What technology do I need to deliver the best customer experience?
In the face of growing pressure to create good customer experiences, software providers have responded in their droves – evolving their off-the-shelf, single-function packages into incredibly sophisticated platforms that claim to do it all.
Here, we walk you through the new breed of customer experience-focused software packages – what they do, and the key features to look for.
Martech stack – the essentials
A customer marketing platform is just one element of your MarTech stack. Your ‘stack’ is simply the sum of the tech that you currently use to attract, engage and analyse your customers. Here is a quick run-down of the tools that should be in every company’s stack – and the good news is, they’re all affordable.
1. SMS/email tools
Often overlooked but still so effective, email and text can be used singly or combined for extra power. The beauty of these tools is that people will have opted-in to use them, and so they should be interested in your message. These can be created, deployed and analysed as part of a customer marketing platform or managed in one (or more) separate applications.
This covers everything from the sending of emails without human intervention to software that automates most of your business and customer-facing processes. During the pandemic, companies used automation to keep customers informed, even when their helpdesks weren’t available at the end of the phone. Automation stops customers having to wait around.
3. Social media
Posts on social platforms and websites telling people about a product or service can be used to drive direct sales or simply encourage people to continue their customer journey with you. Social covers review sites as well as social networks, making it a powerful channel in terms of convincing people to move further along the path to purchase.
Your website is the natural hub for your customer experience journey, so having fast loading pages, smooth on-site navigation, readable, SEO friendly content and a simple, integrated payment gateway (if relevant) are critical to your success. Questions to ask your strategy partner include checking who owns the rights to the platform (if built on a proprietary framework), its integration with other systems and its readiness to accommodate ecommerce functionality – even if you aren’t ready for it quite yet.
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software system is a generic term for a piece of software that holds all your prospect and customer data. In some businesses, the customer marketing platform is the CRM, whereas in others, the CRM is typically owned by the sales department and the marketing platform links to it.
6. Personalisation tools
Anything that helps a business create personal ‘one-to-one’ experiences for buyers and customers counts as a personalisation tool. This could be the ability to show specific landing pages on your website, to sending out emails to groups of people that have expressed specific purchase preferences. Logging into an app and seeing your ‘recommendations’ is personalisation, as is simply adding someone’s name into the subject line of an email.
Data analytics will help you to understand your customers and tailor your marketing efforts (and budget) accordingly. You can see data about your website use, your email send/open rates, your customers’ sales value and so much more. The key is knowing what data you need to support the next steps in your business’s development.
Think customer first, channel second
Ultimately, when considering which tech you need for your CX project, it’s important to focus on the end goal. Your CX partner will help you define the outcomes and strategy, and then see if what you have already works or what new tech you need to explore.