It’s clear today that all customer-facing business processes should be reevaluated in light of digital transformation. For example, a process originating from a digital interaction should be considered the new norm, not an exception. Additionally, situations where the customer is sometimes physically present, and other times interacting digitally with an organization, have to be managed as normal occurrences for both the organization and the customer.
While all age groups are shifting to more digital behaviors, younger customers—millennials—tend to rely on opinions expressed in social media for recommendations to a greater degree, and expect a consistent experience across digital and physical channels.
As customer behaviors change and gradually adapt to new technologies, there is a need to provide unified treatment and offers across all channels. While pure online presence may not replace all brick and mortar locations, we must now accept that customers in general have become omnichannel in their thinking and behavior.
Putting the customer first requires an understanding of behaviors and preferences along the customer’s journey. An integrated data-driven approach is necessary to deliver a great omnichannel customer experience. The question for most organizations is not whether to operate an omnichannel strategy, but how to implement it most effectively.
Understanding the preferences of customer segments leads to more detailed questions about customer touchpoints and is crucial to developing an omnichannel strategy. Also key to the process is a detailed analysis of customer behavior data. For example, our analysis has shown that marketing offers delivered via each customer’s preferred communication channel have multiple times the response rates of those using just a single channel.
At a high level, here are several broadly identifiable stages that can be used as milestones in a data-driven customer experience roadmap:
- Integrate customer data silos, so you can understand where, when and how your customers are engaging with you. Integrate channels to understand the full picture of customer behavior patterns so you can provide a personalized and consistent customer experience that builds brand value. No matter which channels are used, customers want more than anonymous relationships. They want to be known and to receive consistent, personalized attention, support and services.
- Use the rich customer intelligence you hold to support a wide range of reward programs to build loyalty. The payback is not only more loyal customers, but also new income streams and new sources for acquiring even more customer data.
- Use video, geolocation, social engagement and other supporting technologies as they apply to your business to facilitate proactive, personalized interactions.
- Ensure strong cybersecurity and privacy protection measures are in place to build trust with consumers, as well as protect reputation and brand.
- Think about the next step. CGI is witnessing the next phase in the customer experience evolution, which is the digital transformation of organizations and processes to reduce costs, respond to generational change in the workforce, employ agile methods, use standardized application components, and connect everything via the Internet of Things (IoT).