Customer experience sounds like a glib throwaway phrase used to try and hook a business into either buying a new sales system or marketing plan. After all, it’s obvious isn’t it – keep the customer happy they buy more. Surely, it’s as simple as adding comfy chairs and good coffee in the real world or a sexy website online.

Probably not. Customer experience is the cutting edge where money is made or lost. According to industry analyst Gartner, 89 per cent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.

McKinsey and Company reports, “Maximising satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20 per cent but also to lift revenue by up to 15 per cent while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20 per cent.”

And Bain and Co declares: “Companies that excel at customer experience grow revenues 4-8 per cent above the market.”

So how do you set up a process that allows you to reap such riches? A good starting place is a Customer Experience Management (CEM) system which helps create consistent, extraordinary customer experiences by helping users learn more about their custom­ers’ behaviour, buying patterns, attitudes, social interactions and preferences.

Social networks, media, email, and the web have created endless connections between people, and between people and companies. Customers are now connected to you, your competitors, and the rest of the world, in many ways. CEM platforms help capture those interactions, expressions, and preferences, and analyse and translate them to better understand customer sentiments without asking.

Organisations that apply predictive analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to their CEM portfolios are taking their understanding of the customer to a new level. Being a part of this digital disruption is especially crucial with the expanding Internet of Things (IoT) adding thousands of new points of data collection.

Proactive content collectors disrupt the competitive landscape of business by consistent­ly getting there first, armed with better information and better insight than their competitors. It’s simple: Be the disruptor or be disrupted.

Creating a superior customer experience, takes planning and constant hard work. While the payoff makes it all worthwhile, there are many areas to consider.

Content Curation: Content is the most powerful weapon in the marketing arsenal. Curation includes characterising content based on personas, what campaigns will require each item, what questions are answered by each item and much more. For CEM to be effective, the curated content library must be exten­sive and carefully targeted. This requires high quality Digital Asset Management (DAM).

Capturing and Collecting Customer Data: To know the customer better than they know themselves, it is necessary to capture and collect as much data about them as possible. In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) almost anything and everything captures useful data including apps that silently monitor nearby mobile devices, digital signage that looks back at customers looking at it, Online Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, and the barrage of IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) devices associated with Smart Homes and the Smart City.Analytics: Using cognitive technologies, all these data points are evaluated, collated, and organised for further analysis.

Omnichannel Experiences: How well a business leverages cognitive technologies and integrated Enterprise Information Management (EIM) systems, that allow its interface to anticipate the customer’s need, will set it apart from its competition.

Personalisation at Scale: An excellent customer experience is highly personalised. For most people, the buying decision is a very emotional one and they respond best to those who seem to understand them. The challenge is to accomplish this with thousands of customers across a wide range of con­texts.  When a customer encounters a business online, in-store, on their phone, or in a virtual reality headset, the context of the content changes. As a result, the CEM approach must adapt to ever-changing contexts and circumstances.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Understanding what your customers are telling you in the things they respond to and the actions they take tells you far more than answers to any survey could.

Active Listening: Once capture and collection, analytic, omnichannel, and personalisation technology is in place, the strategy for active listening becomes the engine that continues driving success.

To succeed in the digital world, the requirement is to think users first. And that’s why customer experience is so important. CEM platforms such as OpenText Experience help businesses create a digital presence and deliver the correspondence to augment their online marketing strategy, manage global brands, embrace social business, and produce effective customer communications.

About the author

Mike Gee is writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which OpenText is a member. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefits of our readers. Membership fees apply.

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