Does real-time data-sharing nurture brand trust?
Life doesn’t update in 24-hour, seven day, or even monthly cycles. Personal circumstances change constantly. According to GDPR, businesses have up to a month to process data change requests, but businesses should by no means use this as a guideline. No customer wants to be offered a better deal on a one-time purchase that they made a week ago, and the emotional damage of offering a product that may be irrelevant due to life-changing circumstances such as bereavement, injury or redundancy is an ethical minefield.
Granted, this is not always the fault of the business. When a customer’s situation changes, particularly in times of distress, often the first thought is not to contact the brands they buy from. This is why businesses need to find new ways to engage their customers. To compete with innovative brands like Amazon who are continuing to dominate, marketers should take advantage of real-time data sharing to add convenience to the journey, and demonstrate that their best intentions are top-of-mind.
Connect data with AI
First of all, businesses need to truly get their own house in order by implementing artificial intelligence at the core of their operations. If a customer has already provided an update, and the business has access to the most recent information, brands have no excuse to make mistakes. Customers are now largely connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week via internet-connected devices, which means that they can inform brands about their needs as soon as they occur. If this information is siloed between customer service, marketing and sales departments, businesses face the risk of disregarding customer context and offering a product that a customer does not need, breaching their trust.
Brands should nurture data-sharing behaviour and reward it with a tailored experience. To avoid sending out a message that your business cares more about pushing a sale than supporting a customer’s welfare, all customer data held by the company must be connected. With AI, businesses get a full view of each customer account which is available to any team member, in any department. That way, the customer only experiences one version of the brand with each engagement, whether they are dealing with a customer service bot, sales teams or receiving personalised marketing content.
Take more initiative
Brands can actually alleviate some of the burdens of everyday life by taking a proactive approach to customer engagement. With AI and robotic process automation combined, no matter how large the customer roster, marketing teams can keep track of customer needs, predict the next-best-action as circumstances develop and alert relevant teams in real time to take action.
For instance, take a situation where a customer has claimed on a motor insurance policy using a smartphone on a public network. In real-time AI can identify the cause of the claim, recommend replacement car parts or a decent garage in the local area and RPA bots will send a message to the customer with recommendations. That way, the brand can take a proactive role in helping their customer through an emotional situation, as it happens.
Design with the customer in mind
Businesses must remember that their ultimate goal is to serve the customer. With that sentiment top of mind, they should look at ways to incorporate customer-centricity into all of their customer-facing processes. In the context of the wide variety of connected devices that customers use to monitor, measure and manage their data - not to mention faster connectivity via WiFi6 and 5G – there is a real opportunity for marketing teams to design experiences around customers’ real-time data-sharing capabilities.
With low-code software, marketing teams can react quickly to new consumer innovations such as fitness trackers that measure cardio activity or a smart-meter that records energy usage. Low-code allows them to do this by placing the power to build specialist apps and microsites into marketers’ hands. With the ability to bypass IT teams, they can design apps with features that allow customers to link up their connected devices and save them valuable time when it comes to submitting a meter reading or planning their next online exercise class.
A year of on-and-off lockdowns may have disengaged customers, even from their favourite brands. With uncertainty over employment, reduced disposable income and with nothing to look forward to, some customers have become far more cautious around new purchases or upgrades. Therefore, it falls to the businesses themselves to demonstrate that their intentions are good. The ability to react immediately to changes in a customer’s situation and offer convenient solutions reassures customers that they are in safe hands with a trusted brand. Leveraging real-time data-sharing is an unmissable opportunity for brands to deliver on their promises of making life easier for customers with added convenience at every step in real-time.
Ex-pub landlord Lee Whittington offers insights on how to achieve customer experience excellence as a consultant at Pegasystems.
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