Imagine this scenario: You go into a store to buy milk and the signs are in English, the currency is a Krone, the clerk speaks to you in Russian, and the cashier is asking for your money in Tagalog.
Sound like a great experience? I doubt it. It would leave me running from the store empty-handed and very frustrated. Instead, your experience as a customer needs to be cohesive, simple, and catered to you. If this happens, you’ll likely buy more than just milk and leave happy.
So why do we do this to our customers? The reason is because we aren’t considering their needs first—and we often don’t have the tools to service them correctly.
As in the situation described above, sales, marketing, and customer service all share a common need: to be able to quickly and effectively communicate with customers in order to deliver an optimized experience. Each of these departments needs to know what keeps a customer up at night, what industry trends interest the customer, and equally important, what interactions their organization has already had with a customer. Advancements in technology are answering the call and making a more empathetic and more positive customer experience possible at every touchpoint.
To deliver an optimized experience, sales, marketing, and customer service all must effectively communicate with customers.
But how do you achieve this task? We’ve outlined three simple steps to get you started:
Collaborate to create unified experiences
A unified customer management system that allows business units to view each other’s data, share anecdotal information, and collaborate on messaging or strategy is vital. With it, a sales representative can quickly see service data regarding a customer’s issue with a product and how it was resolved. This will impact and inform the next sales engagement—most effectively by acknowledging awareness of the issue and confirming a satisfactory resolution. At the end of the call, that sales rep might add a note specific to the customer’s industry that marketers can capitalize on, creating more targeted content and a more personalized experience for the customer. At every interaction, the organization presents a well-informed, empathetic, and unified response to the customer’s history, concerns, and desires.
Companies need a customer management system where business units can share information and collaborate on strategy.
Deliver an “always-on, always everywhere” experience
Technology drives an “always-on, always everywhere” customer service evolution. Whether it’s an online chat, remote support, a bot assistant, mobile app, or a real person in a social media messaging exchange, our digital world has created a number of new ways for customers to engage companies when they have questions or need assistance. The key is to unify all of these separate customer service channels so that no matter which channel a customer chooses, the entire customer service team—and in an end-to-end solution every customer-facing department—knows what the issue was and how it was resolved. This can speed up service response times, eliminate redundancy and miscommunication, and continue the consistency of the customer experience.
Use real-time data to deliver insights
Data, delivered faster and from multiple engagement platforms, allows customer-facing teams to learn more about their customer’s behavior, location in the buying journey, and overall impression of the brand. For example, is this the first time they’ve come to your “store?” What did they say about the experience they had if they’ve been here before? Think about all of the places from which sales and marketing can now collect information: social, mobile, events, and even ongoing post-purchase through the Internet of Things. All of this data keeps them one step ahead of the customer, proactively solving problems and predicting needs and expectations to craft better customer experiences.
Data helps companies solve problems and predict needs and expectations to craft better customer experiences.
Live marketing puts customers at the heart of marketing
Interactive tools, social media, and the IoT are driving a convergence of live engagement marketing and digital. Marketers can reach customers instantly, anywhere, at any time, to test campaign messaging or introduce a new product. The customer is in charge and they speak up. Your job is to listen and respond with continuous care in their language.
Live marketing seizes on externally created conditions that open up opportunities to win and keep customers, essentially making sure they get the product (i.e., the milk) they want and that they keep coming back for more. Having more situational data about the industry, direct competitors, and related industries can let companies spot a moment where customers suddenly are in need or anticipating a particular outcome, then swoop in with a personalized solution that blows expectations out of the water.
Live marketing seizes on opportunities to win and keep customers coming back for more.
The greatest opportunity in the future of marketing is its ability to provide customers with positive—even amazing—experiences. Don’t confuse them by speaking in multiple voices; ensure that you have a cohesive message in all you do, all the time.
For more strategies that boost the customer experience, see Data Is The Fuel Of Customer Engagement.
This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.