The quest for enabling customer experience (CX) continues to rule the MarTech roost in 2021. Gartner reports that 86% of insiders at present intend to embed superior CX into their value propositions. However, with customer data residing in 17 unique technology environments on average for business, successful CX delivery hinges on integrating them into a unified view of customer behaviors and preferences. In the post-pandemic era, where an overwhelming 85% of spending is likely to be determined by experience quality, the Customer Data Platform (CDP) technology brings respite for the marketers by making it feasible to deliver a seamless omnichannel CX.
A Single Source of Truth
A great experience that can convert over 90% of the first-timers into brand loyalists is the sum of a broad spectrum of data points, including primary customer attributes, behavioral and attitudinal records, transaction history, and much more. CDP technology simplifies the task for the customer services teams by harnessing the required data from different sources, accelerating the journey towards exceptional service personalization. Investment in CDP assets can pull in a host of enabling capabilities for companies, allowing them to ingest customer data at the scale and speed of business, combine and orchestrate omnichannel feeds, and deliver real-time outcomes for stakeholders beyond marketing, in sales and UI and of course ensure compliance. Applying machine intelligence and Advanced Analytics on top of such a deep and comprehensive customer data processing ecosystem can bring forth the information advantage and functional ease, positioning organizations to be highly competitive in closely contested landscapes.
Enabling The CDP Outcomes
While CDP is an indispensable component of the modern marketer’s toolkit, organizations looking to transform can either opt for Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products or build their CDP stack. Although being substantially costly due to the hefty licensing overheads involved, the pre-packaged solutions can enable a rapid time to market due to their plug-and-play features. However, building a CDP from scratch can bypass the avoidable expenses and allow the flexibility to bring customized flavors that suit the marketing taste of a particular business, realizing value within merely 3-6 months. Notwithstanding the path a company is intending to walk, a CDP worth the investments in enriched CX should be able to deliver:
Simplicity: In the US, the estimated cost of customers switching due to poor service quality is $1.6 trillion annually. Also, Salesforce reports that 83% of the service agents acknowledge the desperate need for assistance to do their job well. When shifting customer expectations and business demands are already testing the limits of the service teams, next-gen data solutions must improve their access and maneuverability. For example, a CDP should neatly organize the available data for immediate use. Also, its setup and maintenance should discount the technical complexities otherwise involved in traditional data warehouses, and its outputs should be fit for consumption, even by a non-technical audience.
Single Customer View: 84% of businesses are more likely to purchase from vendors who understand their goals better. Also, 66% of the customers across B2B and B2C segments want their brands to be emphatic about their unique needs and expectations. This heightened state of awareness is only possible through a 360-degree view of the customer that a CDP should build on the data harnessed and assimilated into individual data profiles of each user. Further, it should read customer and related master data from semi-processed data sets, enrich data from multiple sources and merge various customer profiles and hierarchies to provide golden records. Finally, the validated CDP outputs should answer fundamental questions around how the end-users consume products and services and how successful they are in meeting their purchase objectives.
Customer Data Unification: Diversity is the cornerstone of a successful omnichannel CX delivery strategy, and today, more than half the businesses use at least eight channels to interact with their customers. A CDP should be capable of spearheading an effective information fusion strategy, pulling data from all channels, using event-based triggers into a single, interactive repository. The information pool should provide a reliable base for powering a broad spectrum of marketing use cases, from customer segmentation, acquisition, conversion to retention.
Data Sharing: The data contained within the CDP environment should be accessible to the other MarTech applications operating downstream. For instance, the demographics data correlated with the cost sensitivity insights of the prospective customers in CDP should guide the Campaign Management System on how to best appeal to the target audience.
Limitless Analytics: On top of all the digital engineering complexities under its hood, a CDP should be layered by enabling analytics. In fact, 90% of the global executives are dependent on data analytics to drive great CX, and 65% consider it vital to mission success. The visibility layer of CDP should enable enterprise decision-makers to discover a nonlinear correlation between divergent trends and patterns, allowing brands to connect meaningfully with customer requirements.
CDP In Action
But how can CDP bring the desired strategic and tactical depth for businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve by leveraging personalized CX? Perhaps this can be best understood in the context of the highly competitive Hospitality & Travel Industry manifesting solid signs of recovery as the COVID wave ebbs down. Here, customers interact with businesses across multiple touchpoints, including reservations and ticketing, check-ins, baggage information, airport information, passenger refunds, notifications, payment information, website traffic, and social media analysis, generating massive volumes of data in real-time or near real-time.
In the pre-travel phase, if a customer tweets or posts inquiring about beach destinations in an open social media forum, CDP can quickly align it with their previous bookings and purchase history and the trending beach destinations data to target the customer with preferred beach destination-related campaigns or offers, improving the conversion probabilities. Similarly, an airline can enrich the in-flight experience by tapping into the past ancillary bookings data and discovering attributes like the customer’s preferred cuisine, seating orientation, travel companions, and budget. Then, suitable offers can be pushed upfront to ensure that the traveler makes purchases that are most likely to make the trip enjoyable.
Also, CDP running on actual event-based scenarios can play a pivotal role in pre-empting negative experiences or compensating them early to prevent adverse brand impacts. For instance, in case of flight delays, customers can be offered relevant gift vouchers based on their social media activities as compensation, or their cab and hotel bookings can be auto-adjusted accordingly to deliver a one-order experience. Cost-conscious travelers considering themselves overcharged can be given a proactive price alert on their next booking, and apology emails can be issued to prevent a dip in the CSAT score.
The potential of CDP is not just limited to delivering a single customer view but helping organizations with the insights to put it into effect, elevating brand image. It helps companies target the right customer segments, user journeys, conversations, and response timing to improve customer lifetime value (CLV) and prevent churns. However, in an omnichannel environment, with an experienced digital engineering and analytics partner, businesses can effectively shape their CDP assets into a tool for revenue growth, even amidst wide-scale market disruptions.
Sources: Emplifi.io, v12data.com, sharpencx.com, Salesforce, Zoominfo, Forbes, hospitalitynet.org, Gartner.