Leveraging Data to Improve the Customer Experience

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Though I still like to shop in person for certain things like golf clubs, Amazon is one of the places I enjoy online shopping. Why? I know I’m guaranteed a great customer experience. Content is tailored to me based on my prior searches, page views, wish list additions, written reviews and, ultimately, purchases. I’m also reminded of why I should purchase a product from Amazon versus other sources, as products are displayed with the discounted prices offered by Amazon, along with the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price or “list price”). It’s easy to filter and review customer reviews, and the extra shopping cart options (i.e., “save for later”) allow me to add the item back to my cart at a later time if I’m waffling on a purchase.

Amazon customers are made to feel comfortable and in control at every stage of the shopping experience. Amazon never loses site of providing an excellent customer experience and does so by leveraging their customer data.

Keeping your customers comfortable and in control

Do your customers feel comfortable and in control during every interaction with your business? Are you still communicating via print hoping your customers will have patience for lengthy response times?

Given today’s high expectations around personalization, convenience and speed, it’s imperative to keep up with the digital world. Those businesses that don’t will struggle to retain customers, conduct business efficiently and remain competitive.

While the thought of keeping up with the digital world may conjure up a flood of concerns—like affordability, for example—your concerns can easily be eliminated with a stronger understanding of what print to digital migration opportunities exist.

Migrating from print to digital

Migrating from print to digital involves more than the Internet and delivering information in a new form. Being digital means transforming your business and delivering better services more efficiently with effective processes— all while adding value and benefits well in excess of the cost of doing so.

Consider this common scenario. A company is using a combination of both paper and electronic forms of communication. The finance department would like to update the company invoice to reflect new payment terms, and gains approval via e-mail. They update the form and send it to all company employees via e-mail. Unfortunately, all employees don’t read or comply with the e-mail resulting in a combination of new and outdated invoice forms being used. This ultimately leads to cash flow challenges and a host of other problems for the company. With a lack of systems, processes and tools that support today’s ever-changing environment, simple form changes often turn into expensive problems.

The solution for this company is a document process with software technologies to help it move from paper to digital and the information technologies to help it maintain access to the latest information. When this solution is adopted, efficiencies and reduced costs are gained internally and are eventually transferred to customers.

Getting organized

Migrating from print to digital is an opportune time to get your company organized. Here’s how to get started:

  • Review and analyze paper processes.
  • Review and analyze manual processes.
  • Review the systems being used. (Are these systems talking to each other and working together?)
  • Review and analyze what customer data you’re collecting. (Do you still need all of this data? What other data would help your business grow and make your customers feel comfortable and in control?)
  • Review and update forms as necessary.

While many business owners realize that a complete digital system for collaboration and communication is at the core of every great company, many forego the process when considering the steps involved in a migration from paper to digital. Migrating from paper to digital is not simply a matter of replicating old processes using new technologies. The new technologies offer new ways to meet customer needs. Migrating to digital also means a greater level of collaboration function-to-function, which is the basis for efficiencies.

In many cases, the information that can improve the customer experience is locked in a non-actionable environment and information needs to be extracted from multiple systems and repurposed to deliver it to customers in their preferred method. Often, the process is too slow to keep up with today’s customer expectations.

As a business owner, you’ll always be faced with the responsibility of managing significant amounts of information in an ever-changing marketplace. Doing so in a manner that improves the efficiency of your business, reduces costs and controls risk is the solution to driving extraordinary financial and competitive results.

About Mike Mulcahy 1 Article
Mike Mulcahy is vice president of new business development for OBRIEN, a provider of electronic business solutions that helps companies gain efficiencies and reduce costs. He has helped many industry leaders increase their return on investment through improved customer satisfaction, employee productivity, cash flow management and reduced risk.

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