The Customer Is The Channel

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Your Data Won't Get Results Without Context

As featured in Forbes

In our digital world, customer centricity, the customer experience and personalization separate the winners from the losers. So it’s not a coincidence that the companies that invest in collecting customer data thrive. The demand for personalized content is at an all-time high among consumers, according to Adobe. In fact, Epsilon found (via AdWeek) that around 80% are more likely to buy when a brand offers a personalized experience. By using real-time updates and improving the customer experience via text messaging, my company secured an opt-in rate of 33% for our client PacSun.

Before long, it will become difficult to compete in any industry if you haven't embraced data. But some companies still aren't getting the return on investment they crave, and it's usually because they've encountered one of the many pitfalls that come with collecting data.

Common Mistakes In Collecting Consumer Data

Some companies roadmap data without considering how it will be consumed, don't properly connect the data across all channels or they just misuse it (e.g., using the results from a recommendation engine that optimizes “add to shopping cart” post-purchase even though the shopper is unlikely to buy that same product again).

Only 20% of brands have a positive impact, which means most marketers are failing to connect with people. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 27% of Facebook users said the interests reflected on their Facebook ad preferences page were "not very or not at all accurate."

More Context Is Key to Great Customer Insights

While data is a driving force behind sound marketing decisions, context is the piece that steers it in the right direction. Brands that understand this are turning more and more to artificial intelligence to help them in structuring, analyzing and making sense of their data, and 16% have claimed they use it to get to know their customers better.

Here are three ways you can gather more context from data:

1. The more we share, the more we have. If you're building all your teams around old-school paradigms, it can be tough to create that fluidity of information. The key is to share customer data between departments. A lack of collaboration and making false assumptions based on unreliable data have been shown to cost some organizations about $7,000 per day. Being transparent with your information across departments will lead to better decision making and promote synergy.

Also, when customer data is not shared between teams, it will lead to a disjointed experience. A customer might research a product on your website and go to the online shopping cart or the store. If help is needed, that leads to phone calls or support websites. It is beneficial to both sides that customers be able to accomplish all of their needs through the channel that the customer prefers.

2. Map out data needs. Competition isn't only about outselling your rival's product, it's also about considering how customers are actually using what you sell. Bring these insights back and assess how they can help in product development.

One study found that 24% of shoppers want product recommendations based on what they've already bought. Why not greet them with a selection of these personalized products the moment they arrive in your online store? When you send out offers, ensure they're timely and relevant, whether through email, on-site promotions or external ads. This way, you engage shoppers along the buying journey across multiple channels.

3. Own the customer data road map. Have an application programming interface as the product mindset to meet different data needs and review the data impact regularly. This will help you be results-driven.

Start simple so you can read customer behavior and preferences. Then, you can build upon these results to create strategic bridges that allow you to go across other channels. For instance, learn what you can from Facebook Messenger, and use it to create an automated web chat.

Once your business truly understands the data and the context behind it, you will better be able to predict what services will most resonate with customers, finally creating the genuine two-way relationship they're searching for.

You can learn more about the customer experience and how automating the shopper experience can engage your customers at every touchpoint by exploring Linc’s platform and solutions pages. Or take a look at how leading brands like Lamps Plus, and others are using an automated shopper experience platform as part of their customer experience strategies in their businesses today, in our resources page

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