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The Art & Science of Improving the Customer Journey in 2023

Improving the customer journey requires constant attention as companies adjust their strategies to rapidly shifting consumer trends, buying habits, and economic conditions. Many retailers need to adjust their strategies more quickly…

Up to 60 percent of potential sales are lost when customers express intent to purchase but ultimately fail to act. According to a study of more than 2.5 million recorded sales conversations.

Harvard Business Review

Especially in today’s digital-centric shopping environment, companies must master the art and science of improving the customer journey or risk losing sales, alienating customers, and diminishing brand salience. 

For businesses looking to adapt to the latest trends, here are five best practices to advance a brand’s customer journey orchestration in 2023. 

1. Cultivate Customer Journey Optimization (CJO)

Brands must rethink their current customer journey and orchestration methods to differentiate themselves in 2023 and beyond. Preconceived notions need to be thrown out and replaced by a responsive, analytics-driven next-best-action protocol model. 

In the new CJO model, the analytics and orchestration layer facing customers and prospects must leverage advanced real-time analytics and progressive profiles to point the customer to the next processes that drive loyalty, increase sales, and promote sustainability. 

Brands can leverage AI to create a live, dynamic experience that senses and responds to customer engagement to craft and disseminate new, real-time interactions. 

2. Rely on Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM)

Brands can turn to RTIM to deliver the highest response and conversion rates.

Many of today’s digital-first shoppers, including Gen Z, younger millennials, and even tech-savvy boomers, expect to gain high-level value when they invest in a channel interaction. However…

44 percent of Gen Z shoppers and 43 percent of millennials expended more effort than expected to complete an interaction.

Verint

In the year ahead, time is the new currency. Relying on an RTIM strategy driven by advanced analytics and AI-enhanced protocols is the best way to ensure that the value exchange is completed in a way that fosters an emotional connection to a brand and identifies potential pain points to optimize the buying journey and caters to buyers’ expectations. 

3. Embrace Hyper-Personalization 

With time being the new currency, the key to creating brand loyalists in the new digital model is to hyper-personalize every interaction. Specifically, past content provided to the customer or prospect must be built upon at the next exchange. 

In other words, each subsequent action should have more value from the customer’s perspective.

At Verticurl, we are pioneering AI-driven content created in real-time based on the nature of the customer interaction, understanding that hyper-personalization is critical to connecting with customers. 

Meanwhile, many brands continue relying on static Content Management Systems (CMS), pushing forth content, which in today’s fast-paced, digital-first world, may already be outdated and irrelevant to an audience that expects a high-value return on their time investment. 

Simply put, to be successful in the year ahead, brands will deliver continuously richer, more highly targeted content.

4. Harness Segmentation that Continuously Converts 

The brands that win in the digital age seek to convert anonymous touches generated by advertising into known prospects and customers. This is a top priority that companies should achieve as quickly as possible and in every customer interaction.

This is accomplished digitally by engaging in the value exchange model with customers and prospects. 

This model seeks to provide clear value to anonymous customers and prospects to self-identify by rewarding, compensating, or motivating them with tangible and emotional values. 

5. Compile a Customer 360-Degree “Golden Record” 

The foundational data infrastructure that enables the above best practices resides in creating the customer 360-degree Golden Record. 

This progressive profiling effort that focuses on the value exchange must gather the information to complete the 80/20 guiding principle, which relies on progressive profiling to provide a single customer view across all touchpoints. 

Specifically, focus on incentivizing customers to provide the 20 percent of the data that provides 80 percent of the value. This might include time, product recommendations, or financial incentives such as couponing and discounts. 

A Case Study in Closing 

Notably, the higher the degree of integration across these five capabilities, the higher the value of each subsequent customer interaction.

For example, consider a significant global pet food brand that intends to focus on the pet instead of the pet parent. The brand uses the above capabilities to continuously build the progressive profile of the pet, gathering relevant data to inform the customer journey. 

For this client, Verticurl uses real-time, continuous content management presentations to customers and prospects that have significantly increased conversation rates across multiple KPIs

By marketing custom pet food formulas using intimate knowledge of the pet, they create an emotional bond with the pet owner that drives brand loyalty to levels that cannot be broached by brands not engaging in hyper-personalized customer/pet intimacy.

This process meets buyers where they are, engaging them with highly personalized, relevant content that continuously improves the customer journey, ultimately converting prospects to delivering results that last. 

Dennis DeGregor

Dennis DeGregor serves as Vice President, Global Experience Data Practice, at Verticurl, a WPP company and part of the Ogilvy Group. Dennis has an extensive client-side track record with Fortune 500 brands in enterprise CX transformation, data strategy, analytics, and leveraging technology for competitive business advantage. Dennis is known for building high-performance teams that accelerate clients’ end-to-end Experience Transformation initiatives via innovation in data strategy. He has written two books on the subject of enterprise data, strategic AI, and leveraging the global Internet for competitive advantage through data-driven CX transformation: HAILOs: Competing on AI in the Post-Google Era and The Customer-Transparent Enterprise.

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