Meet Maya. A frequent customer of a fashion brand. Maya is leaving shortly on vacation with friends and is looking to pick up some trendy summer wear. She browses around the brand store picking up a few pieces she liked and tries them on with her 3D profile. Unable to decide which one looks best, she runs a review with friends and makes her choice. She then triggers a live chat with her personal buddy shopper at the store and asks for some customizations. He runs the specifications and creates a trial view with Maya's profile for her approval and then places the order. He also uses Maya's Digital Mood Ring and recommends accessories to go with her set. He tells her about how she could create signature personalized gifts for her friends on vacation, with photographs uploaded from their previous holiday.
What made Maya's experience special? Did Maya know she just had an "engaging customer experience"? Of course not! Maya simply feels she had a fun shopping interaction. An experience that makes the Fashion Brand Maya's favorite.
Customers engage with a brand because of the way it makes them feel. The ability to create and deliver interactive, immersive, social, compelling, value experiences is what keeps customers coming back. But just how do such experiences get created? Simple. It’s like making a friend. To be more specific, a friend who knows you precisely for who you are, what you do, what you like and definitely someone whom you trust implicitly.
As Maya shops, the fashion brand could engage with Maya equipped with a better understanding of her not as part of a broad customer segment but, as an individual. They gather and analyse volumes of data that go beyond just demographics and threads together her transactions, interactions, social behaviours, preferences and her context to weave Maya's story.
Sounds fairly easy! But data has become so complex , so voluminous and gets generated with such high velocity, that it simply cannot be comprehended by humans. It needs a smart piece of technology which makes sense of all this data - Analytics. As machine learning and intuitive response is growing rapidly among most devices we use in our day-to-day lives, Analytics is taking centre stage and generating insights from the data that are indispensable for brands such as these to build relationship with their customers living moments of their life together with them as a friend.
As in the case of Maya, she is herself the user of data from the brand as well as the creator of volumes of complex data as she mixes and matches, uses several interfaces and interacts with multiple diverse audiences. Each bit of data interpreted through analytics tells the brand more about Maya and helps Maya make decisions in an agile and dynamic manner about what she wants to buy, how, where and when. Big Data & Analytics is thus now helping brands make friends faster and grow that friendship exponentially over time.
And while analytics brings the insights, as a brand you have to create systems of engagement around this knowledge you have of your customer, in a consistent, pervasive manner helps deliver that individualised experience. Doing so not just once or twice to make a sale, but doing so step by step at every stage across the life cycle of your customer, is how the friendship forges into an intense bond. The loyalty brands crave for.
So how do we know our customers and how do we build data? Many would say listen, listen, listen. But listening is what it used to be. To know customers today, you have to go beyond just listening and interpreting. You need to proactively create multiple engagement handles that help customers have conversations with you and tell you more about themselves and the choices they make. Everyday customers are telling us something about themselves. Some through the interactions with the brand such as - a call at the call center, a visit to the store, purchase history, an email received, a mobile app check in done or even just a browse through on the website. Every aspect of these forms of engagements creates more data. Analytics interprets this data forming patterns and yielding actionable insights real time to enable brands to provide their customers with tailor made products and services.
Digital forces are fast resetting a customer’s expectation and requiring us to rethink what end to end customer experiences need to be. Increasingly, customers expect instant access to products and services, seamless experiences that merge digital with physical, to be engaged as an individual on their own terms anytime, anywhere. Most importantly they demand transparent, trusted, mutually beneficial relationships that go beyond one time interactions. Customer delight is born when in every instance your brand works smarter at the intersection of human experiences, analytics, technologies and business strategies.
Data and analytics help you redefine your enterprise agenda around the customer, reshaping your culture, reprioritising your investments and doing that with agility and urgency deliver sustainable competitive advantage.
So, go on. Have that conversation, make a friend, build an experience, drive outcomes. Quite simple, isn't it!