Omnichannel customer experience has been the buzz word for a few years now. It is now time retailers start going beyond that to something we can term as Unified Customer Experience, which combines elements of AI, data engineering and design to deliver the right customer experience, irrespective of the point of interaction. This is crucial for driving meaningful customer engagement, profitably. The value of doing so is reiterated through different industry research, for consumers as well as business buyers. Some retailers are already mature in operationalizing this, but most others are at different stages in the journey.
Source: Salesforce (The State of Connected Customer report, 2018)
The foundation of Unified Customer Experience lies in getting the data elements right. Customer 360 is the customer master record that enables organizations to go beyond just the transactional nature of customer engagement to truly start understanding the various relationships that exist between the retailer and customer. It could be to do with the breadth of goods/ services that are purchased by the customer to engage across servicing channels and campaigns, among others, making it the most significant part of improving our understanding of the customer. The key watch-out here is that the Customer 360 needs to be dynamic – living and evolving with business changes.
With the Customer 360 in place, the next step is to build customer intelligence on top of this. It typically is in the form of strategic segments to drive overall customer engagement strategy and micro-segments to drive more targeted customer conversions. The strategic customer segments should be Relevant, Actionable, Stable and Quantifiable, to ensure we can craft appropriate organizational strategies for marketing in alignment with organizational priorities. The micro-segments enable us to incorporate predictive elements in the mix and help us uncover trends at a more granular level. E.g., while working with a retail client, we observed that a segment had an average spend of $500, while a more in-depth look at the micro-segments reveals groups with a spend range of $200 to $5000, besides other differences!
In essence, micro-segments provide us a forward-looking view of customers across the various dimensions like the product, offer, channel, price, cadence, serviceability, etc. and offer a great way for direct customer targeting. The strategic segments and micro-segments together form what we can call the Customer Decisioning Engine, which can then be leveraged to drive various customer engagement activities.
Customer Decisioning Engine
With the key elements of Customer 360 and Customer Decisioning Engine (CDE) in place, the next step is to do in-market testing for different campaigns. These campaigns can be at various granularities, with the target segments being generated dynamically, enabling us to learn from these tests and act as feedback into the various quantitative elements to fine-tune performance over time.