How to Determine if Your Company is Committed to Personalizing the Customer Experience

Personalizing the customer experience is a goal for any loyalty marketer because it can create emotional connections that can lead to brand advocacy.

How to achieve this is, and being committed to it as a company, can be a daunting challenge.

A new e-book from ERDM titled, 8 Questions to Determine if Your Company is Committed to Personalizing the Customer Experience, offers loyalty marketers some guidance as they travel down this path.

ERDM President Ernan Roman wrote the e-book, which is based on results from more than 160 VoC research studies the company conducted for brands such as Microsoft, HP, MassMutual, Gilt, and QVC. In response to requests from CMOs, ERDM prepared eight questions to help determine whether your company is truly committed to personalizing the customer experience (CX) and building loyalty.

Question 1: What is your company’s true appetite for CX and loyalty transformation?

Your brand culture and senior management need to support CX and loyalty initiatives by creating a customer-focused culture, customer-focused metrics, CX-based compensation, integrated consumer communication across all touch points, and an adequate CX budget allocation.

• Keep the company engaged in the CX journey by establishing formal and regular means of providing the organization with progress report cards and performance against CX metrics.

Question 2: Do your fellow executives have a deep understanding of why you are focusing on CX and loyalty?

A CX program without a clear-cut goal is a useless CX program. Know what you want to accomplish by engaging your customers. Understand what engagement actually means to your customers, and understand what it will take to accomplish this goal.

•Define the criteria for evaluating the success of your CX and loyalty strategies. Set benchmarks and determine what factors and data will be monitored on a regular basis to determine progress, success, and improvements.

Question 3: Do you have the right data, metrics, and segments to measure CX impact and success?
How are consumers interacting with your brand? Does your data provide that answer? If not, it’s time to rethink how you collect and interpret incoming information to be sure that the data you are collecting is useful and brings actual insights to drive marketing initiatives.

•Reinvent your data to put consumers into segments based on preferences, purchases, communication methods, inquiries/customer service issues, lapsed, new, loyal, etc. Then rethink communication and engagement strategies for each segment, not for customers in general

Question 4: Does your staff have the right CX and loyalty skills, and do you have a customer advisory group?
Who on your team could offer customer success insights? Take a look at your entire staff and select representatives who can report on real-life CX interactions, problems, and successes for key learnings that can prompt new actions.

•Arrange a consumer advocacy program with your most engaged customers to gain insights on how and why consumers are or aren’t motivated to engage with the brand.

Question 5: Do you have in place the necessary CX/loyalty/CRM technology to connect with customers?

Examine the technology your company has in place to see what measures can be put in place right now to boost CX, such as reminders to staff, per the Zappos example.

• Explore how you can expand the technical capabilities and possibilities at each touch point to deliver improved CX. Audit for the necessary level of collaboration of information sharing across the various departments and systems.

Question 6: Do you have a dedicated budget for new research to drive innovative CX/loyalty strategies?

Take a closer look at carving out a slice of digital, social, marketing, sales, and IT budgets for one combined CX budget. Rather than depleting one department’s funds, multiple stakeholder departments should contribute to the overall CX cause.

Question 7: Do the highest levels of management in your company support CX programs and staff?

For CX to succeed in your company, it is essential that there is buy-in and commitment from every involved department at all levels.

• CX innovation is a top-down change process. However, it is marketing’s responsibility to provide the vision and criteria for success.

Question 8: Does your company have a cross-functional and integrated culture?

Understand what employees can bring to your CX efforts and place them in mission-focused teams by their contribution potential and experience.

• Empower teams to set their own goals and make their own decisions to achieve CX goals.

• Replace silos of information with information sharing cross functionally.

At the end of the e-book, Roman lists four key points for companies to consider when attempting to personalize the customer experience:

1. Active consumer listening with a goal of deep understanding is a key element of CX transformation because it lets brands look at touch points and interactions from a value-driven experience standpoint that cultivates ongoing loyalty, not just an end-point transaction goal.

2. Building CX means building trust. If consumers do not trust a brand or trust that the brand will deliver value or appreciation for their loyalty, the consumer will go elsewhere for a better experience.

3. Correct data interpretation is essential in developing CX innovation. A true understanding of who and how consumers interact with the brand will shape every strategy, communication, and the CX program’s success.

4. Put together a customer success team with representatives from all aspects of CX and loyalty so that your company can continually have a 360-degree view of engagement wins and losses. Cultivate consumer advocacy so that you are regularly receiving input from those who interact with the brand most.

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