The time is fast approaching where the stiffest competition for a customer’s wallet share will come from customer experience and the ensuing loyalty. You might think from everything you hear that we’re already there, but we’re not. Despite the rapid growth of smartphones and tablets, we haven’t yet reached the point where the majority of consumers are shopping digitally—yet.
That leaves a little time, but very little, for brands to gear up to compete on customer experience.
Brands Are Already Investing
The brands that recognize what’s approaching are already investing in a platform approach to gain their customer’s trust and loyalty. A platform approach, rather than cobbling together point solutions, is a key part of making sure that the data necessary to create great customer experiences is available to the marketer, and ready for analysis and action.
Why a Platform?
The world will compete through customer experience platforms because we’re in a fast-moving digital data age that requires significant integration to make the concept work. This is due to the fact that customer experience is affected by a rapidly increasing number of touch points with the customer. What used to be face-to-face is now on the web or on a smartphone, any time of the day, and in many different contexts.
The diversification of context, in fact, is what makes customer experience such a challenge and, at the same time, such an opportunity. Context used to be far more simple. Is the customer on the website or in the store? Are they known or unknown? Going forward, the questions will range far further and have far greater dependence on interconnected data and systems. The new questions will include: When did the customer last interact? What was the outcome? What’s most likely to be an effective response in this moment?
And from the customer side, there are also far more questions: Does the brand recognize me quickly and easily? Does the brand value me as a repeat customer in a way that matters to me? Can I maintain my expectations regardless of the time, place, and platform that I prefer in the moment? The answers to these questions will determine whether a brand is able to compete on customer experience.
If you can’t answer those questions for your customers, it could be time to take a step back and change your approach.
This post first appeared on the Loyalty Lab Blog and has been lightly edited.