How to effectively use data to enhance customer experiences

How to effectively use data to enhance customer experiences

Imagine you’re stuck in traffic without your phone, and the only way for you to listen to your music is via the radio. Now there may be various radio stations airing different genres, such as contemporary or pop, but the songs they play are still generic and not personalized or specific for you based on your interest. If there were a way for you to provide that feedback to radio stations — and if there were such technology available — you and every other listener could benefit from listening to the songs that you love, which would completely enhance your experience and make you tune to that service more and more.

Let’s take this analogy to marketing communications. A recent study focused on email marketing found that 55% of consumers are most frustrated when brands recommend products that don’t match their interests or contain expired offers. Very much like the radio stations in the preceding example, brands need to engage with customers with highly personalized messaging that matches customers’ interests and is relevant to each customer at a certain point in time.

This article goes into details about what brands can do to ensure that their customers get an overall amazing experience during their interaction and remember them for a long time, which will lead to higher conversion rates and revenue.

Know your customers

Brands collect information about their customers’ behaviors and interests from various interaction points, like web (page view, sign up, cart adds, purchases), stores (point of sale purchases and returns), and call centers, as well as other past engagements with communications like email, push, SMS. They need to collect all these data points to build a 360-degree view of their customers that can also inform what their interests are. Only then brands be certain that they’re using the right data to personalize the communications with the content that the customers would want to see and act on.

How to communicate with them

Brands should take their customers through a lifecycle journey and send appropriate communications to them based on where they are in their journey with the brand, whether that’s onboarding, acquisition, maturity, win-back, or somewhere in between. No two customers are the same, and they’re at different points of their journey with the brand as well — so brands shouldn’t be sending cookie-cutter messages to all their customers.

If brands can unify their customers’ data from various sources and draw valuable insights from it with machine learning and scoring rules, they would know what their customers are truly interested in. They can then use it to send a highly personalized contextual message with content that’s tailored to that individual. If brands can do this for every single customer at each different point of interaction, they can truly achieve personalization at scale. In turn, this would lead to a higher conversion rate, an increase in average value per purchase, a lower churn rate, and a higher overall revenue per visitor.

When to communicate with them

It’s not only critical to send relevant and personalized content to each customer — brands must also understand when to send those messages to customers and through which channel. Customers use multiple devices throughout the day (phone, laptop, smart watch, and so on), and the question is how can a brand know when the customer is more likely to open the message? Will it be at a particular time of day or on a specific day of the week?

Again, no two customers are the same. They have different daily routines where some might prefer to open their emails early in the morning on Monday, while others would prefer to check their messages later during the day. With so many brands competing with each other and sending multiple messages, how can a brand ensure that its communications stay at the top just before the customer is most likely to check it?

That’s where the concept of send time optimization is imperative. Brands first need to collect this information on how their customers have engaged with past communications sent via different channels (email, SMS, push, in-app, and so on). Then, they need to look at their historical data of opens and clicks and derive at what time during the day or the week they get the maximum interactions per individual. With this insight, they can use their marketing application to send batch communication to each of their end customers at a specific time of the day or the week, on the correct channel, to achieve the maximum of opens and clicks.

Equally important is to get the real-time communications right for scenarios where the customer just submitted an event and is expecting an in-the-moment message in a matter of seconds. These are scenarios like password reset or signup for a welcome email with a discount code from a store. Delays by even a few minutes in these cases can frustrate the end users and make them look at competing brands or options. What’s required here is a marketing application that can ingest these events in real time and trigger customer journeys in a matter of a few seconds.

What this means for brands

It’s a fast-changing digital world, and customers interact with brands via multiple channels and devices at different times of the day. They expect that the brands they interact with implicitly know what they’re looking for and that they’ll get the relevant messages and offers via the right channels based on when they need it.

The complexity this creates for brands means they need a modern customer data platform in place. A platform that can take in real-time and batch data about the customer from multiple sources, unify all that information, and build a single view of the customer. Adobe Experience Platform is a solution that can seamlessly integrate into a marketing infrastructure to provide exactly the data collection, segmentation, journey management, and AI-driven activation that marketers need. That way, brands can activate various journeys to send out in real time or as batch communications with personalized content. This is the only way to retain and acquire more customers and have an edge over the competition.

If you’re ready to start your journey with Adobe Experience Platform, contact Adobe Professional Services. Or if you’d like to keep learning more about how Adobe Professional Services helps businesses like yours succeed,  check out more of their blog articles.

Garvit Shrivastava is a senior principal technical architect in the Adobe Experience Cloud space with over a decade of experience in leading several large-scale marketing automation projects from inception to architecting and delivery using Experience Cloud.