The missing piece to your digital strategy is your customer

7th October 2015

Focus on your customer

The customer experience component of any brand simply cannot be ignored. Gone were the days wherein online marketing was relatively straightforward where you simply had a good enough website and a basic email marketing strategy in place to survive in the marketplace. However, the proliferation of devices and online platforms have radically changed the way customers interact with your brand.

Today’s digitally empowered customers go through multiple touchpoints and complex paths to purchase. As the customers’ journey becomes increasingly complex, managing customer experiences across multiple channels and devices is a big challenge for most brands. While most brands recognise the need for customer-centricity – not all understand what that actually means.

What does it mean to become customer focused?

A brand that focuses on the customer builds a business model around a deep understanding of its customers, what they value and the contribution each makes to growing the bottom line. This entails:

  • Fostering a culture that places the customer at the heart of the decision-making process – you need to ground your brand’s value proposition firmly on your customers.
  • Maintaining an active dialogue with customers and responding to feedback – following the customer journey from pre-engagement to post-purchase, constantly listening to, and learning how, different customers interact with your brand can unlock new ways to interact with customers.
  • Developing strategies and processes that recognise the needs of different customer segments – integrating multiple data sources and continuously refining customer segmentation approaches can identify and serve the customer segments that matter to you.
  • Providing a positive and seamless customer experience at every touch point across the customer’s journey – engaging customers across multiple channels, devices and platforms, gaining deep insights, and seamlessly acting on them can create differentiated customer experiences that build your brand, gain market share and competitive advantage.

The next question is: “How can you leverage your digital platforms to better engage with your customers – better and faster than your competitors?”

Mobile

Harnessing the power of digital

Data analytics has become integral in designing a seamless end-to-end customer experience. It is important for you to understand what drives customer satisfaction for every customer segment. What attributes of their experience (price, accessibility, availability, response times, etc.) will have the most impact on providing a positive experience. Similarly, you need to know what is not driving value, to make the needed changes and improvements and effectively reduce cost.

For true omni-channel success, brands need a 360-degree view of the customers’ interactions across all channels, devices and platforms to monitor channel preference, customer behaviour and journeys from the customers’ point of view. Much of the analysis can now occur in real time, giving you actionable insights at the right moment.

Below is a diagram from Smart Insights that shows six steps that put the customer at the heart of every stage of your digital strategy. The article starts by emphasising the importance of understanding who your target customers are, how they interact with your brand and what they want from you. It then explains the steps you need to ultimately change how you do business.

Customer-centric marketing

Most customers want access to a mix of online and personal interaction throughout the customer journey. Digital is a critical driving force to deliver the experience customers want. As pointed out in the diagram, an effective integration of channels across marketing, sales and service activities is important in providing a positive, brand-building customer experience at every touch point in the customer relationship journey. As digital channels continue to grow in importance, you need to define a strategy for integrating these touch points as part of your brand’s overall business model.

Conclusion

Any strategy, digital or not, is driven by your customers’ needs. Smart business decisions are made by looking through the customer experience lens. Since digital experiences are becoming the primary type of experience for most customers, it is imperative to drive investment in getting the needed data, insights and technologies to connect brands and customers more intimately.