December 2016 - A Human Touch

webl human touch

Data is a powerful tool for reaching into the world of your customers and creating meaningful connections. But before data can do its job, you first have to create a meaningful customer experience.

According to a recent report by the CMO Council (“The Purpose-Built Experience”), 73% of CMOs said that customer centricity through each engagement, experience, and touchpoint is “nothing short of critical” to the success of their businesses.

In fact, of the 59% who indicated that customer experiences had impacted their businesses, 25% attributed positive customer experiences with revenue increases of more than 5%. Of the 41% who said that poor customer experiences had negatively impacted their bottom lines, 12% of these saw revenue decreases of more than 5%.

Customer experience is foundational to your business, and it starts with how you communicate with your customers, whether through print, email, or mobile. Here are 5 steps to making sure your customer experience is positive:

1. Have a strategy.
Creating a positive customer experience requires more than tracking customer behavior and mailing promotions. It requires creating a human connection that makes your buyers say, “They understand me!” This effort cannot be haphazard or reactionary. It must be strategic and proactive.

2. Put yourself in a buyer’s shoes.
A recent study by IBM Marketing Cloud refers to this as “empathy.” Put on your customers’ shoes. Understand where they are coming from so that you can craft messaging that is meaningful to them. This starts with creating buyer personas. Boardview reports that 90% of companies using personas have been able to create a clearer understanding of who their buyers are, and 71% of companies that exceed their revenue and lead goals are using buyer personas.

3. Understand the customer journey.
Understanding the customer journey requires more than tracking the customer journey through clicks, views, and purchase patterns. It involves connecting all of the customer touchpoints—online and offline. Understanding each “point” along the continuum is important, but you cannot be so focused on each individual point that the larger experience gets lost.

4. Get your data out of silos.
In order to address the points of disconnect, get your data out of silos.
Create a single, integrated database that includes all points of customer interaction, from the beginning of the journey to the purchase. Tie together all of the points of connection so you can improve consumers’ overall experience with your brand.

5. Get human.
As the CMO Council puts it: “The shift to customer experience must start with empathy as it forces an innate sense of humanity, pushing past the data, tools, technology, and even strategy decks and process updates. Customer experience inherently humanizes the marketing machine, bringing the fundamental question of ‘How can I help you?’ back to the customer dialogue.”
Data and technology are critical to your marketing strategy, but unless they have humanity and relevance behind them, they lack true effectiveness. Developing personas is a great first step to making your
marketing truly human.