Amid inflationary pressures and the global economic downturn, business leaders, naturally, are more inclined to cut costs and hold back on spending that they deem risky. This mindset, though common and understandable, can hinder companies’ abilities to harness new growth opportunities.
While cutting costs in technology and marketing investments might have been seen as sound financial decisions in the past, this strategy is no longer viable in today’s experiential economy. This seems to be the case with Asia-Pacific organisations who have been making more digital customer experience (CX) investments to better position themselves, so they can cater to increasingly digital-first consumers.
Unsurprisingly, many brands today recognise this as imperative and have formally implemented customer-centric measures, including customer data platforms and omnichannel management platforms. According to IDC, 30% of Asia-Pacific 2000 companies will adopt a next-best approach in 2024, which will increase the demand for CX technologies.
Supporting a customer-first approach allows organisations to meet customers where they are. At the same time, they need to know the best solutions to invest in that provide the best return on investment (ROI). Rather than downsizing their marketing and data investments to withstand inflationary and recessionary threats, companies must look to optimise their marketing and CX offerings to retain existing customers and gain new ones.
Establishing customer centricity
Tracking and optimising the customer’s journey to meet their unique preferences require organisations to adopt a customer-centric mentality. Brands and agencies often have a good sense of the messaging and content which resonate with target audiences, but they don’t always fully grasp the ‘how’ or ‘when’ of their impact on the customer.
Consider that the typical retail customer journey today might see consumers first notice a product on a social media ad, read more about it, and then opt to purchase or otherwise. To gain insight into CX at each of these touchpoints, companies need to drop the idea that tracking each of these transactions separately is ideal. On the contrary, this approach completely obscures the decisions that led the customer to purchase.
By understanding the links across multiple stages, thoughtful mapping and analysis enable identification of the impact of each channel on customer decision-making. For forward-thinking marketers, a customer-centric approach allows a company to be intimately familiar with the buying process throughout the funnel, from the awareness phase to the actual purchase. But gaining awareness of customer journeys hinges on meaningful digital transformation.
Customer interactions today are compatible with different platforms. It doesn’t matter if it’s through TV or in a direct message on Twitter or Facebook, customers want to engage with brands on their favourite channels. At the same time, it is imperative that organisations imbibe customers with confidence, especially with regard to data security and Personal Identifiable Information (PII). In fact, a report by EY Parthenon found that 64% of customers were willing to share their personal data for a more tailored online experience. A robust customer data management platform can equip brands to achieve this while mapping out their customer journey and planning out CX strategies.
Following along on the customer journey
Impactful customer transformation has the power to drive sales. Specifically, ensuring customer experiences meet demands for personalisation requires organisations to leverage individual customer journey data.
Current-state mapping allows organisations to gain insight into each customer’s progress in their journey. By outlining everything customers are doing in interactions with your company, organisations can leverage this hugely valuable information to plan and effectively execute customer-centricity.
Other examples of different types of customer journey maps include:
- Day-in-the-life navigations.
- Future-state service blueprints.
There are differences between these approaches, and it is important for companies to investigate which will work best for their goals and how far they are at implementing their CX measures.
Personalising CX at scale
The ultimate objective is to create the most relevant message and experience that will reach the largest audience possible. When organisations understand what their current customers’ typical day looks like, the approach to communications can become more strategic to meet them where they are.
The good news is that organisations can harness best-in-class tools that empower the implementation of strategies at scale and with minimal cost. With the right data and infrastructure in place, brands can optimise their marketing and CX delivery to provide the best ROI.
Technology investments can feel like luxuries when markets are relatively unstable, but there are solutions that offer immediate ROI. Before transforming customer experiences, organisations should evaluate their tech stacks to determine their purpose and business value. Once a company has such customer-centric technologies in place, it will be able to achieve growth no matter the industry or economic conditions.