Customer Experience – The unlikely cure to the slowdown

Starting from around the middle of the last year, organizations around the world had begun bracing themselves for a recession. Their fear was fuelled by several valid reasons – China’s economic deceleration, the US-China Trade War and slower global industrial production, amongst other reasons.

A year hence and the fear has been realised, with the pandemic being the major culprit – rising and ebbing across the region, and concurrently affecting economies as well – travel, hospitality, F&B, production, and trade have significantly slowed down or come to a complete standstill. The Singapore PM in his continual statements has stressed the impact of the virus on the economy, and the steps to work through it to recovery and a sense of normalcy. Much the same sentiments have been echoed around the world today.

The recession is here, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to take action. Not just any action in a state of panic, but instead to use a smarter, more practical strategy. To improve your Customer Experience (CX) – improving performance, keeping all valuable and profitable customers and stretching every marketing dollar to thrust ahead.

This study by Watermark Consultancy showcases the performance of several companies in the US during the last downturn of 2007-2009. The results showed that CX Leaders performed better than the laggards, and even came out on top as compared to the broader market.

Why your customer controls the lifeboat

Maintaining stronger customer experience is key in a slowdown, as the push-marketing of old times has been replaced by a pull-marketing model that depends on the consumer’s fancies.
In an economic slowdown, it is natural that the general populace starts to spend less and becomes more selective about what they spend on. Which then makes acquiring new customers an extremely expensive strategy to pursue. The essential focus then becomes customer retention – investing in your customers and continually earning their loyalty.
It’s your current customers that control your lifeboat and who will save your organisation. No need to look elsewhere.

In the long-term, take this loyalty you’ve earned and add to it the amplifying effect of Social Media.

Take care of your current customers now, and they’ll work for you later to bring in new customers.

Begin investing in your customer base simply by knowing more about them. Better CX begins with data – better insight into your customers can allow you to personalize their journey, respond faster and uniquely improve each touchpoint.

Today, there are hundreds of ways for a customer to interact with your brand – stores, websites, apps, portals, social media – which can lead to a million different points of data about a single customer. The challenge with having so much data is then selecting good quality data, and knowing what to do with it.

How? By consolidating all the valuable insights we can glean from the martech we’ve invested in, and using those insights to follow a few crucial steps:

1. Understand the consolidated customer journey – The path your customer takes from start to finish of any transaction or interaction for all of your touchpoints.
2. Isolate the weak points in your communication and customer interactions – Tweaking and adjusting them to improve their efficiency.
3. Use data to uncover how your customer behaviour has now changed – To know how the current situation has affected your customers, and what your customers now want.
4. Define all the anomalies and see if there are new trends emerging – Keep ahead of the market by doing an analysis of your industry.
5. Only after you execute these, can you really look to manage and improve your CX.

 

CDP to the rescue

As you may have gathered by now, enlisting a Customer Data Platform (CDP) in your marketing efforts can greatly help in improving your CX. But it can also be incredibly useful, to stretch your marketing dollar for maximum returns.

You might ask why you should invest yet in another technology when marketing has already begun to feel like a software/IT department. Well, read on.

A CDP consolidates data from online and offline touchpoints, recognizing and stitching customer profiles to avoid repetitions and identify unique customers across multiple channels. To create one neat and tidy customer identity that helps you understand your customer’s behaviour and preferences at a deeper level and create more relevant and meaningful interactions with them.

The real value though lies in how a CDP can make sure your marketing dollars are only spent on relevant audiences. With the ability to create highly precise customer segments based on a combination of their demographic and behavioural traits, you are able to direct your most relevant communication to them only when they are ready for it. For example, it would not make much sense to remarket a product to someone who has already purchased it. However, it would to someone who has looked at it online a few times or even left it in their shopping basket.

 

From Strategy to Reality

Our client, one of the top national retail banks in Indonesia saw this benefit when connecting their consumer touchpoints across their website, 3 mobile apps and their customer-care system. Allowing them to instantaneously personalize their customer experience based on website searches, mobile app usage pattern and customer care cases. Implementing the CDP helps them reduce the time taken to activate a customer segment from 6 weeks to mere minutes – resulting in significant cost and time savings, and increased responsiveness to the market.

The current slowdown has seen most customers in an emotional, sometimes even panicked state. More than ever, it’s vital to smooth out their customer journey in any and every way possible. It’s important to remember – the only way through this crisis is along with your customers.

Every marketing dollar you spend on knowing your customers better and actioning a better CX helps to ease their daily lives a little bit more. At a time like this, any extra care shown will surely pay multiple dividends.

You need to start with your data foundation to improve your customer experience.

Quinn Pham

Director, Consulting & Client Solutions Quinn takes care of Meiro’s customers by bridging the gap between business, IT, data scientists and implementation team. She also teaches women about all things data as a volunteer with @Shelovesdata.
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