Infuse personalization into every customer interaction

Airline customer gets personalized digital experience

Personalization has become a mandate for businesses across industries and in every communication channel — for both customers and employees. Think about your last great experience interacting with a brand. Whether it was a timely offer to book your next flight or a personalized product recommendation, your expectations have been elevated. Customer demands are continually increasing, and delivering data-driven content tailored to each customer is more important than ever.

According to a 2021 survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value, delivering better customer experiences is among the highest priorities for 60% of CEOs in the next two to three years. Leaders recognize that investing in better customer experiences is essential if they want to remain competitive and grow market share. But personalization comes with challenges like siloed technologies and data overload that can make delivering personalized content complicated.

Gaining and retaining customers

How can your organization acquire and retain customers in a fast-paced, highly competitive marketplace? The simple answer is to give them the best experiences possible by delivering personal and relevant content that creates a highly satisfying interaction with a brand.

Customer experience used to be the sole responsibility of the advertising and marketing teams, but creating personalized experiences now requires alignment from across the business — executive leadership, marketing, supply chain, finance, and operations all need to be on board. Marketing leaders know that investing in personalization is critically important to their business’s bottom line. Therefore, they have an opportunity to play a vital role in championing customer experience and making a compelling case for prioritizing ROI.

In a 2021 report from IBM Institute for Business Value, 400 executives and business leaders were surveyed on digital transformation for customer experience. The results show that “experience leaders” — those who have made customer experience a formal priority — reported three times higher revenue growth over the last two years than businesses that put less emphasis on it. Experience leaders also outperform their peers when it comes to innovation and customer satisfaction. Creating compelling customer experiences matters. But how can a business make personalized content part of its operating model?

Unite the brand around customer experience

According to the IBM report, the number one challenge around digital experience is reconciling the requirements of different business units. To make customer experience a top priority, businesses need to break down the technology and organizational silos that hinder digital transformation and cause disjointed or untimely brand experiences. When the whole business is working together in an agile way to deliver the best possible experience, customers will take notice.

To unify your organization around delivering personalized experiences, you need to consider people, data, platform, and process.

Why does personalization matter for your company? Every organization is looking for ways to track the value exchanged between a brand and its customers, but the specific applications are numerous. Are you trying to increase the average retail order size, get customers to come back for repeat purchases, or improve operational efficiencies? Build your customer experience strategy around whatever business outcomes are most important, and then let that vision unite the business and drive decisions.

Go small to go big

Once you have an outcome-focused customer experience strategy, it’s time to get started with some projects:

Starting small helps you “de-risk” innovation and achieve an early win, paving the way for bigger opportunities down the road. The IBM Garage™ method is a proven approach to innovation that is perfect for customer experience transformation projects. The IBM Garage methodology helps you move from a proof of concept (PoC) to a minimum viable product (MVP) quickly.

Boost customer lifetime value

Organizations that want to improve the lifetime value of customers and grow their market share are investing in personalized customer experiences. As you take your next steps on this journey, it can help to team up with experienced consultants who know the technology, data, AI, workflows, strategy, and customer journeys inside and out. IBM iX® offers customer experience consulting services to help you unlock your data and create strategic, personalized content for every customer interaction.

We’ll be diving deeper into these topics in two sessions at Adobe Summit 2022 and exploring more about delivering personalized experiences with intelligent content and why an enterprise-wide personalization operating model is now a CMO mandate. In both Summit sessions, we’ll talk about how IBM and Adobe are helping organizations transform the customer experience, and we’ll offer plenty of real-world examples.

Register for the first session, “Fueling ROI and Personalized CX with Intelligent Content.”

Register for the second session, “Creating an Operating Model for Personalization at Scale.”

For more on how to optimize your digital experience platform capabilities, download the IBM Institute for Business Value’s 2021 report.

Pierre Charchaflian also contributed to this article.