Transforming targets into customers

For brands, customer experience is everything. Good experiences generate word-of-mouth marketing, which in turn creates a continuously growing body of loyal, satisfied customers. Ultimately, it means healthy revenue growth for the business.

Industry research and studies show that ‘companies that make experience their focus are outperforming the competition’. I strongly believe customer experience is overtaking price and product as the key brand differentiator.

Ensuring a perfect audience-experience fit

Unfortunately, not every attempt to craft experiences that convert consumers into real customers succeeds. After interviewing more than 5,000 consumers across Australia, Europe and the US, a report on customer experience trends in 2019 found that two-thirds couldn’t recall a single instance of a brand experience exceeding their expectations.

So why are so many brands failing to strike a chord with their audiences? Lack of definition is a possible factor: successful brands begin by identifying the consumers most likely to show interest in their products and services. They use those demographics to precisely define their campaign audiences, and then their campaigns.

Successful customer experiences are also multi-layered, creating journeys that encourage long-term loyalty and online and offline brand conversations. There are various tools and technologies that can help devise journeys of such depth:

1. Define and hit the right target

Data-backed market research is essential for delivering a focused and well-targeted customer experience. Much of the required intelligence can be obtained from Google Analytics and other similar platforms. These help brands understand how users are engaging with their websites and app content, and aid in identifying both users who are likely to convert and customers with high revenue potential.

Facebook, Twitter and other major social media platforms also offer audience insights functions which businesses use to spot trends affecting their current or potential customers. For marketers, these tools can help define a campaign’s target audience quickly, minimising the time and effort spent on ‘scattershot’ approaches.

2. Highly personalised customer journey

Every touchpoint is a chance for a brand to convince consumers that their needs are understood and catered for with products and services.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making the customer experience more personalised and exponentially more effective. Particularly, sentiment analysis aided by AI helps identify customer moods in conversations, enabling businesses to enrich and personalise subsequent conversations. Predictive analytics can help identify and define the next step in the customer journey and measure customer experience strategy in quantitative terms.

But event attendees don’t just want to be dazzled by technology; they crave memorable and tangible interactions – and that’s where lasting connections are formed. For example, Alibaba Group’s most recent CES booth took visitors through eight interactive ‘stations’, each with a new layer of tech experience such as a VR factory tour, demonstrations of real-time AI translation and an AI-powered voice controlled assistant. It added up to a vivid personal update on Alibaba’s ecosystem for B2B audiences.

3. Measuring the experience

Customer feedback is invaluable to improving the customer experience. Indicators like customer satisfaction levels and Net Promoter Scores enable improvements to be tracked and the success or failure of changes to be evaluated.

New technology has opened new ways for proactive feedback collection. Replacing form-based surveys are tools which, for example, use AI chatbots to create ‘engaging feedback interactions’ that elicit customer feedback. Such personalised conversations have been found to improve response rates.

Ultimately, the aim is to spark more than a fleeting interest in a brand; it is to create a desire to relive the experience and establish a long-term bond.

It comes down to definition

Knowing how to define the audience and offer them resonant, customised experiences is the essence of achieving good results. Remember – if your audience is broad or the experience is too diverse, it may be a sign that your target lacks definition.

The article above was first published in Biz Events Asia on 8 August 2019.