Until now, a consistent customer experience has failed for various reasons: On the one hand, the technology involved and processes along the customer journey are too heterogeneous to enable a consistent experience. On top of that, standard norms and guidelines for integrated end-to-end process chains are missing and - the customer himself, with his habits and preferences, often provides more reasons for a lack of consistency.
Customers like to act according to familiar patterns and interact with the company via various channels and touchpoints. These include telephone, e-mail, point-of-sale, web shop, online marketplace, newsletter, chat bots, Alexa or social media platforms. In this way, information is created at many different points in the company. The data is often managed in isolated silos and is difficult to put on a uniform basis. Furthermore, processes are often not organized across departments.
The following example shows how existing structures can hinder a consistent customer experience:
A retail company uses a newsletter to address its customers. The advertising department is responsible for sending the newsletter and for its content. Customers use their loyalty card when making purchases at the local stores, yet, the information about their purchasing behavior is not included in the newsletter and its personalization. The first problem is that the involved technology does not allow for data to be exchanged and enriched across systems via reliable interfaces. Another reason is the organisational structure itself: the loyalty department is responsible for the customer card. However, this department is not involved in the creation of the newsletter campaigns and has no access to the corresponding systems and data. Conversely, the findings from e-mail marketing do not find their way into the loyalty programme and cannot be used to optimize the customer loyalty program. As a result, valuable customer information remains untapped and the customer continues to receive general, non-personalised content in his newsletter.
Merging and mutual exchange of data
The challenge is to overcome these hurdles, to consistently merge and mutually exchange data. This requires the ability to handle large amounts of data and to derive precise added value for the customer. A consistent strategy and clear guidelines for process organization and data management are required. Not only the knowledge about the customers is crucial, but also about the company's own processes and systems.
Also, compliance regulations such as the European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must be reliably observed. Clear data governance is therefore required. It must always be clear which information about the customer may actually be used and how this data is to be handled in a legally secure manner in individual cases.
In addition, a clean and consistent data basis is indispensable in order to draw important conclusions about customer-specific behaviour. This is the only way to increase transparency and achieve a 360-degree view of customer habits and preferences. In many companies, however, data silos, outdated systems and distributed responsibilities stand in the way of a holistic data strategy and thus a consistent customer experience.