Mature companies have overcome technical and data challenges in their quest to deliver a compelling multichannel customer experience empowerment (Research by Econsultancy and Foviance)

The second annual Multichannel Customer Experience Report by eConsultancy shows how organisations are committing to delivering an integrated experience in a world of evolving technology and the proliferation of devices. A survey of over 650 companies and agencies, finds key differences in what the most successful multichannel companies are doing versus those that are struggling.

Differing Perceptions of How To Provide a Positive Customer Experience

The findings show that mature and immature companies have a different perception of the attributes required for delivering a positive customer experience:

  • Mature companies are far more likely to regard ‘motivated and empowered staff’ and ‘efficient customer service’ as among the three most important attributes.
  • Immature companies are more focused on visibility of customer behavior across channels and the need for a single or joined-up customer database.

Better Customer Experience Data Gathering  = Better Outcomes

This doesn’t mean that mature companies aren’t concerned about technical and data-related issues, but that they have already mastered these areas and can now go on to reap the benefits by focusing on key performance issues. Immature companies that are still worried about technology and systems, are losing sight of the importance of customer service and empowered staff.

According to Richard Sedley, Commercial Director at Foviance:

Companies that have benefited most from improving their multichannel customer experience are those that have recognised the importance of combining quantitative and qualitative customer insights. If your company isn’t already capturing ‘voice of customer’ via onsite surveying and social listening and integrating it with data from web analytics and search there has never been a better time to start.

 Better Data = Better Marketing

 An article by Jeffrey Boorjian, Vice president, Marketing at Caesars Entertainment Corporation on Chief Marketing highlights the importance of using customer experience data to deepen marketing insight. By integrating service data into their customer records, marketers can use information to better shape campaigns, alert their companies to potential problems, and aid in product design.
The great thing is that customers are willing to share meaningful feedback to help you improve products, resolve disputes, uncover errors and increase revenues – for free. However, this information typically remains isolated, not funneled to the appropriate departments and represent the loss of a valuable opportunity to businesses that fail to incorporate service data into their customer records, and use it profitably.

How To Collect Feedback

Marketers have many opportunities to collect feedback, formal and informal. The informality of a channel does not minimize the value of the data that can be gathered. If you employ multiple channels to collect feedback, you get the benefit of hearing the perspectives of disparate customer segments, which avoids getting feedback that is heavily weighted with a certain customer type that isn’t representative of the entire population.

Data collection methods include:

Formal surveys
* Online and social media
* Real-time in-store interactions

1. Formal Surveys

Marketers who have regular customer surveys can receive continuous and valuable insight into how their customers view their businesses. Here are some guidelines:

  • Surveys should follow each step in the customer experience to understand the  important drivers of customer satisfaction. Tailoring each set of questions to customers’ use of specific products or services both expedites the process and demonstrates knowledge of customers’ preferences.
  • Marketers should weight the surveys so their most valuable consumers have the strongest voice. For instance, in the airline industry a customer who has purchased a first-class ticket one week before the flight represents a substantial premium vs. someone in coach who used loyalty program currency to obtain a ticket based months in advance. If there is consistent feedback on a certain area, management needs to understand which consumers it is coming from, and the potential revenue implications of changing strategy.
  • Marketers should optimize response rates through timing and incentives because consumers are bombarded with customer surveys.
  • Survey within seven days of a customer’s purchase because recency is often the best predictor of future behavior.  This allows customers to reflect on their experiences and provide the most memorable feedback.
  • Provide appropriate resting periods before soliciting feedback again. Too often retailers deploy surveys to the same customers after every transaction. Over time, this typically decreases response rates.
  • Provide a clear benefit to customers for taking the survey, such as entry into a monthly drawing or a future discounts. People like being rewarded for their efforts.

2. Online And Social Media

Step 1. Have channels available for consumers: Today’s technology enables marketers to collect data in real time. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, etc. enable businesses to connect with different customer segments. These channels provide a wealth of ideas and serve as the foundation for innovation. Websites like mystarbucksideas.com offer excellent examples of businesses creating a forum for brand enthusiasts to share new concepts, provide suggestions for improvement and gauge customer feedback.

Step 2. Ensure active engagement by employees who are knowledgeable and empowered to speak on behalf of the company. Quite often, customers have complaints or comments that require in-depth product knowledge. Customers expect an immediate response. If a business does not respond or provides a generic answer, consumers will quickly disengage.

3. Real-Time Interactions

Real-time data collection can be challenging activity, but it is extremely valuable to have a database that tracks transactions. This provides quantitative support that helps balance the qualitative feedback marketers collect.

For example, companies often keep detailed records of customer service calls, complaints and preferences so they can tailor their approach when speaking with each customer.  For example, if a service representative  knows that a customer called three weeks ago interested a product but hesitant about the price, he can offer a discounted rate.

Ultimately, the more businesses learn about their customers, particularly their most profitable ones, the better off they will be. By continually collecting feedback and disseminating this information so that it is available throughout all customer-facing channels, businesses will reap financial rewards and engender strong loyalty.


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