Anyone working in the marketing industry knows that when it comes to marketing your business or brand, customer happiness is key. Yet creating positive customer experiences isn’t as simple as it once was.
These days, customers expect brands to know what they want before they do. They want to be met at every point of their customer journey with information and content that is relevant, useful and insightful.
Customers will abandon a brand if their needs aren’t satisfied, which ultimately negatively impacts a business’ retention rates and bottom lines. That’s why customer happiness – and loyalty – is vital for every brand.
Today’s consumer has more options than ever before. This means they have high expectations for brand engagement, responsiveness and product quality.
With all facets of the experience – from social networks to retail channels – being disrupted by major players like Amazon, Apple and Google, consumers have adapted to a certain standard and can be unforgiving when their expectations aren’t met or their trust is betrayed.
What does this mean for the marketing industry? It means the modern marketer needs to both deliver on these growing expectations and also use the right tools to deliver highly personalised experiences – without breaking consumer trust or abusing data privileges their customers give them.
It’s not easy, but it is crucial.
Though marketers live in a world of data analytics and funnels, the very foundation of what they do is build relationships with consumers – a relationship that is based on trust.
Last week, B&T attended SaaS vendor Acquia’s APAC conference in Melbourne, where Acquia leaders got to the heart of the issues surrounding the martech industry in a jam-packed day filled with inspiring talks from people such as Mike Sullivan, Acquia CEO (feature image); Lynne Capozzi, Acquia CMO, Matt Kaplan, Acquia senior VP of product and more.
A common theme across the day was that brands are not meeting consumer expectations, and therefore failing to create positive customer experiences.
Despite increasing investment in marketing technology year on year, nearly half of consumers say brands aren’t meeting their expectations, and even fewer remember the last time a brand exceeded expectations.
Acquia CMO Lynne Capozzi said: “There’s a disconnect between what marketers think they’re providing for customer experience and what consumers are feeling.
“Customers have built expectations. They’ve built expectations around what their customer experience is and what their interaction with your brand should be like.
Acquia CEO Mike Sullivan commented: “Consumers are very fickle. They’re really only as loyal as their last experience.
“It sounds obvious but 76 per cent of consumers say they’re loyal to a brand, but will move if they have a bad experience, and companies are saying they’re having this experience all the time.
“We clearly have a gap to fill as a group of marketing professionals and we have to execute on that”.
How do marketers fill the gap and drive positive customer experiences? It all comes down to data.
Capozzi said: “Data is key for marketing moving forward.
“Brands must move from content digital experiences with limited or no digital personalisation and really move towards data-driven customer journeys – journeys that recognise customers at every single touchpoint – a much more personalised and customised experience”.
Last November, Acquia released the findings of a global study entitled Closing The CX Gap: Customer Experience Trends Report 2019.
The report revealed that while positive customer experience is vital for customers and brands, both marketers and consumers agree CX is missing the mark.
More than 60 percent of consumers polled feel that brands do not do a good job of using their personal preferences to predict their needs.
Furthermore, 55 percent of consumers agree that brands are behind the times with how they interact with customers, both online and offline.
As a result, 61 percent of consumers feel that the brands that should know them, simply don’t – even lacking in the most basic areas of customer knowledge, such as purchase history and personal preferences.
This lack of knowledge and understanding has a huge impact on customer loyalty, with 78 percent of consumers reporting they are more inclined to be loyal to brands that understand them and what they are looking to achieve through interactions with a company.
What is clear from both Acquia’s APAC conference and their global report is that consumers’ expectations for brand experience are not being met.
While it is true the modern marketers live in a world of analytics and funnels and measuring performance, it’s important marketers remember that they are talking and dealing with humans, and empathy and understanding goes a long way.
And, while technology and data are key elements to measuring success, they’re also tools to help better engage customers – but only if used effectively.