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How Technology and Data Help You Build Customer Experiences Worth Bragging About

Man on Laptop in Front of Sunset

Open a new tab in your mobile browser and head to the home page of your favorite website.

Close your eyes and count to three…

Now, open them.

If the website didn’t load, there’s a 53% chance you’ll abandon the site and never go back. Not even if you click your heels three times and tell Toto you want to.

Today’s consumers are impatient. They want what they want and they want it now. And they’re often unsatisfied with the experiences they’re getting from brands. In fact, a jarring 94% of consumers are over the broken experience of interacting with your company.

Customers shouldn’t have to go on a scenic tour of your outdated filing system just to get help, whether they’re in the buying cycle or you’ve already won their business.

But outdated technology, siloed communications, and decades of following the same ol’ CX trends add up. And that creates a prolonged, frustrating experience for your prospects and customers. An experience that takes more time, effort, and brainpower than it should.

Marketing leaders like you are taking notice. Only 16% of marketers think their companies deliver customer experiences that fulfill their brand promises. As consumers expect more, brands promise more. But it’s a lot of talk and little action.

As a marketing leader for your company, take the reins and architect a brand that advocates for your potential buyers, your newly-minted customers, and your lasting loyalists. Use technology to untangle the web of frustrations that has your prospects and customers trapped.

Here’s why it’s time to invest more in updating your processes, technology, and data usability.

Your company needs a better view of your prospect and customer data

Your CRM, customer service platforms, and marketing automation software all house thousands of interactions and data points about your customers’ journeys. But collecting the data isn’t what’s holding you back from a better customer experience.

The real challenge lies in how you use the data you collect, and in how easy it is for employees to find data to help them make more informed decisions.

When your data is trapped in separate databases that don’t talk to each other, getting access to important information becomes a time-consuming manual process.

Let’s say you see a certain metric spike, like an email open rate or outreach to your customer service team. You need hard data from your messaging and recent email sends to see if you can find commonalities or trends that caused the spike.

Maybe your system had an outage that caused a jump in call volume in your service department. Finding out a detail like that means your marketing team needs to draft an email to customers to keep them in the know, or else it’ll lead to a stressed-out customer service team that doesn’t feel the support they need from marketing. Access to that data means you uncover a problem that desperately needs a fix.

Or, maybe your weekly newsletter had an old promotional banner in the email signature. Your open rates spiked because, well…your prospects are clicking off the charts trying to figure out whether that 12-month free trial notice is real. In this case, you know you need to take corrective action now, or you risk losing out on key revenue and eroding brand trust.

Whatever the case may be, accessible data pulls back the curtains so you can see clearly.

How to guide your company to more accessible and actionable data

Look to your digital transformation strategy and your revenue and operations leaders for help. Work with your revenue-generating and service departments to build a case for better reporting. That way, company-wide, you have a clear picture of your customer behavior at every stage. Turns out, more CMOs are taking control of their companies’ data and analytics to do just that.

Every department needs detailed data to uncover customer issues and prospect hesitations. Without quick access to digestible reporting, you rely on your gut instead of the facts. That approach doesn’t work. And it certainly doesn’t elevate your customer experience or your company revenue.

Disjointed technology and outdated toolsets keep you from reaching your goals

Some 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that knows their name and purchase history and recommends products tailored to their preferences. But as your technology ages, it’s less compatible with new systems that enable better data sharing and personalization. Legacy technology floats in its own fragment, unable to connect and seamlessly integrate with the new building blocks of modern cloud technology.

Often, this means leaving data siloed off from the rest of the company, living in multiple systems that don’t talk to each other.

That means you lose out on potential buyers and business growth.

Really, though, how can you deliver the customizable experiences your customers and prospects want if your CRM doesn’t integrate with your automation platform? Or if your sales, marketing, and service teams don’t have an easy way to share and view the same customer data?

Without systems that work together, employees get stuck on an endless search for info. Manual processes like that suck up your employees’ time and they leave more room for error and inconsistent experiences during your customer journey. Additionally, the bounty hunt for customer information happens while would-be brand advocates are left hanging. They’re stuck waiting around for information that could push them to buy or keep them from churning.

The longer your teams spend searching for information to personalize experiences, the easier it is for a person to say sayonara and head to a competitor—one that offers a hassle-free purchasing experience or prioritizes customer retention.

How to prioritize integrations and connected systems

If you know some of your current platforms don’t work well together or share information easily, partner with your IT team to see if any integrations already exist. Or, ask your vendor about an option for custom APIs.

Digital transformation starts with improving the technology you have and the way you work company-wide to fix pain points in your processes. And if your current platforms can’t work together, start researching other options. Connecting all your systems is unavoidable if you want to keep pace with customer expectations.

Data should inform your customer journey—not your gut

Customer journeys aren’t linear. They happen across dozens of channels and in every department. And marketing links each touchpoint together into a cohesive brand experience.

However, despite the opportunity for deeper connection and personalization, more than one third of companies still don’t map their customer journey. Without a map to follow, your sales reps don’t know when to serve up the right content to your prospects, leaving them stranded close to the finish line. And your company’s service teams can’t optimize their CSAT survey copy and delivery, which means fewer referenceable customers for your team.

Your customer experience suffers when you don’t have data for insight into the behavior and pathways of your customers. In fact, I’ve fallen victim to companies assuming truths about my behaviors and actions, funneling me into the linear path they think I should follow. Their assumed path for me looks something like this: I research a product, I buy the product, then I call customer service when I need help. In reality, I often revisit websites looking for self-help resources and educational content long before I pick up the phone to call customer service.

What gave it away that I wasn’t getting a personalized experience tailored to my behavior?

After one of my purchases, I returned to the vendor website to find some help articles. When I arrived at the site, a sales rep sent me a chat message asking me if I wanted to talk more about the product.

Yes, I did want to learn more about the product, and I had some pertinent questions. But I didn’t want to be sold to. Again. The company and I were past that phase.

When scenarios like this play out, there’s no better (or, really, worse) reminder that you’re not a valued customer, you’re a number in a playbook. I wanted more knowledge and customer nurturing from the company. But their disjointed systems, siloed business channels, and inaccessible data didn’t give me that. They plopped me right back at the top of the sales funnel and missed an opportunity to encourage lasting customer loyalty.

How to use data to inform your customer journey map

Use real-time and historical data to track and map your customer journey from pre-sale through life of contract. Collect data at every touchpoint to create a never-ending loop of insights into different paths your customers follow.

Track specifics like buyer intent—learning the behaviors of prospects who are most likely to buy from you. Then move on to track adoption—how are your customers with fresh ink on their contracts using your products and services? Finally, when it comes time for renewal, what customers decided to stick around, and who jumped ship? What trends emerge from that data?

Here, you’ll find important insights about where your customer experience is broken. Then you can fix it to create customer advocates and more repeat buyers.

Data makes your decisions better

Partner with other departments and leaders to share the insights you find. Then, work together to build out one cohesive journey map. Tracking your customer behavior based on real data, not what you think someone should do, lets you tailor your experiences.

In a study by MyCustomer, nearly 90% of companies surveyed said mapping their customer journey made a positive impact on their business. Some of the quantifiable business results included an increase in customer satisfaction and NPS scores, fewer customer complaints, and lower churn. And with 60% of B2C brands embracing NPS as their leading success metric by the end of 2020, a spike in those metrics equals booming business.

Lean into your digital transformation strategy and your leaders company-wide to unify your technology and transform the way you work interdepartmentally. Then, give your customers and prospects the direct, personalized experiences they want.

Veronica Krieg Headshot

Veronica Krieg is a Senior Content Writer for Sharpen, the agent-first contact center platform built to prioritize agents and strategically improve customer experiences. Veronica writes data-backed content that’s both informative and has enough spunk to keep people coming back for more. Her main focus is creating content that drives revenue growth, brand awareness, and customer advocacy for B2B tech companies.