Marketers today face a growing challenge in attracting and retaining customers who demand better brand experiences than ever before. In fact, 82% of consumers across the world have stopped doing business with a company following a bad customer experience.

Difficult economic circumstances add to the challenge, making it harder to persuade consumers to part with their cash. Here in the UK, the post-Brexit crunch is predicted to be felt much more keenly in 2017, with EY highlighting that increasing import costs and rising inflation will put a squeeze on consumer spending.

In this highly competitive landscape where experience is a key brand differentiator, customer loyalty is increasingly challenging to achieve. But for marketers who double-down on delivering experiences that will foster loyalty, the returns are there: Forrester recently reported that improving customer experience improves revenue potential for brands across industries.

Nurturing Loyalty Is Much More Complicated than Even a Couple of Years Ago

Consumers increasingly engage on a variety of devices and platforms. For example, recent Signal research found that a majority of UK consumers regularly use two or more devices for planning and booking travel. However, the tools marketers use manage different channels and platforms don’t all work together, leaving them with fragmented, disconnected customer views – and the consumer with fragmented, disconnected experiences.

Brands that organise their strategy around identity stand to win this year. Centralising and connecting customer identity creates a ‘central nervous system’ for all customer dialogue. By integrating streaming behavioural data and simultaneously syncing these insights with offline historical data, marketers can respond and engage with contextual relevance at the speed of the customer.

Identity means much more than just recognising the customer across all touchpoints. It means connecting all knowledge about the customer to understand her wants, needs and where she is in her buyer journey.

Identity can help drive loyalty by uncovering opportunities to improve the relationship by solving her problems, anticipating needs or purely delighting. With an approach that combines identity with the necessary consumer permissions, marketers can ensure that they are reaching customers when and where they want within the purchase journey in a responsible, privacy-safe way.

Benefits marketers can gain from resolving identity include:

  • Fuel for consumer engagements across all human, physical, and digital touchpoints. Identity is the connecting point between all consumer interactions, meaning it helps brands understand the actions customers have taken online and off, in the past and in the present. As such, it’s an intelligent foundation for all consumer engagements—across the web, on mobile apps, in stores, on email, through digital ads, into call centres and beyond.
  • Insight into new opportunities to create value in customer interactions. Engagement strategies must improve the customer experience without being overwhelming. Identity gives marketers crucial insights into how, where and when to best engage with their customers, making each interaction friction-free and gratifying.
  • Respond at the pace of the consumer. Customers aren’t on a campaign schedule. They are constantly in motion, changing devices and conducting new transactions. An identity solution that continuously updates will help brands recognise each customer with certainty, and respond with relevance.

Retaining the loyalty of customers requires a new mindset that thinks customer first. No longer is marketing just about getting a sale; it’s about creating engaging, frictionless experiences that don’t just meet customer needs but anticipate them, and keep them coming back.

And in an omnichannel, always-on world, that means experiences must be relevant and consistent no matter the channel or device. Identity is the key to delivering these experiences.

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