Today, there is no doubt that we are in the midst of an ‘experience economy,’ which is not just a fancy trend. Consumer experience has taken center-stage, superseding products & services. This brings in a vast range of opportunities as well as challenges. It is a massive transformation for traditional business models to break away from being product-centric to customer-centric. Digital-native & experience-driven new comers in the market have started to pose tough competition to the giants. Building customer intimacy through a personalized and contextual delivery experience is the key to survival. Organizational challenges in this journey are multi fold:
- Lack of clear understanding of the customers’ needs
- Increasing and ever evolving customer expectations
- Operational silos within organizations
- Organizational culture and readiness
- Product/service-centric approach and processes
- Financial and technical readiness to empower context and time-sensitive actions
- Disjointed information leading to inconsistent messaging
- Effectiveness of personalization not measured in totality, resulting in fallacious decisions
The Strategies Involved in the Customer Personalization Journey:
Understanding the customer’s needs and their propensity is the first challenge that organizations face. Propensity is primarily defined by personality, and is influenced by various external and time sensitive factors. It could be anything, ranging from something as trivial as the weather to local or life events. Marketers usually apply the classic psychology of personality traits to the modern science of neuro-economics to predict propensity.
The process of implementing customer-centricity is beyond tools and technology; it needs to be driven by organizational strategy, culture and policies. Which will impact customer personalization priorities.
Data and Intelligence-driven
Most organizations collect customer information across different touch points into systems such as CRM, Web Analytics and other transactional databases. Building a unified customer data by hub that collates information through the journey across these systems is foundational to realize effective customer personalization. A true customer profile encompasses data across these systems and enriches it with behavioral and third party data which is useful for customer personalization. A scalable data unification strategy model at an enterprise level requires thoughtful planning and architectural decisions.
Analyzing data to derive insights that drive customer experience is the next step to equip your touchpoints to provide uninterrupted experience and best-bet actions.
Omni-channel Experience Delivery
Customers experience an organization through different touch points - both online and offline. They can include marketing, sales and online channels like web, mobile apps or customer service. Delivering consistent delivery experience across channels requires Customer 360 and the context to be made available, preferably with recommended next-best actions.
When organizations embark on a personalization journey, it is important to understand the various aspects that influence business outcomes. These aspects can be broadly categorized into three - functional, organizational and people. Dimensions are defined under these categories to study, measure and improve personalization effectiveness.
- Functional dimensions refer to the extent, complexity, automation and accuracy of personalization
- Organizational dimensions caters to the organizational vision, strategy, commitment, investment, and the cultural and structural readiness with regard to the personalization initiative within the organization
- People related dimension looks into skill or expertise gaps, knowledge management
An organization's ability to understand aspects related to costing, budgeting and revenues influences strategy, leadership commitment and investment. In fact, organizational readiness goes beyond these factors to changes in culture, policies and expertise. Hence, it is important to understand the different dimensions of customer personalization, and how they influence business outcomes. Doing so helps organizations prioritize resources into the right dimensions to maximize the desired business goals. Each dimension can be applied at different levels of complexity and degree of personalization.
Delivering experience has become an integral part of daily operations. Business and IT needs to be equipped with the right skills to handle ever-changing customer expectations and newer engagement channels.