The Times They Are a-Changin’
… sang Bob Dylan 57 years ago, in a time of uncertainty and change. In such trying times as we’ve seen in recent months, uncertainty thrives and business leaders have questions about how to navigate their organizations through these dire straits. Just about every business sees their digital transformation initiatives being greatly accelerated. Now is the time to ensure business continuity, react with agility, and pivot to the new normal.
In the last few months, business transformation has happened with unprecedented speed. However, we had already been in a transformational shift the last few years where the basic rules of competition have changed. In what Oracle calls “The Experience Economy”, companies increasingly compete on the quality of customer experiences, and less based on price, packaging and brand identity.
While experiences are a very visible, hands-on outcome, not much has been written about the building blocks that make it possible to deliver these experiences. The key to sustainable differentiated experiences in the experience economy is how well you as a business collect, manage and activate data.
Evermore data for personalization
Customer data takes many forms. Marketing, CRM, loyalty, back-office ERP, Assets and IoT, website behavioral data, geo location, different devices, 3rd party data, social, credit cards, point of sale systems, and on and on. Through consolidation and activation, we're getting to the point where unprecedented levels of customer intelligence are becoming available. This is super exciting because this enables the holy-grail of marketing: personalization at scale.
The more you know about your customer, the better you can serve them. Over decades, organizations have been growing the number of data points, but very few companies successfully manage and use it to offer personalized experiences. These businesses that do it well have been tremendously successful. McKinsey found that personalization can lift revenue by 5-15%, increasing your marketing efficiency by 10-30% and reducing acquisition costs by up to 50%!
How it Works
It’s actually simple, although perhaps not necessarily easy. When you combine a rich customer profile with 1000s of customer attributes – like Customer Life-time Value, Age, Channel Preferences, Gender, Brand affinity, and more – with real-time event triggers – clicks, add/drop shopping carts, likes, shares, downloads, etc. – one can craft personalized, timely messages to the customer.
The personalized message can then be orchestrated and distributed across all available channels, whether a personalized landing page, an email, a text message, a push notification or an ad on a webpage. Of course, you could do this manually with the right data, but that’s not really feasible on the scale of B2C with many millions of customers. This is where Oracle CX Unity comes into play.
I want to focus this conversation on the question Who is better at delivering a personalized message to a human being than another human being? Personalization is something that needs to go beyond event-based marketing, mar-tech and ad-tech. It should include authentic human-to-human interactions that occur in customer service.
No matter how perfect your personalized marketing messages, it only takes one bad service experience to throw all that investment away.
Customer Service engagements are data-rich. Service typically involves a digital interaction generating rich behavioral data. This is often followed by human interaction, from which even more insight can be derived. Machines have their place, such as analyzing data sets and deriving insights. A human can bridge gaps in understanding that data just can’t provide. Think about how humans pick up subtle cues from language, tone and body language from a regular conversation.
Customer service is often the most intimate moment the business will ever have with the customer across the entire customer lifecycle. A conversation with a contact center agent is so much more personal than any email, push notification, or SMS will ever be. Human service offers a tremendous opportunity to personalize the experience with authenticity and persuasion. Yet, many marketers still do not see service as part of their realm.
We at Oracle declare that now – right now – is the time to start seeing Customer Service as a prime distribution channel to deliver personalized marketing messages. If data is the life-blood of marketing, then service is the battle-field of personalized marketing.
How Can Customer Intelligence be Used for Personalized Service Experiences?
1. First, there’s service segmentation. ‘Segmentation’ may be more associated with marketing than to service, but think about it. Why do the overwhelming majority of organizations still treat their customers as “the customer” without consideration of the value that that customer brings?
Whether you’re a top 1% spender, or that notorious person who just loves contacting Customer Service 5 times a week, you are going through the same service processes and queues. It’s time to start segmenting your customers for customer service.
2. The second area is about responding to service signals. Just about everything we do as consumers generates data. As described above, these events are activated for marketing purposes, but customers emit just as many signals regarding service requirements as purchase intent signals. Think about a customer downloading a manual and browsing the same pages repeatedly. He is fruitlessly searching for answers on your help page. He isn’t using an app anymore. It is important to always be there where the customer needs you.
3. The third area is to drive more sales via service. The idea of transitioning the contact center from a cost-center to become a profit-center is decades old. Everyone likes the idea, but it’s difficult to do. We have now arrived at an inflection point where different technologies, economic shifts to digital business and other factors are creating the opportunity to pivot and use service as a revenue generating channel.
What this all now means is that by blending a 360˚ customer view with real-time behavioral data insights and digital personalization technologies with a seamlessly connected enterprise suite of CX applications – nothing is blocking customer service agents to now become trusted sales associates. It’s as simple as that.
Service Segmentation, Responding to Service Signals and Driving Sales from Service are key components for success in a strategic shift to extend your marketing channels to include customer service. Where do you see most opportunities for Customer Intelligence in Service in your business?