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Role of Data in Enhancing a Customer Journey

As Simon Sinek pointed out, “people want to do business with you because of why you do what you do.” The story of Steve Jobs revolutionizing the marketing of Apple products and building a cult of Apple loyalists is timeless. This is the age of the customer and word of mouth is the best marketing tool. Organizations such as Macys, Microsoft, Amazon, GE, and Target are re-inventing themselves to systematically understand their top customers and provide more value to them by personalizing their buying experience. Digital transformation is the key aspect of that change and data is the driver for digital transformation.

Here are a few examples in 2016 that I found in various industries that highlight personalized experiences where companies are forming a lasting connection with their customers:

  • Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines took it upon himself to find a lost bag of one their priority customers in a flight from London to the USA
  • Trader Joe’s delivered groceries to an 89 year old man in his house during a severe snowstorm making his entire family customers for life (Example here)
  • A story of a small kid with an obsession for Legos who lost his Ninjago kit of the Ultrasonic Raider and how the Lego Group replaced it for him
  • United Airlines delayed a connecting flight for a man to see his dying mother

As shown in these examples, customer interactions have the potential to transform the way you do business with your customers. This transition will provide rich, personalized, loyalty driven customer retention and interaction, all enhanced through a 360-degree view of the customer and their interactions. As Forrester pointed out, to provide this level of personalized targeting, customer-obsessed companies focus on funding data and CX projects that produce business capability outcomes instead of IT projects.

As the number of devices and purchasing power of millennials keeps increasing, tolerance levels for slower response times and impersonal outreach keeps decreasing, which will ultimately result in churn. Individual customer service will define the price points for a product or service in any industry. A few key points in customer service that will change the industry in 2017 are as follows:

  • Omni channel sales and marketing will expand ways of connecting with your customers
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) will become Internet of Everything (IoET)
  • Big Data will assist in micro-managing customers (individualized buying patterns and preferences)
  • Macro-economic factors will change customer priorities and organizations must consider those data points in their customer journey (e.g. election campaigns, weather, natural disasters)
  • Unstructured data such as competitor press releases, videos, and photos will be trending in meaningful data collection

Here is what you need to think about if you are looking to be “customer-obsessed”:

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