Gauteng Business News

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MARKETING: Intelligence Essential for Customer Experience


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A truly personalised online customer experience — what essentially amounts to a custom website for every customer — has been the Holy Grail of marketing for over a decade. Today, the tools exist to provide an individual, custom experience. But when it comes to technology — or anything else with the potential to significantly improve operations and revenue — most organisations are under-utilising the tools already at hand.

“Although most organisations are embracing digital channels, they don’t truly support ‘click’,” says Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Logikal Consulting. “Remember the days when adding someone’s first name to your e-mail marketing seemed the height of personalisation‘ It’s almost quaint in its simplicity. Even rules-based targeting used to home in on certain segments, like time of day or geography, are becoming slightly archaic in practice. Tailoring your online visitors’ experiences to their individual needs and behaviours is where customer-facing businesses need to be looking, ultimately offering experiences so customised it will seem as though customers have arrived at their own personal sites.”

Internet banking sites, for instance, should have front-end intelligence, Naidoo says. In order to improve services, drive efficiency and retain customers, banks should convert Internet banking portals into customer experience portals. Using Backbase, a niche portal software layered on top of existing infrastructure that's used by financial institutions, Logikal Consulting has enabled this reality for one South African bank with great results for the financial institution.

“It’s not just banks. All organisations can speed up their business by optimising the customer experience at the point of the application. It’s all about customer touchpoints,” he adds. “Consider the great lengths Web marketers go to in order to collect data about their website visitors, not to mention all the time they spend poring over it in effort to predict what their customers look like, what they want, and how to best give it to them. Now think about how little they actually do with this information. This type of data — this wealth of knowledge about customer preferences, behaviours, needs, wants, habits, patterns and so forth — is at the root of personalisation. This is why and how we begin our journey toward totally personalised sites — custom fit to each and every customer.”

The phrase “garbage in, garbage out” is especially relevant to customer experience initiatives. Faulty inputs lead to imperfect outputs and inconsistent customer experience, so the level of data intelligence employed by companies is just as important as the design of their Websites. The quality of the customer experience at any touch point individually can affect the overall relationship a customer has with a company, so it is essential that the data companies have about their customers is leveraged effectively.

“Customer experience is not only about increasing customer satisfaction. It is strategic in nature and is based on building positive customer experiences where doing so will provide business profit. From marketing to support, companies have the opportunity at every touchpoint in the customer lifecycle to transform the way customers experience their product, their brand, and their company. Customers expect you to put them at the centre of your business. If you don’t, your competition will. By analysing and effectively utilising the data that the company has on its customers, we help our clients to develop high-impact customer experiences,” Naidoo explains.

This is equally relevant for government agencies and parastatals. According to Naidoo, the same technological solutions that companies in the private sector are leveraging to improve customer experience can allow government to deal with citizens more efficiently, treating them as valued customers. “Using the masterdata from Home Affairs to feed into SARS, for example, or for FICA and RICA purposes, would not only ensure simplified management of these processes, but better accuracy. As in the private sector, every touchpoint is a brand experience, and government can only benefit from this approach.”

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