How to deliver a great customer experience

We have entered the era of the customer. Competing in a crowded marketplace requires delivering customer experiences that differentiate your brand, so leading companies continue to invest in better ways to improve customer engagement.
“Companies are shifting their budgets, with more dollars allocated to marketing automation, AdTech, data and analytics tools, and web and app development. This is all aimed at supporting improved digital engagement,” says Ben Stormer, senior vice president of Technology at g2o.
Smart Business spoke with Stormer about the era of the customer.
Why is digital transformation no longer optional?
It can be argued that every business is a digital business. After emerging as a disruptive trend, digital transformation has become an ongoing requirement. Winning companies use digital technologies to reinvent themselves as agile and proactive organizations that anticipate their customers’ wants and needs, and not just react to them.
What does this mean for businesses today?
Customer experience has become a key differentiator and the new battleground of business. Standing out requires delivering great experiences to consumers, businesses and, increasingly, employees. Regardless of industry, to grow their organization and brand, companies must reinvent their business via customer-focused strategies.
New partnerships are also emerging. Companies are looking for help leveraging the latest advances in technologies, data and human-centered design to achieve their goals — to acquire and retain customers, deliver innovations and drive productivity.
How can companies provide differentiated experiences?

  • Create a multifaceted team. Building an engaging digital experience requires collaborating across functional areas and blurs the lines between traditional IT and business teams. Successful teams often include people from digital, data, analytics, marketing, product management and technology.
  • Be intentional. Bring the team together to have conversations upfront and regularly throughout the process. If you develop the roadmap together, collaborating and communicating along the way, you can avoid potential problems.
  • Avoid sameness. Be mindful of what others are doing to engage customers. For example, in retail, apps that allow shoppers to buy online or pick up at the store are now the norm. To offer something unique, invest in architecture that combines software, custom code and data to create new experiences. Also, consider joining relevant user groups and communities. Truly knowing your customers can help you create a differentiated value proposition.
  • Consider customer preferences and privacy. Privacy should be a top priority with the growing urgency to manage personal information appropriately. With the California Consumer Privacy Act going into effect in 2020, it’s only a matter of time before other states adopt similar protections. To stay ahead of the requirements, deploy systems and processes so that you a) know where customer information is stored, b) can quickly take action to turn it off or delete it altogether, and c) are in the position to demonstrate these capabilities to avoid any financial ramifications.
  • Enlist expert help. Depending on your company’s needs, budget, timeline and internal capacity, you may need a partner that specializes in the development and delivery of digital experiences. The right one will recognize that design, development and data are inseparable and must work together.

Why is delivering an engaging experience so hard?

The ability to design intuitive experiences that customers want, and value, is critical — but agile development and deep data expertise are equally important. Ultimately, it requires collaboration across the team to inform, design and build engaging experiences. Companies that succeed will focus on breaking down existing organization silos to deliver a customer experience that stands out.

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