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5 Reasons Why Customer Experience Is More Critical Than Your Brand

brand

Brand Vs. Customers, which one should be the main focus of your strategy? Is there a real difference between brand-centric and client-centric companies? Truth is, there are many misconceptions about what each means and the role they play in business success. Brand and customer experience are rarely considered equals in the same strategic plan. Even when that happens, the brand usually takes the center stage. It’s time for radical change in perspective.

2014 was the year digital customer experience became a major issue in the agenda of all entrepreneurs and marketing specialists. We have witnessed a thrive of articles, webinars and reports focusing on the key value of customers. They depict the dawn of a new era, called the Age of the Customer, shaped by disruptive technologies and mobile devices, where the customer, not the brand, becomes the real mean of your business.  

There is a takeaway they all have in common: they insist that “you need to engage with clients, nurture their loyalty and retain their trust and love”. Easier said than done: watch companies in action, and you’ll see that many - too many - are still all about the brand. Wasting time and money on old marketing tactics and thinking in terms of acquisition rather than customer retention

We’re not saying that the brand is not important, that you should forget about it or disregard its value. Your brand is - and will always be - the beginning of any marketing journey, but it’s slowly being replaced by the empowered customer as the main purpose of business. You can consider the brand as the framework of your strategy, and the customer the reason why you build it in the first place.

Brand, customer and marketing should all flow into an omni-channel strategy, and you need to learn how to make them work together to deliver the best customer experience possible. The journey map should be based on an integrated view of the various business operations that support the experience across all touch points, physical and digital (even more so if you are a retail firm).

If you can’t see the bigger picture, you miss the many factors that may support your efforts to improve customer experience. We are facing a convergence that will bring us to a new entity called ‘customer-centric brand management’. Marketers are finally agreed upon the concept that all actions they plan and execute should aim at growing the journey lifetime value.

To enhance engagement, build loyalty and improve customer retention, you need to align the organization around the bridge that connects your brand with customers and prospects. In one word, the ‘experience’. According to a recent report by Forrester, there are three actions to align your architecture to the new demand: 

  1. Ground customer-facing decisions in the brand strategy;

  2. Define a strategy for the experience that supports the brand strategy;

  3. Have marketing execute based on customer expectations.

To step from a brand-centric to customer-centric point of view, you need the ability listen, learn, and ultimately look at yourself from your client's perspective. It is surely harder than focusing just on your brand identity but, in the long term, this is the only way to win the race to digital transformation. You should always prefer the experience over the brand, because it enables you to:

  1. Deliver with human touch - in an era of deep changes driven by technology, where objects don't even need people intervention to communicate, customers search not only for products but for human relationships.

  2. Think and act omni-channel - if you focus just on the brand, you miss the wider picture of the omni-channel experience clients have with you across all ponts of contact. Digital first and mobile only become the rule.

  3. Engage in a two-way relation - social media have a great lessons for all marketers: customers of the Internet era don't act as passive consumer of contents created by third parties. They want to be active participants in a two-way communication with brands.

  4. Personalize content and context - globalization of markets have brought us to do refuse the homogenization of tastes and culture. The 'glocal' and micro-local trends have effects on marketing and E-Commerce strategies, with the birth of Me-Commerce and personalization of the experience.

  5. Integrate Big Story and Big Journey - a big story is one of the foundational elements of a great digital strategy. Your brand is the core of your big story, but it's not enough to engage with customers of the new era; you also need big data and, most of all, a big journey. Amazing and innovative.

To become a real customer-centric company, you have to move yourself away from the center of the message and use technology to adjust your journey for the specific customer's wants and needs. Merging brands, clients and marketing will not only give a whole new meaning to the story you narrate, but will actually help you connect with people in a compelling, innovative and relevant ways.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Master Storytelling To Make Your Digital Customer Experience Stand Out

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Get the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Storytelling Content Marketing Big Data

Why Mobile-Only Strategy Will Shape The Future Of Customer Journey

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Just a few years ago, a common objection to the value of mobile in business strategies was that “phones are not for marketing”, because you couldn’t do anything real - payments, to name one - on a phone or tablet. That time is well behind us, as mobile technology is not only reshaping the customer journey, it is rebooting the entire experience of connecting with clients. So that maybe it’s time to go beyond mobile first and start thinking mobile-only.

Forget the days when connections were faulty, touch screens slow to respond, and the only marketing action you could think about was ‘SMS advertsing’. The evolution of mobile devices has brought to you amazing new tools to bolster the connection with customers, and build a digital customer experience well-integrated into an ecosystem that melts physical and digital into a new amazing reality.

Mobile First or Mobile Only?

A mobile only strategy is not alternative to mobile first. It's a natural evolution of your strategy, in markets where the pace is imposed by disruptive digital technologies. Problem is: mobile-first is often still considered a goal - and not a stage already fulfilled. Too many brands still struggle to move with the times, while customers evolve and become more and more empowered (what we called the Age of the Customer).

Mobile should be already the standard for all things marketing. The next step into a real digital transformation would be, then, a mobile-only approach. This further step doesn’t mean that you should ignore physical touch points of the customer journey; it is a plain consciousness raising that we are moving towards a world in which the mobile will be the first screen, not just a secondary screen.

Mobile-Only: Is It Real?

The centrality of mobile only strategies may seem just a risky conjecture, but it is a trend rooted in facts and stats:

  • Half of customers believe mobile is the most important resource in their purchase decision-making. More than a third confessed that they used mobile exclusively. (Nielsen)

  • As of last year, mobile platforms accounted for 60% of total time spent on digital media. (ComScore)

  • Roughly one third of shoppers use mobile exclusively, and more than half consider mobile the most important resource when it comes to the purchase decision. (Altimeter, in Brians Solis' webinar called - not by coincidence - The Inevitability of Mobile-Only Customer Experience)

Reality is that technology ties the best knot with marketing and sales when users can experience a positive connection without feeling it at work. The Internet of Things is the perfect example of this invisible interconnection of smart objects, and smartphones are at the forefront of a revolution that will soon involve also smartwatches, activity trackers and virtual reality devices.

The Evolution of Customer Journey

The smartphone is already the first screen among connected customers, the first place they go to communicate on social networks, look for information about products and brands and share their opinions, wants and needs. There is a major consequence for companies: customers expect that you are capable to reach them wherever they are, whenever they need it, across all touch points of their omni-channel customer journey.

For the most part, however, mobile strategies are still focused on an isolated aspect of customer engagement - push notifications, E-Commerce, loyalty programs. Basically, they still can’t go beyond single minded campaigns, and lack of an overall vision. Your ability to understand clients’ desires and fulfill their expectations will be, then, the key element for successful customer experience management.

The small screen dictates how and when customers interact with brands throughout the lifecycle, from research to purchase (i.e. mobile payments), service and support. Mobile is now part of the customer experience, crucial for your engagement strategy, to enhance loyalty and improve customer retentionTo be successful, you must think - or at least start to think - about mobile-only as the basic foundation for the next generation of digital customer experience.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Mobile Marketing Trends Reshaping Digital Customer Experience

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Get the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Social Networking Content Marketing Mobile Customer Journey

Improve Customer Retention: 6 Steps To Enhance Loyalty

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What is more critical to build a successful business? Customer acquisition or customer retention? In this moment of digital transformation, social connections and the ‘word of mouth’ have reached a strong impact on the relationship between brands and customers. Thus, marketers need to deal with a strategic decision: spend their efforts and budgets to acquire new leads or to improve customer retention? A conundrum that resembles Shakespeare's "To be or not to be?"

At first glance, in fact, this may seem a nonsense question: in an era where the overall customer journey has become the real deal for innovative companies, it is now undeniable that customer retention has a strong two-way cause and effect linking with digital customer experience. The milestone of this connection is called loyalty.

As a matter of facts, then, retention and acquisition should have - at least - the same consideration, yet many marketers still insist on putting all their money on strategies of mere client acquisition (traditional advertising, just to name one).

If you look at it from a broader perspective, this is the same doubt that SEO specialists encounter when they look at web analytics: should you favor new visitors or returning visitors? As the debate still goes on between acquiring new leads and potential customers, or retaining and nurturing the current clients, the question becomes clearer: which one convert the best?

Luckily, in the age of big data, you can rely on dependable numbers in your search for the right answer. Three key statistics - taken from recent marketing studies - tell the value of loyalty:

  • The probability of selling to an existing client is between 60 and 70%, while the probability of selling to a new customer is just 5-20%.

  • It costs 6 times more to attract a new client than to retain an existing one.

  • A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%. A 10% increase in customer retention result in a 30% increase in the value of a brand.

It is surely cheaper to maintain an existing relation than to create a new one; on the other hand, however, retention is harder to get: you can buy new leads but you can’t buy trust and loyalty.

Retention is not a consequence of product quality or price, but it is “strongly related to the way a company services its existing customers and the reputation it creates within and across the marketplace.” (Wikipedia)

Customer retention is the ability to maintain a profitable relation with clients in the long term, to strengthen that connection, and - as a result - ensure competitive advantage, repeat sales and enduring profits. How can you enhance loyalty? Improving service to avoid pitfalls and guarantee a seamless - yet innovative and compelling - customer journey across all touch points.

In the Age of the Customer, if you really aim at retaining customers, you need to develop the ability to win their love. Here are 6 easy step to get through this process:

  • Surprise the customer - to stay top of mind, you must be one step beyond their needs and desires. When you sell your products, you always sell yourself, your story and brand identity through your content marketing strategy.

  • Exceed expectations - empowered customers demand a fulfilling experience. Try to “tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” (cit. Steve Jobs)

  • Drive a sense of innovation - customers expect that you keep pace with disruptive mobile technologies. Try to offer them what they need, when they need it, wherever they are and whatever device they are using.

  • Personalize solutions - personalization is not just about service; it involves the overall purchase journey (and proximity marketing is just an example of how to personalize the shopping experience).
  • Engage emotionally - the customer journey involves both technological and emotional aspects. Try to create a whimsical experience, so that they feel inspired and generate a positive buzz among others.

  • Stay human - technology (i.e. the Internet of Things) improves efficiency, but you should never forget that, as they get more and more submerged into a world of smart objects and pervading devices, customers search for human interactions. 

In a few words, customer retention is about adopting a proactive approach to understand needs and wants, and deliver real-time answers. Now that personal networks extend to the virtual interconnections of social media, when you retain customers, you are retaining their lifetime value. 

Simply put, we find at stake the value of their entire future relationship with your business, in terms of their spending and their power to influence other potential customers. And remember: a loyal customer is forever, at least as long as you are able to engage him with an amazing digital customer experience.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Customer Loyalty Lessons We Have Learned In The Digital Era

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Get the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Social Networking Content Marketing Inbound Marketing

Retail Marketing Strategy: 5 Steps To Renew Customer Experience

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If you are running a retail company - whether bricks and mortar or online - you are probably already dealing with the digital transformation, a transition that involves business models, technology and - ultimately - the way you think and act. Your client is the most important person in your business: this is the undeniable fact that drives this change and forces you to rethink your retail marketing strategy.

A truly customer-oriented retailer is the one that has all the resources - not just the budget - to build a solid connection with customers, empowered by new technologies and mobile devices. How many companies are ready to embrace this challenge? A recent study from SDL and Econsultancy noticed that:

retailers are overwhelmed by the complexity of data, technology and understanding of the customer journey, (...) acutely aware of their technological shortfalls when it comes to creating a seamless, personalized customer experience across multiple channels.

We are way beyond the stage where retailers still debate the importance of customer experience management. The evolution of markets, competitors and - above all - customers has forced brands to revolutionize their strategies, rebuild the overall idea of store and rewrite the customer experience map.

What does this mean for your strategy? In a few words, that any action you plan and execute must start and end with the customer. This path is swiftly becoming mandatory but, between saying and doing, there lies an ocean full of doubts and questions. We come to the aid of all retailers, tracing the 5 steps to adapt retail marketing strategy and the approach to digital customer experience.

  • Start with the customer - given the premise, the first step to renew your strategy can only be the focus on customers. We have entered the Age of the Customer, where clients are not just the primary source of your revenues; they are the ultimate source of your meaning. Identify your buyer persona and be sure that everything you do revolves around them. Product and service customization is a rising trend in markets made flat by the homogenization.

  • Retail is detail - this is one of the most famous principles in retailing. 'Oldie but a goldie', it tells an indelible truth: success lies in how much detailed is your knowledge of customers. The emergence of big data platforms and proximity marketing tools (iBeacon, Geo-Fencing, Internet of Things) help you personalize the shopping experience and improve the buyer's journey across all touch points and devices.

  • The journey above the 4 P’s - for decades, retailers have built their strategies on the certainty that the 4 P's were the foundations of business: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. In the era of mobile-mind shift, we now know that there is one key factor that traditional funnels guiltily ignore: the experience. The journey has become the main brand differentiator, because today people demand compelling experience, not just functional products. 

  • From brick to byte: the Internet is already the primary source of product information. The purchase decision is influenced by your online presence ... if you have one. Today, 'store' doesn't mean just brick-and-mortar, and retailers need to grow both in the digital and the physical world. Omni-channel commerce, mobile service and social media connections are just few examples of the importance of the passage from brick to bytes.

  • Big data drive big sales: new technologies mean new opportunities to gather information about competitors and customers. Smartphones, wearables, push notifications, and geolocation generate an indistinct stack of data, that could help you guide the customer along the purchase path. To make better strategic decisions and increase sales, you must convert numbers into reliable insights: big data mining and web analytics work better together and thus become necessary tools.

Retailers are well-aware that they must work to improve service to stay in business. The debate between customer acquisition and customer retention in blurring: social media, smartphones, wearables, proximity marketing are pushing the boundaries of retail forward. At the end, the difference between retail and e-retail is destined to disappear, and the key to success will be the ability to rebuild customer experience for the digital era.

If you want to know more about the wind of change driving retail to the new era, check the following articles:

5 Online Retail Marketing Tips To Improve Customer Experience

Why Mobile Will Help Improve Retail Customer Experience

Top 5 Technologies That Will Change Retail Customer Experience

 
As practical advice: if you want to connect with your customers 
in a whole new way discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to turn on smartphones like magic and deliver personalized experiences to customers close to, or inside the store.
Discover Neosperience Engage
Topics: Digital Customer Experience Analytics Retail Big Data Mobile Internet of Things

5 Key Customer Experience Questions To Ask Yourself in 2015

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The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he's one who asks the right questions.” (Claude Lévi-Strauss).

Since customer experience management is, to all intents and purposes, a science, asking questions becomes crucial to understand where and how you can improve your digital strategy. The evolution of markets unveils new opportunities, but also brings new doubts about what you do and what you should do. Here are few key customer experience questions to ask yourself in 2015, to ensure your organization is optimizing the experience of customers.

The path is clear: in the Age of the Customer, placing high value and attention on digital customer experience is more and more critical to business success and competitive status. Technology disruption is undermining from the foundations every certainty that brands have built through the decades. Thus, the willingness to call your strategy into question becomes necessary to fully embrace the digital transformation.

Too many companies still think that the only questions that really matter are the ones you ask to your customers. Sure, they’re critical to know how they perceive your brand and products; anyway, standard questionnaires are all but magic wands. When customer experience really drives success, the only way to foster engagement, loyalty and retention is asking yourself some critical questions about the actual journey you want to design and deliver.

What promise am I delivering?

Your brand is not only a product or service. It is a story, a vision and a promise. When you sell your products, you always sell yourself too. It's a powerful idea, yet not so many foresee the consequences. To build a winning promise, start from your identity and archetype, then build a coherent storytelling and narrate your story across all touch points. As a result, you will deliver your promise in the most compelling and enchanting possible way.

Am I evolving to meet expectations?

The mobile-mind shift has caused a deep change into the market balance: passive consumers have been replaced by empowered customers, demanding and always looking for amazing experiences. How can you be sure to keep pace with customers? Given that evolution is driven by technology, be sure to evolve with the times, considering disruptive devices for your engagement strategy. Innovative personalization is the keyword to meet expectations in this customer-centric moment in time.

Am I thinking omni-channel?

A digital-first approach is mandatory to connect with the new customer. To really take advantage of mobile technology, you need to shift from single and multi channel philosophy to an omni-channel customer experience. As the years pass by, digital and physical swiftly merge into a new reality, defined by multiple touch points - many of them outside company's control. ‘Omni-channel’, then, becomes a reflection of how our life is evolving. To adapt, focus your efforts on the creation of a seamless experience for your clients, wherever they are and whatever device they use.

Do I offer an innovative customer journey?

A sage once said that the journey - not the destination - is the real purpose of life. This is even more true for customers’ life: when they choose to connect with your brand, they’re looking not just for a product that answers their needs, but for a complete experience that involves emotional, social and technological aspects. To understand how to organize the sequence of touch points into a coherent journey, implement a customer journey map, a complete framework that shows the different stages that your customers go through when they interact with you.

Do I use data to make better decisions?

Mobile devices, proximity marketing and Big Data platforms allow you to gather information from multiple channels. Data that trace your clients’ habits, needs and wants, and that you can use to improve the overall customer journey. There’s only one risk: information becomes useless when it is not mined, scanned and readily accessed and shared in the organization. To avoid losing much of data strategic punch, you should rely on an analytics dashboard, that will help you make better business decisions.

Of course, there are many more questions you should ask to yourself. These may or may not surprise you. Either way, use them to take smart actions for success, starting right now. To say it with the German mathematician and engineer Charles Proteus Steinmetz

There are no foolish questions and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 3 Big Things You Need To Improve Digital Customer Experience

 

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Future Archetypes Storytelling Content Marketing

10 Inspirational Customer Experience Quotes To Improve Engagement

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"Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves." Apple’s mission through the very words of its mastermind Steve Jobs. Some of the most successful companies have one thing in common – they offer an amazing customer experience. If you’re working on improving your strategy, get inspired by these eye-opening customer experience quotes, to help you foster client engagement.

What Steve Jobs is teaching us is that the secret of truly customer-centric companies lies in the ability to predict their clients’ needs and wants, and to build around it an omni-channel customer journey. To stay top of mind and stand out in competitive markets, you need to evolve one step beyond your customers. Taking advantage of technological innovation to create compelling connections everywhere and anytime.

Everything starts with the customer”: this quote is attributed to Louis XIV. Even the Sun King was well-aware of the importance of ‘clients’. Unlike traditional business differentiators like quality or price, a great customer experience is not something that you can just buy with big budgets or new methods/tools; it's a competitive advantage that can only be earned with a continous improvement cycle.

How could you start? Learning from companies that have already taken a further step into the Age of the Customer.

Here's our selection of 10 inspirational customer experience quotes, to understand how they can help you in shaping an innovative client engagement strategy. Of course, they are not truth carved in stone, but you can use these quotes to drive further debate and action around your organisation.

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." (Bill Gates) - Mistakes are part of the game. Track and measure to understand what to change, where and how. 

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.” (Steve Jobs) - The customer, not technology, must be the core of your strategy.

It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money ... It is the customer who pays the wages." (Henry Ford) - Consider customers not just as a passive target but as an empowered partner.  

The biggest risk is not taking any risk ... In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” (Mark Zuckerberg) - In an ever-evolving scenario, digital transformation is not an option, if you want to be customers' first choice.

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” (Jeff Bezos) - In highly competitive environments, brands are judged not for product price or quality, but for the experience they build around it.

Innovation needs to be part of your culture. Customers are transforming faster than we are, and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble.” (Ian Schafer) - Customer experience management becomes mandatory to keep pace with clients.

How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?” (Seth Godin) - The conversion path starts with a compelling storytelling across all touch points, from awareness to post-purchase. 

If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” (Jeff Bezos) - Use customer experience statistics to plan an efficient business and content marketing strategy for your clients.  

Each business is a victim of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than the ability to exploit it.” (Brian Solis) - The fact that you are not planning a technology-aware customer centric strategy doesn't mean that your competitors are not doing it either. 

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” (Mahatma Gandhi) - You are what your customers perceive.

All these different quotes bring to the same conclusion: improving customer experience not only provides a means of differentiating your brand, but also leads to greater customer and employee engagement, loyalty, and retention. Ultimately encouraging a connection that goes deeper than the usual ‘brand-consumer’ relationship.

If you're looking for more insightful customer experience quotes, check '10 Voice of the Customer Quotes' by Steve Bernstein.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 10 Useful Customer Experience Statistics For Your 2015 Strategy 

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Get the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Branding Storytelling Content Marketing

5 Reasons Why You Need To Improve Customer Experience

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Face the truth: your customers know you and your product/service better than you do. So, if you still rely just on price or big budgets to earn their trust, you will always leave out one key factor: the customer experience. And this trend will only accelerate. If you try to swim against the tide, you will find out - probably too late - that the world around you has evolved and you’ve been left behind. Ready for a change? There are at least 5 reasons why you need to improve customer experience.

In our world, shaped by mobile technologies, customers ... they don’t necessarily need 'you'. When they search for a specific product, they can now choose from a potentially infinite set of suppliers from all over the world. Why should they pick you out? Product quality standards are higher than ever, and price is not the main brand differentiator anymore. Plus, they could probably find a better deal somewhere else. So what's the essence of success in a landscape so uncertain? Experience is the keyword you're looking for.

Technology disruption has empowered people, with the result that the market balance has tilted in favor of the customer. A customer-centric strategy becomes mandatory, provided that it does not translates just into discounts/coupons but an overall renovation of the way you think and act. There are multiple steps that guide this process and enable the outcomes your customers demand. While by no means an all-inclusive list, here are 5 reasons why you should improve customer experience, starting right now.

  1. Your competitor is already doing it: the fact that you’re not investing in customer experience doesn’t mean that your competitor is not either. A recent research by consulting firm MarketsAndMarkets states that ‘customers experience management' will be worth 8.39 billion dollars by 2019. Odd if you think that, no later than 10 years ago, this Google keyword search string didn’t even existed.

  1. Physical and digital blend in: today, brands are well-aware that client life cycle can’t be reduced just to the physical environment they’re submerged in. The emergence of game-changing devices - from smartphones to wearables to virtual reality headsets - is merging digital and physical, shaping a new reality where the customer is able to experience both at the same time.

  1. Experience is the real deal: since experience replaces price as the key factor to stay top of mind, strategic focus will increasingly be on the design of that bridge that connects clients and brands. The customer journey map becomes a necessary tool to understand how people interact with your product, in-store and online. This will function as a qualitative and quantitative filter for your decisioning process, guiding you to make better decisions in a proactive approach to customer engagement.

  1. Customers want personalization: when dealing with smart, connected customers, personalization is not just an option. It is the very future of the shopping experience. Combining the knowledge supplied by big data mining with proximity marketing technologies (iBeacon, push notifications, geo-fencing), companies are now able to truly know their customers, and tailor-make contents and offers to better meet their individual needs and wants. 

  1. Emotions become critical: in an age shaped by technologies, where objects communicate without human intervention (Internet of Things), customers ask for a deeper and meaningful relationship with brands. Neuromarketing studies confirm the emotional connection you build with your client and employee is the key driver of engagement and loyalty. This is true for any industry, but most of all for luxury & fashion firms investing in their sense of exclusivity.

Empowered customers demand a compelling connection with your brand, a seamless journey across all channels and touch points, an easy and fast conversion path: in one word, an amazing digital customer experience. This is the answer to understand why customer experience managament has become so critical to head out on the long path of digital transformation.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 7 Powerful Stats That'll Make You Better At Customer Experience 

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Neuromarketing Analytics Retail Content Marketing Fashion Luxury and Beauty Wearable Big Data

Why Proactive Approach is Key to Improve Digital Customer Experience

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Every day we are saying ‘How can we keep this customer happy? How can we get ahead in innovation by doing this?’ … Because if we don’t, somebody else will”. This is one of the most popular customer experience quotes. In few words Bill Gates is able to sum up the deepest essence of digital transformation in hyper-competitive markets: a proactive approach is necessary to understand people’s needs and improve digital customer experience using innovation.

Being proactive means controlling the situation by causing action rather than waiting to just respond to what happens. Proactivity is not proof through conjectures. It is not a guessing game, at least not today. Thanks to big data and analytics platforms, digital customer experience planning is a balanced prediction. You have now lots of metrics to measure engagement and satisfaction, and lots of data to map the customer journey and localize areas for improvement.

In business, being proactive provides you with the ability to assume your customers’ point of view to understand how they live the relationship with your brand, across all physical and digital touch points. When dealing with clients of the Age of the Customer, this outward perspective is the only way to realize that the journey is at least as important as the result - product or service delivered. And sometimes even more important.

It’s not just what you do, but also how fast and easily you do it: customers now expect that you are able to respond to their needs everywhere they are, whenever they need it and whichever device they are using. Once you know how customers use technology to connect with you - online and offline - and what they think about your service, brand and products, you will be finally able to develop the right action plan to heal or rethink the overall experience in a comprehensive omni-channel strategy

In an article published on Forbes website, Salesforce recently pointed out that a proactive approach grounded in data enables you to:

  • Act on what you know is about to happen to the customer;

  • Predict what will probably happen and consequently take action;

  • Predict what might happen to the customer, based on previous experience.

The benefits of proactivity for your business are self-evident: you will be identified as a truly customer-centric company and you will spend less - time and money - to reach better results in terms of engagement and loyalty. This will result in a compelling experience for your clients, seamless across all devices and touch points, yet fast and easy.

What should you do to adopt a proactive approach? What are the main steps to build such a perspective for your brand?

  • Map the customer journey - build a map to identify all points of contact and to know your client;

  • Talk to your customers - and let them talk to you easily, to understand their needs and wants;

  • Analyze customer data - identify areas and touch points you should improve and choose the right partner to develop your experience;

  • Share purpose internally - your employee is your first customer. Share your purpose and plan resources to foster employee engagement;

  • Think and act digital - disruptive technologies (smartphone, smartwatch, wearables, VR headsets) are perfect to meet customers’ expectations;

  • Be personal - customers love technology but, in an age of automated things, also demand a more human relation;

  • Beware time and space - enrich your offer with real time notifications and localized content (time and space are more and more crucial for retail customer experience);

  • Measure and adapt - enforce your strategy with an analytics dashboard, to measure KPI and adapt actions and budget in a looping circle.

Innovation is driven by technology, but if you can’t change your overall approach to digital customer experience, you won’t be able to stay top of mind and take advantage of all opportunities that disruptive devices give you. Proactivity allows you to build a sturdy bridge between you and your customer and avoid pitfalls and damages along the path.

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To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Get the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Analytics Retail Wearable Big Data

Neosperience Health Insurance Telematics platform wins Aviva award

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Neosperience is off to a very good start this new year, winning Aviva Digital On, an award promoted by Aviva, in collaboration with PoliHub - business incubator of the prestigious Politecnico di Milano. The aim of the contest was to identify and reward the most innovative digital projects to guide enterprises through digital transformation.

Neosperience has been chosen thanks to its HIT-DCX, the scalable and secure Health Insurance Telematics platform, that is shaping the future of insurances by connecting people and things of today and tomorrow. Taking advantage of new disruptive technologies - smartphones, Big Data, Internet of Things, wearables - Neosperience HIT-DCX allows to gather customer’s information and analyze lifestyle habits and health data. This enables insurance companies to offer tailored services, disincentivize higher risk clients and prevent frauds.

The 12 short-listed projects that reached the final evaluation stage, won by Neosperience HIT-DCX, have been selected among 59 proposals received by Aviva, UK largest insurer and European leading life and pensions provider, covering all areas of digital: Internet of Things, Big Data, Cloud, electronic invoicing and mobile payments.

Aviva Digital On prize opens 2015 in the wake of the important recognitions received in the last months: the prestigious Top Innovation Award Italy 2014, appointed by the President of the Italian Republic to the best tech company of the year; and the 2014 International Events & Relational Strategies GrandPrix, in the Mobile Marketing category. Before Neosperience was selected Gartner Cool Vendor and Red Herring Top 100 Europe and Global winners: the most important global awards in the technology world.

Photo Credit: Alexis Paparo

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Neosperience Awards

Why Employee Engagement is Crucial For a Better Customer Experience

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Is your employee crucial to deliver a better customer experience? Many companies still think that client satisfaction is a mere result of their outward-facing strategy. Sure, engaged and loyal customers are essential to ensure profitability, but if you forget inner areas of improvement, then you miss a piece of the puzzle. That piece is employee engagement, a key element to enhance the overall performance of your company, customer experience included. 

In a recent article, Brian Solis proclaimed that you should stop focusing on the customer only, if you really want to deliver great customer experiences. Of course the customer is still the core of every marketing strategy, even more so in the Age of the Customer. That is a provocative statement, to point out that successful digital transformation is multifaceted and requires a deep change in all aspects of your organization. Back to the opening question: how much is employee engagement relevant to improve digital customer experience

To say it with Solis, “the entire service-profit chain begins with, and absolutely depends on, engaged employees”. If employees aren’t truly engaged, that dissatisfaction impacts on the outcome, namely the customer experience. When that happens, no matter how much effort you put into your client engagement campaign and customer journey improvement, the whole experience is likely to be unsatisfying and inadequate.  

One figure gives us an idea of how much this topic is considered crucial by managers and entrepreneurs. According to a report by Bersin & Associates, today companies spend over 720 million dollars each year on employee engagement programs, a total that’s projected to rise to over $1.5 billion in the next few years. 

And yet, according to a second research by Gallup, actual engagement is now at record lows, falling down to a mere 13%. How is this mismatch possible? Even though digital leaders know that engaged employees would benefit their organizations, often than not they simply don’t know how to get their workforce to buy in and take part in the change. So, probably, they’re putting their money in the wrong places.

Truth is, sometimes there is no even agreement on what ‘employee engagement’ really means. We can define it as the approach designed to ensure that employees are fully committed to their company’s core values, and motivated to contribute to organizational success. In the digital era, your employee is your first customer: loyalty and engagement become priority for an holistic marketing strategy. 

How to reach this goal, that’s the question. It’s clear that relying just on a traditional surveys is not the answer. Here are few suggestions on how to build an integrated approach, capable to measure real-time and give you insights to drive high levels of commitment. 

  • Share brand purpose - a recent survey found out that only 40% of workforce knows their company's goals, tactics and strategies. Employees will never be engaged if they don’t know what they’re working for. Start by discovering your true why, find your archetype, include people into your brand identity and narrate your company storytelling internally. 
  • Empower your people - 75% of people voluntarily leaving jobs don't quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. Traditional engagement must be replaced with a new approach, aimed at empowering employees. Be sure that you are always able to inspire and support them, enable them to learn and constantly grow, and offer the opportunity to develop their strengths. 
  • Adopt new tools: a new approach means new tools to support your strategy. Surveys are not going away anytime soon, but they are being slowly replaced by techniques that measure commitment and satisfaction in real time. An analytics dashboard can guide you through this amount of data to shape a powerful daily engagement routine.
  • Use Gamification: 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies already use gamification to boost engagement, retention and revenues. The importance of games to improve customer loyalty is now undeniable, but game dynamics can be also used internally to motivate employees, inspire right behaviors and reward success. B2B gamification, of course, must be tailored to your specific business and supported by a platform to analyze all information gathered. 

Involvement, commitment, productivity: these are the key takeaways of a well-designed employee engagement approach. Ultimately you must understand that employees are the essence of the products and services you sell, and they develop and deliver your customer experience every day.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: All Play And No Work Makes Jack a Zippy Boy 

To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Get the DCX 7-Steps Checklist

 

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Gamification Analytics Archetypes Storytelling Exponential Organization

5 Online Retail Marketing Tips To Improve Customer Experience

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The meaning of ‘customer experience’ has deeply changed in the last ten years. As in-store shopping goes down and E-Commerce spending steadily increases, the difference between offline and online retailers is destined to disappear. This will eventually present entrepreneurs the chance to make a crucial step into the digital era, taking advantage of mobile technologies to evolve for a new world. The improvement of retail customer experience passes through an efficient and innovative online retail marketing strategy.

Even though traditional brick-and-mortars and online retailers sometimes still make different entities for studies and researches, we all know that a comprehensive action plan is necessary to respond to the global competition, where your competitor will likely be not the traditional company next door, but the small online start up from China and rising markets. To make it short: in the mobile era, E-Commerce doesn’t mean just a website, as well as retail doesn’t mean just a store. 

From 2015 on, you will be required to unify the digital and physical world into an omni-channel strategy, because your customers don’t live the shopping experience as just one single channel. Word-of-Mouth, suggestions and reviews still play an important role in the purchase decision path, but they are not confined into four concrete walls anymore. The result was already clear in Google’s 2013 ‘Mobile path to purchase report’: the smartphone is the most common starting point for product research.

If the smartphone is already the most popular device used to search the Internet, but equally, we can’t ignore the emergence of new - and potentially disruptive - devices like Smart Tv, smartwatch and smart wristband. They all contribute to the replacement of the old passive consumer with the new empowered customer. The Age of the Customer is an era of demanding and well-informed clients, where price and service are not the only qualities required in an innovative brand: experience becomes the key element to succeed. 

The focus on digital customer experience is the reason why both retailers and e-retailers will increasingly need a multifaceted marketing plan, able to engage with clients at every touch point, in-store and in mobility. Here are 5 tips to implement your online retail marketing:

  1. Understand buyer’s journey - to really offer what they need when they need it, start by focusing on your potential customers’ decision chain, to analyze what’s most important to them. Use a customer journey map to realize how to exploit different technologies for different touch points (i.e. apps, iBeacons, push notifications).
  2. Become Google’s Friend: there’s no online strategy without Google. You may think that the Big G is just a search engine, but it doesn’t take much to see that Google is your biggest challenge - and best friend - in the online arena. Make sure to keep up with the rapidly changing services they offer, and analyze in real time what’s working and what’s not.
  3. Personalize the shopping experience - the connection between brands and people evolves with technology. To reach higher engagement levels and convert users into customers, you need to consider all touch points, including devices that were out of the map just few months ago (i.e. wearables). The perfect personalization blends together online and proximity marketing.
  4. Nurture your customer community - one time conversions should never be the final aim of your online marketing. Stats tell that loyalty is cheaper than acquisition: it costs 6 times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. Brand community building, then, becomes priority. To enhance loyalty, use social media, innovative apps and widgets, and new immersive devices (i.e. virtual reality and the Oculus Rift).
  5. Test and experiment: truly innovation-oriented companies set aside a good percentage of their budget to try new tools and solutions. If you keep proposing the same formula over and over, you will probably miss opportunities that could seriously pay off. Mobile evolution is accomplished through Big Data analysis, test and trial. To say it with Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos: “If you double the number of experiments you do per year, you’re going to double your inventiveness”.

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As practical advice: if you want to connect with your customers 
in a whole new way discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to turn on smartphones like magic and deliver personalized experiences to customers close to, or inside the store.

Discover Neosperience Engage

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Future Innovation Social Networking Retail Content Marketing Wearable Mobile Internet of Things