Many brands are struggling to meet customer expectations because technology is changing at such a rapid rate. This is changing how consumers are capable of engaging with a brand and their perception of a brand's ability to engage with them. Many of the problems and barriers that prevent a brand from meeting those expectations start with data silos and bottlenecks across the different systems that a brand uses for customer engagement.

When we’re talking about the customer engagement ecosystem, we’re referring to marketing campaigns that a brand may be delivering to a customer. That may be customer experiences across different channels like web, apps, in-store; it could be related to commerce experiences, online or with mobile devices; or it could also be related to service, or clienteling. Data moves at a certain rate from all these systems into the 360 degree view of the customer. However, even though brands have a good repository of information about customers they engage with, there’s still a massive gap between insight and action. Latency gaps between a brand recognizing they have a particular customer engagement issue to organizing the organization and their technology around addressing that issue to then providing execution around that issue, all require a tremendous amount of time.

That latency results in bad customer experiences, missed opportunities and lost revenue. What is the alternative? A dynamic, single view of the customer. In this blog post, we’re going to walk through some steps to help you modernize the environment in which you’re operating in order to make engagements with your customers become data-centric.

Align your organization around a digital transformation

You need to start by aligning your organization around a digital transformation. Many brands attempt their digital transformation by layering in technology across their organization. This is a mistake. In order to execute a successful digital transformation, you have to take a step back and look at how technology may be changing the way you engage with customers and rethink how your teams and your organizations must be structured to respond to that. The architecture for martech or for solutions within the context of organizations reflect the structure of that organization. Thus, the barriers that the organization introduce are very much human barriers, not just technology barriers.

Establish the golden record of customer engagement across your organization

You need to come to an agreement across your team and your organization to establish the golden record of customer engagement. This requires defining the type of data that needs to become available in real time to power the different channels that you have around customer engagement. Many times, it’s not enough just to store all the things that you know about a customer in one place. You need to have an agreement around all of that data in order to power positive customer experiences across all channels--whether that be customer care, in-retail, on your website, etc.

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Motivate your customers to lean in and identify themselves

In order to achieve the personalization necessary to truly drive great engagement, you have to invent ways to motivate your customers to lean in, identify themselves and opt-in to experiences. Those experiences might come in a variety of ways. For example: downloading the mobile app and opting-in to certain types of personalized communication, or getting involved in some sort of incentive or loyalty program. These types of experiences are effective at creating a recurring reason for you to communicate with and engage with your customers.

Leverage tech to reduce latency in sharing the golden record across the organization

Once you’ve achieved ways to motivate your customers to lean in and identify themselves, leverage technology to reduce the amount of time it takes to share that golden record across your organization. Every new marketing system that you introduce in your marketing tech stack is going to increase the latency to recognize who the customer is and to deliver value to that customer. You should be evaluating technology that decreases the amount of time it takes to share that information. For example: if someone called customer care from his car in the parking lot of the storefront about an issue he had with a product and then walked into the store with the same problem, the agent at the store should be aware through some technology that he had just called customer care.

For most brands, that particular use case is not achievable. In many situations, every new channel is like starting at square one, which creates a continually frustrating experience for customers. Alternatively, with the right technology you can move to a world where the customer care person on the phone can actually introduce you to the in-store agent who’s going to be made available within 10 minutes at the storefront. That agent will already be aware of your problem and ready to help you. Reducing that latency by selecting the right technology will allow you to share the information necessary to fuel better customer engagement.

Once you’ve done these things, you’ll have a dynamic, single view of the customer...now what should you do? Well, now you’re capable of viewing customer behavior in context, so you’re able to view not only the state of the customer--that they had a particular issue or bought a particular product--but also where they bought that product; when they bought that product; if they returned that product; if they called customer service; what was the conversation; what was the outcome of that call. Not just viewing who the customer is, which is important, but also viewing that information in the context of everything else, applying rules of engagement and delivering the next best experience (reward, offer, content, etc.) allows you to create better, more profitable customer relationships.

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