We sat down with ID BBN’s Managing Director, Timo ‘The Oracle’ Kruskopf, to discover the secrets of a superlative digital customer experience. What we found was a whole lot of common sense backed up with the right technology.
The digital customer experience is getting a lot of attention these days. What is it all about?
The easiest way to describe it is to go back to a time when there was no electricity. A person in need had to walk into a store and discuss what he wanted with the sales clerk. Over time, the more acquainted the clerk became with the needs of each individual, the more precisely he could predict their needs and pre-order the things that the customer would need the next month.
Now, the same happens with digital. Customer digital behaviour is collected, aggregated and analysed in order to proactively predict the needs of and ignite a digital dialog with a ‘digital clerk’.The trick is to teach the digital clerk enough to be able to automatically and politely react at the right time to the right causes.
How does the digital customer experience fit into the overall customer experience?
We talk a lot about ‘omni channel service’. The idea is that you have a complete picture of the customer situation in every channel. If you go to the call centre, if you go to online chat…they should all know your situation, where you are in the sales process and what needs you have. When every point at which the company touches the customer shares this 360-degree view of the customer, engagement is heightened and customer needs are exquisitely served.
Right now the systems are there but the behaviour isn’t. Company culture and organisational structure are the culprits. For example, call centre operations are typically outsourced, but company privacy policies limit the amount of customer data that can be shared with third party companies. The result is an incomplete view of the customer at the call centre, which can lead to a disconnected customer experience.
How do you see the digital customer experience evolving?
There will be more intelligence. Machine learning will automatically teach systems do right things at the right time to optimise buyer journey success. Automated messaging production will be the next big thing. We will still have to write all of the possible messages that we assume will be needed in communication. And the longer the communication dialog – i.e. the longer the buyer journey – the more complex the pre-designed content repository. Once the messages are all written, systems will generate the right mix of content based on customer demands. It’s a bit like Siri or Alexa or any of the ‘answer fetchers’ we use on our smart phones today, except that answers are often a lot longer and a good deal more complex.
What is the most important move an organization can make to improve the digital customer experience?
Understand what moves inside the customer’s head. What makes them tick. What kind of worries and concerns do they have? Build the sales story around issues that touch the heart and soul of your customer. If we get them to say “they understood my needs and reacted correctly to them”, we have reached the threshold for digital transformation as an organisation. The next step is doing something about it, which is what we will be covering in our upcoming workshop.
So it’s not so much the technology that’s limiting the possibility of an excellent customer experience, but organisational behaviour. Is that the only factor?
Well, there’s also customer behaviour. One important thing to understand is that it’s not linear. The customer always has options and life often gets in the way. If the kettle boils over in the kitchen and the person is distracted, an online form may not get completed or a chat may be abandoned. Hopefully, the customer picks up where they left off and it starts up again. But maybe they see an ad and call a number rather than using Internet chat.
So how do we, as marketers, know that we don’t need to start from the beginning, and also that we shouldn’t take the next step because the customer didn’t complete the previous one? That’s something we need to develop more. If a customer stops in the middle of a step, oftentimes nothing happens. But why can’t I get a reminder that I got to step 3 already and have 3 steps left? That’s what we are aiming for—and it’s not far off.
Check out our other articles on the digital customer experience:
- How to find the bottlenecks in your digital customer experience - join our workshops this spring! (workshops in Finnish)
- How to make up one's mind? - marketing as a service and outstanding customer experience
- Automate your marketing and elevate your business
- Put people at the center of everything you do