Knowing where your customers are and how to keep them happy in a low-cost way has always been a challenge for business. As social media, smartphone apps and other digital technologies have moved into common usage, businesses have suddenly been swamped with an influx of customer and behavioural data.
Suddenly, knowing where your customers are and what they are doing is not the biggest problem. It’s now time to do something with all the data that has been collected. Designing the “keep them happy” stage has become a major focus for many businesses.
This is why an innovative approach to customer experience strategy has become so valuable. With so many of the customer touch-points becoming digital, understanding how these fit together is vital. So for those of you who are looking at your customer experience, let’s explore the trends you should have on your radar for 2014.
Social media will splinter into highly specialised areas
Over the past few years, most businesses have dabbled with some form of social media or another, with varying levels of success. In general, social media channels have been used for marketing (mostly unsuccessfully) and dealing with customer service issues (far more successfully), and distribution channels for content marketing (which is seeing positive results and maturing quickly).
In 2013, roles such as community management, social customer service, content marketing manager, social data analyst and social app developer rose to prominence. Next year these will become far more commonplace. Social media will become more than a place to simply tell your story – it will be seen as the platform to deliver a range of high-value services.
Loyalty programmes will become ‘social’
Traditional loyalty programmes have always focused on incentivising repeat transactions. As technology has evolved, the plastic loyalty card of old has been replaced with interactive smartphone apps – now it is possible to use the same “points” mechanisms to incentivise other behaviours. Why would you not get your customers to buy the new widget and tell all their Facebook friends about it?
Consumer data will start to take centre stage
There is a vast amount of data being created by the average consumer. We generate data every time we use our credit card, send an email, click like on Facebook, use our smartphone or search for something on Google. Currently, most of this data is invisible to us. Next year there will be a lot of focus around how this data is released from the gigantic data centres and used by the very people who create it – us! Your data is about to become a new and highly valuable utility.
The smart companies will ‘get it’
Forrester Research recently said we have exited out of the information age and are now in the “Age of the Customer” – where commercial success comes from empowering and engaging with customers. The world’s smartest companies understand this and are moving fast to take advantage. They design customer experience maps, creating interactive customer experience journeys and develop the innovations that empower their customer base.
The pace of technological change is continuing to speed up. The way that people communicate is becoming increasingly digital. This is not going to stop any time soon and it is changing the way consumers deal with the brands they purchase. Shifts in market trends can now happen overnight. The customer truly is in charge. The only question is: how is your company going to deal with it?
*Original Article by Mark Cameron: http://www.brw.com.au/p/marketing/where_customer_experience_is_heading_wUlYM4FWpbDww9oluodToK