The recent news of Adobe’s intention to acquire eCommerce platform Magento at a price of $1.68B shows just how important it is for brands to be able to deliver an end-to-end customer experience. It really highlights just how much of a problem departmental and technology silos remain for businesses of all sizes, and highlights a change in thinking of leading enterprise software vendors who are now trying to help brands address this issue by providing applications that cover the complete customer life cycle, which today means from marketing to ecommerce.
So why is there so much focus on the end-to-end customer experience? Essentially, what it boils down to, is customers don’t think in channels, but businesses do. Customers are simply trying to achieve what they set out to do and satisfy their particular need as effortlessly as possible. They will follow their own path to do that, traversing touchpoints, channels and departments at will.
“Customers don’t think in channels but businesses do.”
The Problem for Brands
The glitch for many businesses is that they’re not built in a way that they can view or understand the customer through the lens of their omnichannel customer journey, let alone have seamless and connected conversations with their customers. They often work in siloed departments responsible for one part of the customer journey. It might be the website, separate from in-store, or call-centre, or the mobile app and e-commerce. And it might be they have resources who just focus on micro aspects, like the online check-out. They struggle to have consistent, orchestrated conversations throughout the customer’s journey, across all channels, considering individual customer context and intent. They struggle to have conversations that are joined up and actually feel more human and relevant. This frustrates customers and exposes brands to sagging customer satisfaction, increasing churn rates, decreasing cross-sell and a loss of loyalty and future revenue.
It’s really a gap between what customers expect and are trying to achieve vs what brands often deliver. We call it the Engagement Gap.
The 5 Symptoms of an Engagement Gap
- Inconsistent experiences – fragmented interactions, a detached and siloed response to customers
- Channel-specific interactions, which ignore the fact customers naturally traverse channels of their choice, not yours.
- Disconnected conversations, so customers get frustrated and feel like the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing.
- Irrelevant messages, mistimed, expired, and silly offers that aren’t appropriate to an individual.
- Difficult encounters where customers feel they have to work hard to navigate a corporate structure to achieve their goals.
So, if you’re recognising you’ve got signs of an Engagement Gap, what can you do about it?
Here’s a checklist of what you need when you’re looking for ways to solve this problem.
Plug The Engagement Gap – Your Checklist
- Ensure you have a true view of your customer. Concentrate on capturing and combining all signals, across all channels and touchpoints.
- Aim to understand the in-the-moment context for every customer, with orchestrate your responses based on their intent.
- Have a go at using intelligent technology – algorithms, ML and other AI techniques – to understand how customer intent changes over time.
- Make sure you always strive to understand each and every customer’s intent.
- Ensure you take relevant action immediately within the context of the complete 360 understanding of the customer, not just in the moment.
- Look ahead and plan to make sure you can efficiently scale across all channels, touchpoints and customers as your business grows.
- Take small steps and gradually empower your business by choosing your starting point and growing from there with self-service design for business users.
- When you choose tools to help you look for a single solution which is easily controlled by you and other users in your team, so you’re not depending on other departments in the organisation to be able to start seeing the value as quickly as possible.
- When you are evaluating vendors to help you make sure that you ask about speed to value – how long and how much effort new technology will take to implement and integrate with your existing infrastructure before you start to see the benefits? You can start to close a customer engagement gap in just a few weeks, and quickly start to build rapidly, compounding value.
Going back for a moment to the Adobe acquisition, the real question is whether this can help the end-to-end experience or simply adds another silo into the mix. Unless brands can connect the experiences customers have across every customer journey the engagement gap will get wider and brands will suffer.
If you’d like some help with addressing a customer engagement gap in your business, download our ‘Stop Thinking Channels, Start Thinking Journeys’ eBook now.