product teams don’t just need reliable information infrastructures. They need to be able to experiment, using information to test new product options and ways of selling. This requires not only much more flexibility and agility than in the past, but also new ways of working, new forms of IT organization, and new sharing of responsibilities.

    The majority of today’s CIOs grew up in an era of “IT industrialization,” with the implementation of company-wide ERP systems. But what made them successful in the past won’t necessarily help them win in the new digital era.

    Gartner believes that the role of the “CIO” has already split into two distinct functions: Chief Infrastructure Officers whose job is to “keep the lights on”; and Chief Innovation Offers, who collaborate closely with the business to build the business models of the future.

    IT has to help lead

    Today’s business leaders know that digital is the future, but typically only have a hazy idea of the possibilities. They know technology is important, but often don’t have a concrete plan for moving forward: 90% of CEOs believe the digital economy will have a major impact on their industry. But only 25% have a plan in place, and less than 15% are funding and executing a digital transformation plan.

    Business people want help from IT to explain what’s possible. Today, only 7% of executives say that IT leads their organization’s attempts to identify opportunities to innovate, 35% believe that it should. After decades of complaints from CIOs that businesses aren’t being strategic enough about technology, this is a fantastic new opportunity.

    Design Thinking and prototyping

    Today’s CIOs have to step up to digital innovation. The problem is that it can be very hard to understand — history is packed with examples of business leaders that just didn’t “get” the new big thing.  Instead of vague notions of “disruption,” IT can help by explaining to business people how to add information into a company’s future product experiences.

    The best way to do this is through methodologies such as Design Thinking, and agile prototyping using technologies should as Build.me, a cloud platform that allows pioneers to create and test the viability of new applications with staff and customers long before any actual coding.


    The bottom line is that digital innovation is less about the technology, and more about the transformation — but IT has an essential role to play in demonstrating what’s possible, and needs to step up to new leadership roles.


    Source: timoelliot.com, November 14, 2016

  • Machines vormen de toekomst van klantervaringen

    Machines vormen de toekomst van klantervaringen

    Wereldwijd onderzoek door Futurum Research in opdracht van SAS laat zien dat 67% van alle interacties tussen klanten en bedrijven door slimme machines wordt afgehandeld in 2030. Uit het onderzoek blijkt dat technologie de grootste drijvende kracht zal zijn voor de customer experience. Dat betekent dat merken hun klant ecosysteem opnieuw onder de loep moeten nemen om in te kunnen spelen op de mondige consument en nieuwe technologieën.

    Technologie heeft de afgelopen jaren de manier waarop bedrijven en consumenten met elkaar omgaan volledig op zijn kop gezet. Het gedrag en de voorkeuren van consumenten veranderen voortdurend. Hoe zal de klantervaring er in 2030 uitzien? En wat moeten merken doen om tegemoet te komen aan de verwachtingen van de toekomstige consument? Dit zijn een paar van de vragen die aan de orde komen in het onderzoek 'Experience 2030: The Future of Customer Experience', uitgevoerd door Futurum Research en gesponsord door SAS.

    Flexibiliteit en ingrijpende automatisering

    De bedrijven die in dit onderzoek werden ondervraagd voorzien voor 2030 een grootschalige verschuiving naar automatisering van klantinteracties. Het onderzoek voorspelt dat slimme machines mensen zullen vervangen en grofweg twee derde van alle klantcommunicatie, beslissingen tijdens real-time interacties en beslissingen ten aanzien van marketingcampagnes, zullen afhandelen. Volgens het onderzoek zal in 2030 67% van de interacties tussen bedrijven en consumenten die gebruikmaken van digitale technologie (online, mobiel, assistent etc) worden afgehandeld door slimme machines in plaats van menselijke medewerkers. En in 2030 zal 69% van de beslissingen tijdens een klantinteractie worden genomen door slimme machines.

    Consumenten omarmen nieuwe technologie

    Volgens het onderzoek is 78% van alle bedrijven van mening dat consumenten zich momenteel ongemakkelijk voelen over de omgang met technologie in winkels. Uit het onderzoek blijkt echter dat dit slechts gold voor 35% van alle consumenten. Dit verschil in perceptie tussen bedrijven en consumenten kan uitgroeien tot een beperkende factor voor de groei van deze bedrijven.
    Voor bedrijven levert dit niveau van klantacceptatie en -verwachting nieuwe kansen op om de betrokkenheid van klanten te vergroten. Om tegemoet te komen aan de steeds hogere verwachtingen van beide partijen hebben bedrijven echter nieuwe oplossingen nodig om de kloof tussen consumententechnologie en marketing technologie te dichten.

    Investeringen in AI en AR/VR

    De toekomst van customer experience zal in hoge mate worden bepaald door nieuwe technologieën. In dit onderzoek werd bedrijven gevraagd naar de toekomstige technologieën waarin ze momenteel investeren om ondersteuning te bieden aan nieuwe klantervaringen en het verbeteren van de klantentevredenheid in 2030. Volgens het onderzoek investeert 62% van alle bedrijven in spraakgestuurde AI-assistenten voor het verbeteren van de klantinteractie en voor de customer support. Nog eens 58% investeert in spraakgestuurde AI als hulpmiddel voor de marketing- en salesafdeling. 54% van alle bedrijven investeert in augmented reality (AR) en virtual reality (VR) om consumenten te helpen de vorm of het gebruik van een product of dienst op afstand te visualiseren. 53% heeft plannen om AR-/VR-tools in te zetten voor het optimaliseren van het gebruik van producten en selfservice mogelijkheden voor consumenten. Al deze opkomende en complexere technologieën voor klantloyaliteit betekenen dat merken hun kennis op het gebied van datamanagement, analytische optimalisatie processen en geautomatiseerde besluitvormings-mogelijkheden moeten heroverwegen. Ze moeten in staat zijn om deze nieuwe technologie in te zetten ten behoeve van tastbare bedrijfsresultaten. Deze nieuwe toepassingen zullen in staat zijn om data te verzamelen, verwerken en analyseren om bij te dragen aan de ‘multimediamarketing’ die bepalend is voor het toekomstig succes.

    Sleutel tot succes

    Misschien wel de grootste uitdaging voor bedrijven op dit moment is het vermogen om de vertrouwenskloof tussen bedrijven en consumenten te dichten. Consumenten zijn terughoudend in de manier waarop bedrijven met hun persoonlijke gegevens omgaan en voelen zich niet bij machte om hier verandering in te brengen. Slechts 54% van alle consumenten is er gerust op dat bedrijven hun data op vertrouwelijke wijze zullen behandelen. Slechts 54% van de consumenten vertrouwt erop dat bedrijven hun gegevens geheimhouden. Dit is een uitdaging voor bedrijven bij het optimaliseren van de customer experience, om de juiste balans te vinden tussen de hoeveelheid informatie die ze opvragen en het vertrouwen van klanten. Uit de onderzoeksresultaten blijkt echter dat bedrijven zich wel degelijk bewust zijn van de risico’s die ze lopen. 59% van hen is het sterk eens met de stelling dat het beveiligen van klantgegevens de allerbelangrijkste factor is voor een goede klantervaring. De vraag is echter of bedrijven daar klaar voor zijn. Het onderzoek doet vermoeden dat zij hierbij de nodige problemen ondervinden. 84% van alle bedrijven maakt zich namelijk zorgen over wijzigingen in overheidsrichtlijnen ten aanzien van privacy en de mate waarin ze daaraan kunnen voldoen.

    Over de onderzoeksmethodiek

    Futurum Research heeft in mei 2019 ruim 4.000 respondenten in 36 landen ondervraagd in verschillende sectoren en overheidsinstellingen. De onderzoeksresultaten zijn bekend gemaakt tijdens Analytics Experience in Milaan. Hier komen meer dan 1800 data scientists en zakelijke professionals samen om te leren over nieuwe toepassingen en best practices op het gebied van analytics.  

    Bron: BI platform

  • SAS: The importance of customer experience to keep improving as a company

    SAS: The importance of customer experience to keep improving as a company

    Did you know the first SAS® Users Group event took place before SAS was incorporated as a company? In 1976, hundreds of early SAS users gathered in sunny Kissimmee, FL to share tips and offer feedback before SAS was even officially a company. Our users have continued to influence the direction of our products ever since. And we continue to be keenly interested in the customer experience.

    I’ve been reflecting on my time at SAS and how I’ve seen that commitment grow over the last few years. I remember my first SAS users group conference in 2001 when I was a new product manager at SAS. Attendees told me how much it meant to them that we were there to listen and learn about the ways they used SAS products and the value SAS had for their organizations. The peer interaction that happens in the SAS community continues to inspire me, and I consider that peer interaction to be an essential ingredient of the SAS customer experience, too.

    Since that time, our customer experience program has grown roots and become a key driver in the decisions we make as a company. The feedback and input we receive from our users fuels our growth and allows us to focus on the products, services and overall experience that matter most to you.

    Consider this example. Recently, our newer users told us that it can be overwhelming to get started with SAS and to find all the resources they needed to improve their SAS skills. We understand there can be a learning curve with any new software and we wanted to make it easier for anyone, from students to professional data scientists, to reap value from SAS immediately.

    In response to this feedback, we created a SAS Starter Kit and a SAS Communities space just for new users. The starter kit makes it easy to access free training, support and services. And the communities space pairs new users with SAS pros who are business intelligence experts and enjoy sharing their experience and answering even the most basic questions.

    Author: Randy Guard

    Source: SAS

  • The different levels of a CX strategy and how to level up

    The different levels of a CX strategy and how to level up

    Customer experience (CX) needs to be an essential part of your business plan to stay competitive.

    About seven in 10 customer experience management professionals (67%) say their organizations are already competing mostly or entirely on CX, according to a recent Gartner survey. By two years from now, nearly nine in 10 CX managers (86%) expect to mostly or entirely compete on the basis of CX.

    If you want your business to beat the competition, you need to create a robust CX strategy.

    In this article, we’ll cover the current state of CX marketing strategies and popular CX initiatives at other organizations. Use this information to identify gaps in your organization’s initiatives and to propose investing in improvements.

    Where organizations are now in their CX strategy

    Most organizations are still in the early stages of customer experience maturity, according to Gartner’s CX maturity model. This model is a tool to help organizations assess where they are and where they want to be in their CX strategy and initiatives. The model consists of five levels, ranging from an ad hoc approach to a fully embedded, organization-wide approach.

    About two-thirds of B2C organizations are in the earliest two stages of CX maturity, representing an initial ad hoc approach (32%) or an early established CX road map (33%). In comparison, just 5% of organizations are in the upper two levels, which are characterized by optimizing and fully embedding CX considerations across all levels of the organization.

    What a CX strategy looks like at different levels of maturity

    To get a stronger sense of what CX maturity looks like, take a look at the following table, which lays out key characteristics of what an organization’s customer experience program looks like across the five maturity levels.

    Ask yourself where your organization is now and where you want the organization to be.

    From there, you can begin building a strategy to close the gap between your current level and goal level.

    Customer experience maturity levels

    1. Ad hoc

    • Purpose and strategy:Reacting, fighting fires
    • Customer insight: No research team or budget
    • Personas and journeys: None exist
    • Voice of the Customer: Irregular surveys

    2. Establishing

    • Purpose and strategy: Reducing complaints, developing strategy
    • Customer insight: Dedicated researcher
    • Personas and journeys: Developed
    • Voice of the Customer: Standardized surveys

    3. Performing

    • Purpose and strategy: Implementing a unified CX strategy
    • Customer insight: Dedicated research team
    • Personas and journeys: Used to identify and prioritize efforts
    • Voice of the Customer: Limited, closed-loop feedback process

    4. Optimizing

    • Purpose and strategy: Optimizing to meet CX goals
    • Customer insight: Continuous
    • Personas and journeys: Detailed, represent full journey
    • Voice of the Customer: Fully operationalized across organization

    5. Embedded

    • Purpose and strategy: Pursuing innovation, whole organization buy-in
    • Customer insight: Insights widely distributed, used daily
    • Personas and journeys: Used throughout the organization
    • Voice of the Customer: Continuous monitoring

    The maturity model is not prescriptive. It’s important to note that not all organizations will even want to reach level 5, which involves continuously monitoring customer feedback to make real-time decisions. The technological and financial requirements for this approach are likely prohibitive for small and midsize businesses, not to mention the time and staffing it would require.

    Take your customer experience strategy to the next level with these 3 popular CX initiatives

    As you can see from the maturity model table, personas, journey maps, and a Voice of the Customer program are key characteristics that can help define where you are in the development of your CX program. Here are some tips for implementing or optimizing these initiatives.

    1. Develop customer personas to better identify CX needs

    A customer persona is a finely honed profile of your best or target customer and should be as specific as possible to help you visualize their wants, needs, behaviors, and motivations.

    Think beyond demographic information such as age, gender, income, or geography type. Psychographic (e.g., values, opinions, aspirations), transactional (e.g., purchase histories, service records), and behavioral (e.g., engagement on your website or social media profiles) information are key components of a richly-built persona.

    Where to start:

    If you don’t already have a customer persona, start by working on a persona for your most valuable customer type.

    Level up:

    If you already have a customer persona, consider creating additional personas to acknowledge other valuable customer types. Validate your existing persona by checking back in on the data you used when you created it and updating it as needed. Use your customer personas to identify CX needs.

    2. Build customer journey maps to better prioritize CX efforts

    A customer journey map is an externally focused map of your customer’s experience through the full cycle of a particular journey. For example, the journey could start at the customer’s own awareness of a need and end with a product purchase, with steps for every interaction and impression in between.

    The process of building a customer journey map is an act of empathy; you should put yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagine their actions and feelings along the way. By the end of the process, you should have a deeper understanding of gaps or flaws in the customer experience and your customer’s motivations, desires, and feelings throughout.

    Where to start:

    If you don’t already have a journey map, have a workshop with key stakeholders involved in any customer-facing touchpoint.

    Level up:

    If you have a journey map already, validate that it’s still accurate every year or so. Use your journey maps to identify pain points within your customer’s journey and brainstorm solutions.

    3. Create a Voice of the Customer program to improve CX efforts

    A VoC program helps measure customer experience (CX) by capturing and analyzing multiple types of customer feedback to identify customer experience areas that need improvement. As one of the core ways to better understand your customers, VoC programs enable organizations to follow one of the foundational pillars of strong CX.

    Data sources for a VoC program can include customer complaints, customer surveys, employee feedback, company reviews, interviews, and social media. Through rich, diversified sources of customer feedback, VoC programs help companies better understand customer experience and sentiment.

    Where to start:

    If you don’t have a VoC program in place, start by improving your customer survey program: Standardize surveys and make timing regular and consistent.

    Level up:

    If you already have a VoC program in place, consider adding other forms of feedback to enrich your VoC. Use this data to track progress on your CX efforts.

    Envision your long-term CX strategy goals

    Using the customer experience maturity table above, ask yourself where your organization’s CX program is now, where you want it to be, and how you can get there.

    Starting or improving your efforts in one or all of the popular CX initiatives laid out here (personas, journey maps, and VoC programs) is a great place to start in leveling up your CX maturity.

    Auhtor: Kristen Bialik

    Source: Capterra

  • The two ways of measuring customer loyalty and why you need both

    The two ways of measuring customer loyalty and why you need both

    Customer experience (CX) leaders are called upon to lift customer loyalty, which, of course, means they have to measure loyalty. There are two broad ways to measure customer loyalty: Attitudinal measures and behavioral measures. Too often, CX leaders lean on one or the other, but delivering reliable CX results requires both.

    Attitudinal measures 

    These measures are used to understand how customers feel about your brand. You collect attitudinal data via Voice of the Customer (VoC) surveys that ask about the customer’s satisfaction, likelihood to repurchase, or willingness to recommend.

    Behavioral measures 

    These measures are used to measure if customers are acting on their feelings of loyalty. You measure behavioral loyalty using transactional and sales data. Do my customers continue to purchase? What is their purchase frequency or average order amount?  At what rate to I retain or churn existing customers?

    Many organizations believe that behavioral measures are most important. After all, what good are customers who feel loyal if they don’t act on that feeling? In the end, you take behavioral measures of loyalty to the bank. It is nice to get a high Net Promoter Score, but it’s customers’ behaviors that provide the money that drives business results.

    But while behavioral measures are vital, there is considerable risk in relying on these transactional measures in the absence of attitudinal data. Repeat purchases may look like loyalty, but they can be driven by factors that are not related to customers’ feelings of brand loyalty. People may repeatedly buy out of habit, because of limited competitive options, for convenience, or because your brand offers the lowest price. A brand focused only on behavioral loyalty metrics may gain false confidence that all is well because customers are repurchasing, only to learn how little loyalty the brand earns when it tries to raise prices or when a better, more-convenient or lower-price competitor enters the market. Behavioral measures tell you what customers are spending, not what they feel toward the brand.

    The taxi industry offers a recent and compelling example of the risks of relying only on behavioral measures of loyalty. For decades, taxi companies owned the on-demand transportation market. Protected by regulation, they were the only option for travelers and urban residents in need of a quick ride. No one liked taxis, but they used them, so the industry’s behavioral loyalty appeared to be great... Until Uber and Lyft entered the marketplace. Customers who felt no loyalty to taxis rapidly shifted to the new entrants. Had taxi companies collected attitudinal measures of loyalty and addressed the reasons for customer dissatisfaction, the industry might have enjoyed stronger customer relationships and mounted a more effective defense against the upstart network transportation companies.

    Another problem with leaning on behavioral measures is that this data is a lagging indicator. Using purchase data to measure loyalty, you can only measure a lost customer after they’ve left. As a result, behavioral loyalty data can let you know if your retention rate is declining, but it isn’t predictive of what you can expect in the future, which customers may be next, and why they are abandoning your brand.

    Behavioral data may be closest to the sales performance of your business, but attitudinal loyalty data (quantitative survey data appended with qualitative research) is even more powerful for understanding customer perception, feelings of loyalty and emotional bonds, and what adverse factors can be addressed today to reduce customer churn in the future. Smart brands use their VoC survey results to identify which customers are most at risk and target them for unique retention and recovery efforts, helping to improve loyalty and reduce turnover.

    When measuring loyalty, smart CX leaders don’t lean on one kind of measure over another. By collecting and analyzing both behavioral and attitudinal loyalty, you are best prepared to identify likely causes of customer churn while also measuring the financial costs and benefits of delivering better customer experience.

    Author: Augie Ray

    Source: Gartner

  • Truly making the customer the centrepiece of your CX program

    Truly making the customer the centrepiece of your CX program

    I often see customer experience (CX) programs that connect point A directly to point B, equating the actions the brand does to the value it derives from those actions. A straightforward example of this is when a martech vendor claims, 'We improve the brand’s CX by enhancing offers and ‘next best actions,’ resulting in more clickthroughs and conversions'. Or, you might hear an executive say: 'We improved our CX by implementing self-service, which reduced call volume and headcount, thus saving us money'.

    Those are both excellent business outcomes, but is either a CX outcome? In neither of those examples do we know the impact on the customer. Are customers happier? Do they perceive more value? Have we changed their attitude toward the brand or themselves? Are they more likely to be loyal or tell others? We don’t know because, in both of those examples, we skipped the customer. If you are doing CX, you cannot go from point A: what we do, to point B: what we get, without going through point C: the customer.

    When we skip the customer and tie our 'CX' projects only to the value the brand receives, we convert our customers into objects rather than the subjects of our efforts. In your life, objects fit into one of three broad categories: They are tools for you to exploit, barriers for you to overcome, or they are nothing. In those examples, we made the customer a tool (a wallet for us to pluck) and a barrier (an annoyance for us to eliminate). In neither case did we treat customers as people: Human beings with wants, needs, and expectations. Nor did we, in either example, measure (or even care about) the impact on the customer.

    To make the customer the subject of what you do and not merely an object that is acted upon to get what your brand wants, go from point A to C to B. That means connecting what you do to how it changes customer perception, and then recognizing how those changes in perception drive behavioral shifts that deliver long-term brand value. That may sound complicated, but it’s not. We just have to listen to customer perception and tie that to the loyalty behaviors that drive brand value, such as retention, sales growth, purchase frequency, the cost to serve or retain, and brand advocacy and word-of-mouth.

    If you start with what you want (more sales or lower costs), develop a plan to enhance your brand’s immediate financial outcomes, and measure only brand impact and not how or if customer perception has changed, you may deliver short-term ROI but cannot know if you’ve provided a better customer experience. More to the point, you cannot know if you’ve traded improved financial results today for powerful, lasting relationships that drive growth, margin, and profit tomorrow. Instead, you must connect point A and B by going through C.

    To change the customer from an object to the subject of your CX program, start with what customers want and need, develop a plan to lift customer satisfaction, and measure how you improve the customer and their relationship with your brand. Here’s how:

    • Listen to customer needs, perceptions, and feedback.
    • Bring your attitudinal and behavioral data together to understand the ROI of CX.
    • Start with customer wants and needs by developing the right personas.
    • Collaborate across functional silos to understand and identify customers’ desired journeys.
    • Measure impact on customers and not merely the effect on your brand.

    Author: Augie Ray

    Source: Gartner

  • What to Expect in Customer Experience and Market Research this Year?  

    What to Expect in Customer Experience and Market Research this Year?

    The Customer Experience (CX) discipline, including market research, is continuously changing, and being enhanced as more organizations understand how critical CX is to future growth. And even though CX and market research are key for business success, the programs are often in their early stages, even in modern offices.

    2022 will be the year CX and market research explode

    Customer data is too important to ignore. And the pandemic altered our normal routine enough to fundamentally change buying behavior, for both B2B and B2C – maybe forever. Modern businesses fall behind sometimes, especially with this year’s uneven return to the workplace. And even a good program can improve. The predictions in this article will help your team act with foresight to build the best and most-responsive organization possible in 2022.

    Prediction #1: Brand loyalty rebooted

    COVID-19 killed brand loyalty. Brand loyalty took a nosedive during the pandemic with 75% of consumers trying a new shopping behavior since the COVID-19 pandemic started. This includes trying new brands, new retailers, and new generics.

    During the pandemic, consumers vented their need for novelty by ordering new toothpaste, a different cereal, or engaging in a fully new routine. When consumers couldn’t browse grocery store aisles, getting new products delivered scratched the itch for something outside the routine.

    But the great brand realignment isn’t over. McKinsey reports that consumers intend to continue these new habits after pandemic restrictions ease. Eighty percent of consumers intend to continue use of private labels and almost as many intend to continue using new brands (73%) and new retailers (79%).

    Why loyalty matters

    Smart marketers and researchers know that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25-95%. In short, it can be easier and more profitable to keep the customers you have than attract net-new customers. Loyalty matters because regular customers tend to be your best customers.

    If consumers tried new or private labels during the pandemic, it should then come as no surprise that Forrester reports that loyalty and retention marketing budgets increased by 30% in 2021. CMOs are attempting to shore up loyalty by putting the customer at the center of everything they do. Expect to see customer experience, marketing, and market research grow ever closer in 2022.

    Why consumers switch

    The pandemic forced consumers to change behavior, but that isn’t the full story around consumers’ lack of loyalty. It’s simply easier these days to produce products, purchase advertising, and find a receptive audience. This speed to market is part of the reason there are so many small direct-to-consumer brands appearing recently.

    How to earn wandering consumers back

    Some experts encourage a return to marketing and research basics to improve brand-customer relationships. At Alchemer, we recommend making that brand-customer relationship your highest goal. Growing relationships takes effort, but we’ve found that our best relationships typically lead to our best growth opportunities.

    So, we put customers and their feedback at the center of our work. Our recommendation to business and research leaders is to become customer-obsessed in 2022. It’s a huge task to orient away from a product-first or company-first mentality. But shifting to a customer-first mentality makes all the difference.

    Prediction #2: Surveys are just the start

    Customer experience programs are far more than surveys. Prepare for CX and research to get more complex in 2022. Surveys will always play a part in customer experience and market research. Surveys allow researchers to benchmark performance, capture post-purchase feedback, and develop a data cache with periodic surveys.

    In 2022, CX programs will grow far more comprehensive in scope. Executives have been trying (and often failing) to integrate customer feedback in a meaningful and profitable way – in a way that allows for quick customer interaction and issue resolution, not just data collection. That real-time relationship building has been difficult or impossible in the past, but no longer. Technical advances will finally allow CX managers and market researchers to contribute meaningfully to relationships in real-time.

    No playing around

    CX leaders need surveys to collect data, but then that data must feed into other systems, triggering automated workflows and providing solutions quickly.

    In fact, McKinsey declares that “survey-based systems can no longer meet the demands of today’s companies“, because they are:

    • Limited. Only 13% of CX leaders express full confidence that their measurement system provides a representative view of their customer base.
    • Ambiguous. Only 16% of CX leaders think that surveys allow them to address the root causes of performance.
    • Unfocused. Only 4% of CX leaders believe their CX measurement system enables them to calculate a decision’s return on investment (ROI).

    In fact, our prediction for 2022 is that customer data becomes one important piece of your larger CX and research program – a broader view empowered by connected data sets.

    Prediction #3: From data collection to data action

    Many CX and market research teams lack the data integration of their sales and marketing counterparts.

    Sales departments tend to operate using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Salesforce (SFDC) and, by 2022, have likely already integrated with other data sets like Jira for product or Salesloft for cadences. Likewise, marketing tends to run the marketing automation platform with data that syncs not only to Salesforce but other publishing or analytics tools.

    Integrated data is how sales and marketing get done. Less so for CX.

    In 2022, expect the CX and market research functions to evolve in many organizations. CX has collected numerous potential data sets just waiting to be leveraged:

    • Internal customer behaviors, transactions, and profiles
    • Third-party data on customer attitudes, purchase preferences and digital actions
    • Social media activity
    • IoT data collected in-store or on-location regarding customer health, usage, and sentiment
    • Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

    We predict that this next year will see CX departments and market researchers evolve from data consumers to data contributors, sharing critical customer interactions throughout their journey.

    Learning how to share

    Customer data needs to flow to frontline employees and tools, like a company CRM, via an application programming interface (API). The API can serve as a catalyst for automated actions based on metrics like lead score.

    In a recent Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper, commissioned by Alchemer, “Smoke And Mirrors: Why Customer Experience Programs Miss Their Mark“, only 29% of CX respondents say they can meaningfully act on the data they collect and only 17% say that feedback is communicated to the appropriate internal teams to act on it.

    Companies have invested heavily in creating customer programs that do a pretty good job of listening and analyzing feedback, but are terrible at responding to the input from their customers.

    Collecting and seeing data is one step. But acting on data is a trend Alchemer expects to see much more in 2022, a key differentiating feature for market research teams.

    Prediction #4: Automation embraced by employees

    Automation provokes anxiety in many people including market researchers. PwC reports that 60% of people are worried about automation putting many jobs at risk.

    In 2022, Alchemer predicts a shift in the way we view automation. We believe this coming year will herald a new relationship with automation; an acceptance of our human foibles and the automation we will now call upon to continue our evolution.

    Acceptance of automation should not come as a surprise. We know brands are becoming more transparent about data collection and market research. We know that consumers care less about businesses collecting particular pieces of information, like email addresses. And we know we cannot stop the onset of better software, better AI and ML, better…everything.

    Fear of automation is overstated

    In the United States, 52% of respondents received automation training within the past year and 94% credit the training with an improved job performance. Almost all respondents claim that automation makes them better at their job.

    But acceptance of automation doesn’t end at training. When considering future careers, 63% of workers see automation skills as critical to their career growth.

    So, let’s face it: We are cautiously optimistic about the future of technology. The same PwC study reveals that 64% of respondents say technology presents more opportunities than risks (only 9% disagree).

    Increasing human potential

    So, why are workers so bullish on automation these days? An early indicator could be exactly the type of work being automated – humans may be delighted that their repetitive, mundane work can be automated freeing more time for strategy and analysis.

    A second indicator appears to be a renewed focus on other skills. With the introduction of AI, executives are more likely to look at processes and roles, and to consider different modes of working. Many business leaders are incorporating training on uniquely human skills: 59 percent of AI practitioners reported that their organizations are focusing on “process skills, like active listening and critical thinking”.

    We may already be seeing this type of training pay off. People learned a lot of new skills during the COVID pandemic. And not just how to bake sour-dough bread. Four in five workers learned new skills from home during the pandemic (82%) and 72% report feeling more confident in their ability to do their job. While many experienced The Great Recession or Realignment, those of us reporting to work are feeling better about it than the recent past.

    In 2022, we finally embrace automation.

    Prediction #5: B2B more like B2C

    Many of us spent a good portion of the pandemic making purchases from our phones, downloading media onto our devices, and playing games online with family members. We were living B2C lives where purchases were only a click away.

    Now, as workers return or plan to return to work, we are back to living B2B lives during part of the day. We’re required to speak with Sales teams to get information. We access wonky vendor portals or employee intranets to find solutions.

    When will a software company homepage give us the same warm and fuzzy feelings as Netflix? 

    The pandemic changed business relationships forever

    The bar has been raised for customer experience and market research teams and how they develop relationships with consumers.

    As workers shifted to remote work, they found a lot to love. Self-serve options, common in B2C e-commerce, have grown for business buyers too. Top-of-funnel activities like identifying and evaluating new suppliers offer more self-service options – up in a new McKinsey study from 22% of respondents in August 2020 to 34% in February 2021.

    We don’t hate human interaction; we just want to complete our work. McKinsey shows that two-thirds of buyers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service. A Forrester study found that 59% of B2B buyers and sellers prefer not to interact with a sales rep and 74% prefer buying directly from a website. The message: Let us do it ourselves.

    What do B2B consumers want?

    B2B consumers want everything that B2C consumers have – easy service, quick product purchase, digital content, and responsive support. Forrester Principal Analyst Kathy Contreras says, “[t]he future B2B buyer will expect buying experiences to be increasingly open, connected, intuitive, and immediate“.

    B2B buyers want access to information – access that is possible through ubiquitous digital channels, available anywhere, on any device. With more people confined to their homes this past year and more reliant than ever on digital tools, customer expectations for a frictionless experience have risen.

    “Personalization” is the term most often tossed around when discussing tactics for customer focus. But we predict a bigger focus than just adding someone’s first name to their email introductions.

    This personalization is different. This personalization is about the whole experience – the content, the product, the offer, the look, and feel. This personalization starts to sound a lot like B2C to CEO Gal Oron:

    “Performing analytics on customers’ product content interactions can help businesses better understand what each customer needs and tailor their experiences – from the content they’re served to the offers and promotions they receive – in a way that feels just as customized and relevant as their video streaming feeds.”

    Personalization is about providing answers for the consumer. If these experiences are as profitable as they seem – Epsilon says 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when offered a personalized experience – then expect to see a lot more personalization in B2B sales during 2022.

    We predict personalized, relevant experiences for B2B buyers on digital channels to greatly increase as the lines between B2B and B2C continue to blur. It may not be Netflix, but perhaps it can come close.

    Author: Chris Benham

    Source: Greenbook

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