Customer demand for personalized buying experiences is at an all-time high.
We have grown accustomed to getting exactly what we want at the swipe of a finger – everything from clothing and takeout to private drivers and child care services. In this “there’s an app for that” world, brands have no choice but to provide seamless and relevant customer experiences across all channels from mobile device to store front.
This means understanding customers on a personal level and then engaging them in targeted real-time journeys to deliver the most relevant customer experience.
So, how are brands doing?
At a time when consumer demand is up and loyalty is tenuous at best, marketers are struggling to gain a clear picture of their customers. In fact, a recent study from IBM and Econsultancy found a massive disconnect between how well businesses think they are marketing and the customer’s actual experience.
While 90 percent of marketers agree that personalizing the customer experience is critical to their success, four out of five consumers believe that the brands they interact with do not understand them as individuals.
But wait, there’s more.
Half of these consumers reported changing their banking, mobile, internet or satellite/cable service provider in the last 12 months due to experience-related factors. This perception gap has huge implications for a brand’s bottom line and begs the question of why are brands missing the mark?
One explanation for this relevancy void may be that many marketers lack the innovative tools that are crucial for multi channel engagement. According to the study, only 34 percent of marketers said they do a good job of linking their online and offline customer experiences.
So, what can brands and marketers do to bridge this great customer experience divide?
Below are three tips for evolving the consumer/brand relationship into a two-way relationship to build true customer loyalty and brand trust:
Make it personal: With an overwhelming percentage of consumers believing that brands do not understand them as individuals, it’s time for marketers to leverage the power of big data and analytics to better understand their customers. Instead of making educated guesses, marketers must dive deep into who their customers are, how they are feeling and then glean insights that can be used to make valuable connections.
Gone are the days of the old-school “spray-and-pray” model that pushed the same message to thousands of individuals – consumers see right through that and demand more tailored interactions to catch their attention and more importantly, their wallets.
Customer experience should be your #1 priority: We’re seeing a shift where consumers value their experience with a brand even more than the price of the item or the service itself.
According to Gartner, brands that offer personalization will outsell those who don’t by more than 15 percent by 2018. It has become imperative for brands to compete based on their customer experience, or risk losing valuable customers to the competition.
Earn your customers’ trust for greater insight: The IBM/Econsultancy study found that 61 percent of consumers would be willing to share highly-sensitive personal information with a brand they trust.
For marketers, earning your customers’ trust is like hitting the jackpot. The more information a brand can gather about a specific customer, the better they can tailor offers and communications to deliver a more relevant experience.
Brands have a unique opportunity to engage and serve their customers’ needs like never before. By personalizing each interaction, engaging with customers at every touch point and leveraging analytics to understand each individual, brands can drive customer loyalty.
These outstanding experiences cultivate a powerful and influential core of individuals who are doing you the ultimate service, advocating your brand by sharing across their social networks.