Score a customer experience touchdown with personalization

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Sports broadcasters often attribute a successful play to a deep-seated trust between teammates. A quarterback airs out a long pass to a corner of the end zone because he knows the receiver will run the designated route and hit the precise spot when the ball comes down. Trust breeds confidence.

The analogy holds true for marketers and CX professionals using customer data to deliver personalized, omnichannel customer experiences. With complete trust in the data, it is far easier to score CX touchdowns. Instead of points on the scoreboard, the payoff is a delighted customer. Awed by a “perfect” experience, a customer is also impressed by a brand’s deep understanding of them as a unique individual. A brand seems to know exactly where they are throughout the journey, and delivers pinpoint accuracy in the cadence of interactions ubiquitously and in real time across all touchpoints.  

Consider recent McKinsey research in which 76% of consumers surveyed said they are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers a personalized experience. Furthermore, 71% said they expect personalization, and 76% are frustrated when a brand fails to deliver on this expectation.

Meeting the expectation for a personalized experience depends on perfected data, and having complete trust that data is accurate, timely and complete. Without trust, marketers and business users adopt conservative strategic decisions — equivalent to running the ball instead of passing — that may yield incremental gains, but will not produce the electrifying result of satisfied, loyal customers and the attendant revenue gains.

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Successful personalization: Know all that is knowable

When customers were somewhat tolerant of a mass marketing approach, organizations could get away with less-than-perfect data quality. The same is not true in today’s experience economy, where a personal understanding is a prerequisite for achieving and sustaining outcomes valued by both the customer and the enterprise.

Yet targeting individual consumers has proven operationally complex, particularly given the data and process siloes embedded in most organizations that prevent brands from developing a unified view of the customer. Faced with these challenges, brands have resorted to organizing marketing campaigns centered around a channel or process instead of the customer. But without deploying the deepest and freshest contextual understanding of a customer across every touchpoint, it is impossible to consistently deliver the level of personalization that customers expect.

Perfected data entails more than compiling data from every source and the elimination of data siloes and latency. To stay in the cadence of an omnichannel customer journey, it is also essential that data quality processes are completed the moment that new data becomes available anywhere in the enterprise.

Identity resolution undertaken within milliseconds of data ingestion plays a key role in delivering a hyper-personalized customer experience layered with context and meaning, one that resonates with a customer as being highly relevant to their individual needs, desires and preferences.

Personalization and the “golden record”

The key to delivering unprecedented relevance to a customer is a single customer view, or golden record, that lets a brand know everything there is to know about a customer. A persistently updated golden record includes data of every type and from every source. Built upon singular identity resolution capabilities, it combines every customer identifier — addresses, emails, devices, social, phone numbers — with complete behavioral, intent and transactional data to create the context that gives the single customer view its value.

An important component of the golden record is precise knowledge of a customer’s preferences for how data is collected, stored and used, and then honoring — to the letter — a customer’s permissions for guiding all interactions with the brand. Exacting consent management extends the trust that a brand has in the data to the trust between the brand and its customers.

Context is crucial and extends beyond understanding each discrete interaction in a customer’s journey. It is created by an analytically derived understanding of the relationship among the various interactions and decision points, which in turn creates testable predictions about future interactions and customer decisions. Thus, a contextually deep customer relationship is the key to optimizing each engagement across the entire customer lifecycle, guaranteeing that a brand is always — always — in sync with the customer.

An unbroken cycle of excellence

Just as a successful QB/wide receiver tandem feeds off a successful partnership, customers presented with a highly relevant, omnichannel customer experience driven by effective personalization reward a brand by providing even more data about themselves, particularly if the customer knows the data will be used to further enhance the experience. To hold up their end of the bargain, brands must be completely transparent about how data is collected and used and honor to the letter all customer permissions and preferences. In a 2019 Harris Poll survey, 54% of consumers said they are willing to share more personal data with companies in exchange for a more personalized experience, with 74% claiming that it is either “very important” or “essential” that a brand is transparent about how the consumer’s data is being used.

When a marketer or business user has full faith and confidence that customer data is accurate, timely, complete and permissioned, they are emboldened to score customer experience touchdowns by delivering highly relevant, precise engagements that reflect a deep customer understanding. When they connect, watch out. Customers appreciate the effort and dedication, and they’ll reward it in kind.

Dale Renner is founder and CEO of RedPoint Global, Inc.

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