Most companies believe they offer an excellent customer experience. Unfortunately, their customers often disagree. In one Bain study, 80% of companies stated that they believe they offer super experiences. Only 8% of customers agreed.
This disconnect between expectation and experience is driving a divide between organisations. The ones who can deliver consistently great customer experiences are on the path to success; those that can’t are heading to obsolescence.
What’s at play here is a battle between those organisations that can capture data and produce insights that lead to improvements in customer experience (those with so-called intelligent enterprise capabilities), and the ones that still rely on outdated best-guess approaches to deliver great experiences.
How do we close this gap between expectation and experience?
Analytics play a vital role in helping companies understand how their customers experience their products and services. Without data, there is no way to measure the success of any customer programme. And as more companies move into a ‘customer first’ mindset, being able to measure progress along the way to superior customer experiences is invaluable.
There are three key focus areas for using data to improve the customer experience, namely:
1. Data about customer journeys
Customers no longer care whether your sales department speaks to your marketing department. When they interact with your company or brand, they expect a consistent and positive experience no matter what part of the customer journey they are in.
To do that, you need a 360-degree view of each individual customer and their preferences to allow you to deliver the best possible experience throughout.
Data and analytics help you create rich customer profiles that can help you achieve this level of personalisation throughout the customer journey.
Machine learning algorithms are hugely powerful in this scenario: by embedding intelligence into back-end processes, companies are far better placed to deliver consistently excellent customer experiences at every conceivable touch point.
2. Data about the business processes that are invisible to your customers
Not every aspect of a business or brand that affect the customer experience is visible to customers. The supply chain plays a vital role in delivering the type of personalisation demanded by modern customers. For example, a special request from a customer sets off a cascade of background processes, from design to manufacturing to fulfilment.
Using sensors, organisations can create a connected supply chain that continuously generates data for analysis and provides insights that help organisations orchestrate all end-to-end supply chain activities. This level of insight, control and consistency helps to shape the customer’s experience and can deliver long-term brand loyalty.
3. Data from listening to the customer
It seems logical for companies that want to deliver better customer experiences to listen to what those customers want, but a surprising number of businesses don’t get it right. Listening is fundamental to improving your relationship with your customers. Using sentiment analysis, companies can listen to what their customers are saying about their brand and their own preferences on social media.
But it’s not enough to listen to customer conversations on just Facebook or Twitter: true insight is generated by integrating data across channels and doing advanced analysis to develop a deep understanding of customers at an individual level.
Pulling it all together
Once you have improved your performance across these three focus areas, you can close the gap between customer expectation and customer experience. When you get that right, you’re on the path to success in the Experience Economy.