“Customers no longer tolerate fragmented engagement across different channels.” – Scott McCorkle, CEO, Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Delivering a seamless customer experience is now a must for companies, and marketers are prioritizing omnichannel retailing as a result.
That’s one of the major conclusions in Salesforce.com’s State of Marketing report, an annual survey of B2B and B2C marketers. The good news: companies have already made significant progress in integrating many channels—mobile in particular—to improve customer experience. Sixty-eight percent of respondents in the Salesforce.com report claim that mobile is now integrated with their marketing plans, a 20% rise from last year.
This year, a great majority of marketers plan to increase or maintain their budgets in the hopes of delivering a better customer experience. Mobile and social media lead the priority list for marketers.
“All departments—sales, service, and marketing—are a part of the customer journey,” McCorkle tells DMNews. “We expect 2015 will be the year that businesses connect the dots accordingly. This means implementing a truly multichannel approach to personalize each customer engagement.”
The report also reiterates the importance of an omnichannel retail strategy. In the age of the empowered customer, people expect and demand a seamless journey across all shopping channels. But throwing money at different channels won’t magically result to a smoother customer experience.
So, what can your company do to make 2015 the year of the customer journey, as Salesforce.com is predicting? Here are 3 suggestions.
- Prioritize the customer relationship.
In a world where customers have more choices than ever, competitive advantage doesn’t come from having the biggest budget or the coolest marketing campaign. Today, loyalty comes from treating your customers as true partners, and integrating their insight in everything you do.
How are you engaging with your customers? Do you have a two-way partnership with them where you not only ask for input but also tell them how their feedback shapes your decisions? Maintaining a healthy relationship with customers can highlight pain points and identify opportunities to improve your offerings.
- Get a deeper understanding of your customers.
As marketers invest more in CRM, mobile, social and other technologies, they’ll have more customer data at their disposal. But having lots of data doesn’t mean you’re getting closer to truly knowing your customers. For many companies, big data isn’t yet leading to actionable insight, and metrics from social media analytics only provide a partial picture.
To meet the demands of the empowered customer, companies need a more holistic picture—an approach that reveals the “why” of people’s behavior. It’s not enough to know what retail channels your customers use; it’s critical to gain understanding of the context in which people use those channels.
Brands can’t expect to deliver a seamless experience without getting back to basics and engaging with their customers directly and frequently. Improving the customer journey requires a human touch.
- Adopt a customer-centric mindset across the organization.
Marketers are at the forefront of customer-centricity, but as McCorkle explains, the entire company needs to be involved. From customer service to R&D, every department in your company should obsess about the customer journey. To do that, you need a champion in your company—perhaps a Chief Customer Officer—but more importantly, you need to empower your employees in improving all aspects of the business for the customer.
To learn more about improving the customer experience in your company, watch The 4 Moments of Truth That Lead to Meaningful Customer Experiences, an on-demand webinar featuring renowned digital analyst Brian Solis.
Tweet highlights from this blog post:
- CLICK TO TWEET: Delivering a seamless customer experience is now a must for companies.
- CLICK TO TWEET: Companies have no excuse for a fragmented customer journey.
- CLICK TO TWEET: Having lots of data doesn’t mean you’re getting closer to truly knowing your customers.
- CLICK TO TWEET: Every department in your company, including marketing, should obsess about the customer journey.
A version of this article first appeared on Salesforce.com.