Top trends for using data to improve the client journey

Staying competitive means staying ahead of trends. But how do you do that in an age where technology is driving change at ever increasing speeds? One place to look is in your customer experience. While the phrase may be trendy, providing a great customer experience is a timeless component of a solid business foundation. Today there are lots of ways that using data can help you stay on track with what your customers want, anticipate what they’re likely to want in the future, and continuously evolve your firm’s ability to deliver an experience that meets – and exceeds – their expectations.

Customer experience is not a department; it’s a way of thinking

Your firm may (or may not) have a department charged with stewarding the customer experience. But customer experience can’t be the sole responsibility of just one department. It has to be infused into every area of your business – from the way people answer the phones to the ease of finding information on your website to how frequently clients expect to hear from you – and beyond.

Customer experience leaders know that when you are responsive to your clients’ needs, pain points, and feedback, your firm can only improve. They are obsessed with their clients and prioritize delivering an outstanding experience over everything else.

Although many firms recognize the vital role customer experience plays in client retention, there’s still a huge disconnect between the knowing and the doing. Part of the problem is that firms don’t always understand exactly what their clients want or all the different ways they engage with the firm. And even when they do know – they can find it challenging to deliver on their customers’ desires.

The easiest way to get to know (and obsess over) your clients is to talk to them regularly. There are also a lot of new and emerging technologies that use data to help you gauge behavior and anticipate future needs.

Your data plus Big Data

Data plays a critical role in understanding clients and improving their experience. Marketers today have no shortage of information. Every firm has internal data it can (and should) be using to better understand the client experience.

It’s also useful to compare your firm’s data with big data from multiple outside sources in order to get a broader picture of how your firm stacks up locally, regionally, nationally, and even globally.

But before you get totally overwhelmed, remember more data doesn’t necessarily translate into better relationships. There are Data Mining tools that can filter and analyze hundreds of billions of rows of available information and extract the details that are the most relevant to helping you identify new opportunities to grow and improve your business.

Where is all this data coming from?

You name it. Clients interact with firms at a multitude of touchpoints, providing opportunities to collect data: matters, social media, email, web forms, live events, mobile apps, interactions with voice activated devices, cookies, GPS tracking… the list goes on and on.

CMOs are either sitting on—or have the potential to gather—more data than they ever dreamed possible to spur innovation in every corner of their business. But we’re not suggesting firms take a shotgun approach, or collect data for the sake of collecting data. The goal is to pinpoint and surgically deploy meaningful data and to make sure the right employees have the right insights and information in real time to inspire and engage clients and evolve the customer journey.

What do you do with the data?

No matter what technology you’re using to collect data, client feedback remains the central starting point in ensuring a great customer experience. You must put the client first in every area you are trying to build. Listen and respond to that feedback in real time.

Cross serving inside of firms can be challenging. Departments are often siloed and the quality of your client’s interactions can dramatically differ from one area to the next.

Firms today have begun harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to automate valuable insights, like behavioral and predictive analytics, allowing companies large and small to provide highly personalized customer and user experiences.

Here are a few methods that can help you use your data to ensure that every step in your clients’ journey is consistently positive.

  • Predictive Analytics uses historical data, statistical algorithms, and machine learning techniques to develop a best assessment of what will happen in the future. Instead of constantly scrambling in reaction to client complaints and shifting attitudes, predictive modeling can help firms identify what clients want and adopt proactive measures to keep them satisfied.
  • Integrated Technology applies a smart, real-time, omni channel approach to communication, so the client experience can more consistent no matter the department or platform where they engage with your firm
  • Behavioral targeting improves the customer experience by taking into account where the client is in their journey, their communication preferences, and behavioral data to help you reach out to them at the right time, with the right content, and through the right methods.
  • Personalization – As people’s resistance to mainstream advertising grows higher and tools have become smarter, it’s more important than ever to provide relevant, personalized content. Mining your data can give you the information and insights necessary to deliver content and messaging tailored your clients’ specific interests and needs.

Whatever methods you choose to implement, know that artificial intelligence is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s crucial that CMOs aggregate and organize client data in one place, so their firms can leverage the most important information and extract actionable insights. With a deep understanding of your clients – backed by expertise and data – you can build a solid strategy for customer experience as well as business growth. Using data well in business is the difference in winning and merely surviving.