If you are looking up articles on how technology helps deliver better customer experiences, then you have most likely already clocked on to a few important factors.
Namely, that technological advancements have indeed helped businesses to improve and enhance their CX initiatives.
Like most consumer trends, this push towards improving the customer experience through technology isn’t coming from businesses – it’s coming from consumers. Brands like Amazon, Apple, IKEA and Sephora might be pioneers of revolutionizing CX strategies time and time again, but they are merely responding to consumer demand.
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After all, we live in a time when it is normal to hit a button on your phone and within moments, a stranger appears in front of you with a car, ready to take you anywhere you want to go… No wonder our expectations of CX technology have increased!
Of course, some businesses have been quicker than others to react to this rising emphasis on CX. So how can you ensure that your business is in the “some”, not the “others”?
1. Technology allows us to convert quantitative data into qualitative data, for actionable insights
Any child with a lemonade stand can use quantitative data to measure their sales, revenue and stocktake. A good business owner will read between the lines of what the quantitative data tells them, and adjust their business accordingly.
These days, there is a wealth of software out there that essentially does this for you; providing marketers with quantitative data in regards to what customers want, how they want it, when/where they want it, which customers aren’t responding to what strategies and so on.
From CRM systems and digital loyalty programs to social media metrics, there is an endless pool of resources at every business’s disposal for measuring its customers’ overall brand experience.
Once you can see what is working and what isn’t working, you gain access to a much clearer image of what improvements can be made. This is how technology helps deliver better customer experiences.
Imagine if you had the time and resources to sit each of your customers down and ask them a series of questions about your brand’s customer experience, every time they visited your store or made a purchase. “How did you find this, what did you think of that? What can we improve? What made you come back again?”
As CRM technology has gotten increasingly advanced, it’s become easier to answer these questions without even needing to ask them, thanks to customer data.
Technology has evolved beyond helping businesses identify flaws in CX. Nowadays, it allows businesses to pre-empt potential challenges and drawbacks to an individual customer’s experience, and resolve them before they’ve even caused disruption. This drastically increases customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty.
2. Technology allows us to tailor each customer’s individual experience to accommodate their specific preferences
Any marketer worth their salt knows what I’m talking about… personalization! While this term has become mainstream in marketing circles, people’s idea of what personalization actually means differs greatly.
For instance, personalization is not simply about giving customers more of what they want. Good personalization actually shows the customer what they want, even if they didn’t necessarily realize it yet themselves.
There’s a classic (true!) story about an angry father storming into a Target in Minneapolis, enraged that the department store had been sending his teenage daughter discount vouchers for diapers, baby cribs and other baby products.
As it turns out, the algorithms of Target’s loyalty program were so refined that they accurately predicted this customer was pregnant, based on the products she had been purchasing recently.
Now, I realize that isn’t the most positive example to use, but it illustrates how far technology has come in regards to the customer experience!
While more than 90% of consumers express concern about their data privacy online, there are plenty of studies to suggest that most consumers are happy for the brands they shop with to use their data for the purposes of personalizing their shopping experience.
So, what’s my point? As long as you are upfront with customers about how you use their data, the average customer is fully on-board with you using it to enhance their experience through personalization.
3. Technology allows us to provide customers with a seamless omnichannel experience
Image Source: Smart Insights
Forget multichannel; it’s a thing of the past. While it’s important to give customers numerous channels for which they can interact with your brand, it doesn’t mean much if these channels aren’t interconnected.
We are at the point where customers can visit a business’s website on their mobile device at 2am and troubleshoot problems with an AI chatbot, and then receive a follow-up email from a customer support representative the next day to ensure the issue was resolved satisfactorily.
If the customer so chooses, they can respond to this email by Facebook Messenger, and trust that the entire “narrative” is being pieced together at the other end.
Modern technology doesn’t just satisfy the need for instant gratification. It satisfies the consumer’s need to interact with brands in their own preferred ways, on a device of their choosing, under their own terms, at any given time and place.
No more “customer service desk by the entrance to the department store” – some customers prefer to call, others will put it in an email, others will take to the socials and others would rather work it out themselves with the help of an artificially intelligent chatbot.
This means that a social media presence (and a strong digital presence in general) is crucial to customer satisfaction.
Depending on the size and scope of your business, you might employ someone whose full-time job is to monitor (and respond to) social media comments, Google reviews, online forums and any other channel in which consumers discuss your products or services.
What technological advancements does the future hold for CX initiatives?
Image Source: Nike
The “customer experience” no longer refers to the time a customer spends in your brick-and-mortar store… if you even have one! While your in-store experience is of course always going to be essential; businesses are being judged on their digital customer experience much more now than they were just a few years ago.
Why else were renowned brands like Nike, Best Buy and Home Depot so quick to embrace digital transformation (with great success, by the way)?
It’s not about constantly having “the latest” technology. If you go too far in this direction, you risk leaving customers behind. The latest doesn’t necessarily mean the greatest, and not every new piece of technology that businesses integrate into their CX strategies will apply to your specific business model.
Explore what works best for your unique business and customers.
And finally, not every addition to your CX strategy needs to be a ground-breaking game-changer. There are countless small features and functions you can implement, adjust, and enhance over time with very little effort required.
For example, a digital loyalty app can be implemented in literally a day or two, and can drastically improve your customer retention levels. Not only does it equip your business with the means to reward customers for their loyalty, but it provides you with a wealth of customer data for actionable insights and increased personalization.
It also facilitates a stronger omnichannel experience, as customers can engage your brand via their mobile devices anywhere, anytime.
When considering how technology helps deliver better customer experiences, the ability to retain information about your customers is an unrivalled advantage. It allows you to “surprise and delight” with discounts on products that the customer browsed for long ago and never purchased, for example.
A digital loyalty app automates this process, as you can configure these techniques in your rewards platform for an optimal customer experience.
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