Marketers need to reset and recalibrate their understanding of the customer and re-imagine customer experience
Lockdowns and social distancing norms have impacted customer behavior like never before. Over the course of the pandemic, customers have become more digitally savvy, with innumerable options for daily essentials, shopping, education, healthcare and more. In this digital world, as the pandemic persists, it continues to re-shape customer behavior. This is resulting in an increasing dissonance between customer’s expectations and their experience across channels.
To keep up and stay relevant to the customer, businesses need to embrace digital at great speed and innovate with high agility. In addition, marketers need to reset and recalibrate their understanding of the customer and re-imagine customer experience. In their endeavour to re-imagine customer experience, technology will play a critical role. Marketers are now turning to technology to better understand the customer, and make smarter, data-driven business decisions to improve experience.
Given below are three ways how technology is transforming the customer experience in a digital world.
- Cloud-powered analytics
An unprecedented rise in digital is leading to an enormous rise in the size of customer data, driven by the need to capture customer signals from various channels. Marketers, who want to improve customer-centricity, have an opportunity to glean insights from customer data and drive better decisions.
Cloud technologies such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) can enable marketers to leverage and utilize the enormous compute power of cloud, and deploy analytics for insights. Besides the high compute power, cloud also helps lower cost, improve productivity, and empower marketers to reach and engage with their customers with better efficiency.
- Experience management platforms
Large gaps exist today in the experience businesses may believe they are delivering, and what their customers perceive. This dissonance can be detrimental, more so during uncertain times. Poor experience can in turn result in loss of customers and consequently, a decline in sales.
Experience Management platforms enable the integration of customer data across touchpoints and create connected experiences. Platforms such as Qualtrics XM Platform and Adobe Experience Platform can help businesses drive actionable insights and, improve and measure customer experience to close any existing gaps, by applying concepts of A/B testing and user testing.
- Sophisticated AI/ML models
The fast-changing tastes and habits of the customer has kept marketers on their toes. In such an evolving scenario, creating meaningful customer relationships is a challenge. This is where Machine Learning and AI-enabled models can help. Advanced models such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) can analyze large amounts of customer data and give a holistic, 360-degree view of the customer. With this holistic view, marketers can create meaningful customer experiences, drive loyalty, and improve the overall effectiveness of marketing campaigns. The AI/ML models help in prioritizing customers and choosing the right actions/interventions.
The shift in customer behavior is here to stay, irrespective of the pandemic. It’s an exciting time for marketers to apply a confluence of new-age technologies and practices to successfully bridge the experience gap and deliver an enhanced experience.
That said, technology without customer context is meaningless. Marketers should start with an empathetic approach keeping the customer at the heart of the problem they’re trying to solve. Communication fatigue is also real. To stay truly relevant in the re-imagined future and drive meaningful impact, those who blend technology with an empathetic problem-solving approach will win.
The author is Vinay Mony, Vice President, Ugam
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