With Personalization, the Right Moment is Right Now
When consumers exchange their data with brands and retailers as currency, they want to know that their information is being used to deliver better customer experiences. Previously, customers may not have known that their personal information was being collected and stored by their favorite stores. But over the past few years, we've experienced major shifts in how businesses collect, organize and use customer data. With customers aware now of the transaction taking place around their data, they expect a highly sophisticated experience in return.
Customers want to see relevant and well-timed content, and they want to know the status of a specific account, shipment or reservation within seconds of completing a transaction. If a customer has to wait, there's a sense that something may have gone wrong, and they’ll quickly move on to another brand that's eager to meet their expectations.
With organizations having all of this complicated customer data, how can they be sure they can deliver tailored, in-the-moment experiences? The answer is in making sense of customer data, constructing accurate profiles, and automating adjustments to downstream systems. Getting it right allows a brand or retailer to provide near-real-time personalization, and the economic stakes for making it happen couldn’t be higher. According to recent research from McKinsey, “personalization at scale has the potential to create $1.7 trillion to $3 trillion in new value.” Not billion, trillion.
Keeping Up With Real-Time Data
Meeting the demands of today’s customers requires brands to deliver near-instant, contextually relevant content, using the right channel at precisely the right time. This kind of personalization can take the form of location-based in-app offers, tailored website deals based on previous engagements, or real-time customer service offers from representatives already aware of the customer situation. It sounds simple, but delivering this up-to-the-minute service can be quite complicated.
The detailed customer data can quickly overwhelm brands. There are millions of interactions every day across an omnichannel organization, from apps to calls to websites to physical stores. Most brands struggle to keep pace with the tidal wave of data, and sorting through it in real time requires massive computing power, advanced artificial intelligence, and machine learning capabilities. Effective data management is a must-have to keep these customer relationships alive and thriving.
Problems on the Road to Personalization
The most common obstacle faced by organizations is siloed data. Troves of precious customer data often sit locked in disparate systems, unable to be shared across departments, leaving brands with a fragmented view of each customer. Without a complete picture — a 360-degree view — of their customer, brands cannot effectively personalize their offerings on a day-to-day basis, let alone in real time.
According to Forrester, 90 percent of companies need personalization to execute an effective business strategy. However, personalization efforts appear to have little effect on patrons. A report from Deloitte stated that only 39 percent of consumers report receiving relevant marketing communications, three in four said they get far too many email promotions, and 69 percent have unfollowed brands on social media partly due to ineffective communications practices. A brand's best marketing efforts feel like spam when personalization isn't personal. Even loyal customers will shop elsewhere after a bad experience.
Developing a comprehensive view of the customer is step one, but the process of adjusting strategies and scaling personalized operations is a complicated, long-term process. Too often, brands are relying on legacy, rule-based systems which aren’t able to scale the use of real-time data. Brands must have the surrounding infrastructure to integrate new data in real time, adjust the customer profile to reflect new data points, and distribute the insights to touchpoints where the customer can receive personal service. This type of advanced ecosystem makes it possible to keep pace with a constant deluge of incoming data, consistently improving the customer experience all the while.
Creativity Thrives at Speed
Personalization provides brands the opportunity to build intimate relationships with every customer. This deep knowledge allows for the anticipation of future behaviors, identification of issues at any touchpoint in the customer’s journey, and ultimately boosts the lifetime value of each and every customer. With the power to more quickly and effectively deliver personalized experiences, brands can offer customers value without being intrusive, ensuring that they have delivered on their part of the data agreement transaction bargain to use personalized data for good.
Derek Slager is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Amperity, an enterprise customer data platform (CDP) built for customer-centric brands, turning siloed customer data into game-changing customer experiences.