Consumers on Board: how to copilot the multichannel journey

The perfect landing: an engaging customer experience

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We all remember excellent customer service — the occasions when an individual or organization delivered far beyond our expectations.

Everyone would like to receive first-class service all the time, even if they only have an economy-class budget. So, how can businesses give consumers positive, memorable experiences and deliver service superior enough to engage and build loyalty?

For a start, delivery of service to exacting standards should be an organizational mantra. Marketing executives rank customer experience as the most important priority for their marketing department to drive growth and marketing strategy.

For 70% of organizations, an increasing emphasis on customer experience is driving business-growth strategies, increasing to 93% for those best prepared to address the changing customer landscape.

Leading organizations see the customer experience as a strategic differentiator — from product design and development, to sales and marketing, to purchase, activation and retention. 70% of these are redesigning areas of the customer experience, and 66% consider collaboration with any aspect of the business that touches the brand as crucial to their success.4

EY Consumers on Board: The perfect landing: an engaging customer experience

 

Just like a jet aircraft leaves a vapor trail in the sky, today, we all leave a digital data trail, as vast amounts of structured and unstructured data are picked up via online channels or digital devices. The challenge, of course, when faced with this “big data”, is making sense of it.

For all businesses, there is a lot to learn, and developing models to handle big data and deliver a heightened customer experience is challenging.

Our research shows that, more than ever, businesses need joined-up thinking: achieving effective customer insight calls for organization-wide solutions.

Consumers take a broad, cross-channel view, and experience of one brand can influence their attitude to another. Digital consumption can renew customer engagement in traditional marketing channels.

According to our research, both online and classic channels have grown in importance for consumers over the last two years, increasing their relevance in buying decisions. On a scale of 1 to 10, online moved from 5.3 in 2012 to 6.1 in 2014, and classic moved from 4.9 to 5.7.

As consumers expect greater personalization and often a role in co-creation, it is those organizations with the analytical capability to gain true customer insight that will be best placed to build strong personal relationships. Technology should bring you closer to your customers, rather than being a substitute for these relationships.

Astute consumers are fully aware of the value of their personal data. A separate EY online survey found 78% believe their personal data helps companies make more money5, and, as a result, have become more wary and selective about sharing it. Almost half (49%) said they would be less likely to share their personal data by 2018.

Companies looking to access consumer data, in future, will face challenges, and need to build relationships and use analytics to optimize services. Incentivizing consumers to share personal data is an emerging trend that could become an option. We see this increasingly in sectors such as pharmaceuticals.6

Consumers expect a tightening of standards, and want reassurance that cybersecurity and their privacy are taken seriously. With this in mind, companies should develop offers that fit consumers’ everyday lives and avoid triggering privacy-related concerns. Consumers are more likely to share data if they feel at ease and believe they will gain some kind of advantage — either financial or through improved service — by doing so.

Today’s active consumers are an asset for innovation. Encouraging them to participate in co-creation has the potential to deliver far better solutions than businesses can achieve alone. Listening really matters; but this is just the start.

More than ever, consumers want to play an active role by evaluating goods and services, via reviews, sharing and “likes.” They consider themselves co-creators and influencers, sometimes throughout an entire product life cycle: from inception, through development and beta testing, to post-launch feedback. As they are your actual or prospective customers, their views are important.

Social collaboration is another approach to harnessing “prosumer” energy. This is exemplified by the partnership between Japanese social network Mixi and Nike. Mixi users could customize Nike trainers, name them and post their designs as banners on friends’ pages. Customized shoes were available to buy from the NIKEiD website, and some participants also won Nike gifts. Over 500,000 banners were posted and 2.1 million people visited NIKEiD Friend Studio as a result of the campaign. And sales increased 500%.7

Global location tools, such as Factual, also increasingly allow marketers to apply analytics to geotargeting and deliver personalized, relevant app experiences, content, and advertisements to mobile users. Based on information about the nature of the neighborhood where a phone “lives” — for instance whether it’s in an exclusive area with high property values or a less prosperous part of town — basic demographic profiles can be built.

Yes, it’s possible to fly solo, but if you want to be in charge of something big, collaboration is called for.

 

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4. The customer experience: priority one for CMOs, Forbes and EY, April 2014.
5. The Big Data Backlash, EY, 2013.
6. Ready for takeoff: Overcoming the practical and legal diffculties to identifying and realizing the value of data, EY, 2014.
7. “NIKEiD Friend Studio”, Youtube video, www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4zJcp8oB3s, accessed 12 May 2014.