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2017 was one of the most competitive years in history for retail, and 2018 is shaping up to be no different. While there’s more choice than ever for consumers, 65% are still brand-loyal. Which means if you can nail your customer experience, you can keep customers coming back time and time again.
But don’t leave customer experience to guesswork. Here are 5 ways you can use data to improve your customer experience.
1. Optimise your journey
While individual customers feedback is often positive, research shows that many more customers quietly leave companies rather than express dissatisfaction. Therefore, you can’t rely solely on feedback to assess the experience across the customer journey.
This is where data comes in. Analyse all the data you hold on your customers – from store visits to purchase history to customer service enquiries – to build a clear picture of your customer’s journey and experience. Is a high percentage failing to return to your store after their second visit? Are your in-store customers engaging with your online chat? Spot the gaps, and then work on fixing them.
2. Gather feedback
Feedback certainly isn’t the be all and end all, but it’s still an important way of understanding what’s working. While we’d all love customers to tell us how they feel unprompted, most people need a little push to give feedback.
Where possible, gather consent (necessary under the new GDPR) to contact your customers with communications, and then send out feedback surveys and questionnaires. Make sure, though, that you’re using your customer’s preferred method of communication. It’s no good sending out lengthy web surveys if your customers prefer quick SMS messages. Now that you’ve mapped out the customer journey, and test different methods and times of collating feedback to maximise response rate.
3. Combine data sources
Data works best when it’s used in conjunction with other data. Instead of siloing off your data sources and analysing them separately, combine them to get a thorough overview of the whole customer experience.
These days, you can’t treat online and offline customers differently. 65% of customers will search for information online before they ask an in-store sales assistant, which means your online product information needs to be as detailed as your bricks-and-mortar service, and vice versa. Connect your online and offline data on customer experiences to ensure the holistic journey is as seamless as possible.
4. Audit your data regularly
To get the most out of your data, you need to know what your goal is. That way, you can ask the right questions and gather the information necessary to make improvements. Do you want to acquire more customers? Do you want to generate more repeat sales?
Once you know what you want to achieve, you need to look at your data and make sure it’s telling you the metrics you need to know. If repeat purchasing is your main goal, are you joining up in-store purchases with online ones? If you want to increase customer loyalty, are you capturing NPS data?
And remember, data erosion means approximately 10% of customer records will become out of date every 3 months. So audit your data, see where the gaps are and then fill them. Capture that missing and out-of-date information and, importantly, make sure you’re reporting on it accurately.
5. Benchmark against competitors
While it’s great to compare this year’s CSAT scores (for example) to last year’s, but unless you know what your competitors’ CSAT scores look like, you don’t know how much more you need to improve.
Take a look at available national statistics and dig deeper for insight your competitors have published about customer satisfaction and sales.
These 5 tips are a great place to start your data management process. However, a key area of getting this process right is connecting your systems, if you’re looking for more practical tips on how to do this, why not download our retail whitepaper to learn how retailers can win both online and in-store.