According to an Oracle research study, over the next four years more than three-quarters of companies will be offering customers user experiences purely through virtual reality and chatbots. By 2020, virtual reality will dominate relations with companies: in fact, 78% of the latter plans to offer their customers virtual reality experiences, while 80% will certainly be using chatbots. Despite this widespread urgency in adopting new technologies, many companies still face difficulties and obstacles in using the valuable data they possess to the best and are unable to exploit their full value.
The report Can Virtual Experiences Replace Reality? shows that over 60% of companies do not yet include data gathered from interactions on social networks or CRM in their customer analytics, whereas there would also be need for greater alignment among marketing, sales and services sectors. Unfortunately, most companies still face serious difficulties in unifying, organizing and analyzing the increasing volume of data they collect about customers and this makes it more difficult to really know them and offer them a personalized experience. And although there have been warnings of an irrepressible rush towards innovation for some time and from many quarters, more than half of companies do not include fundamental data in customer analytics. 41% of respondents agreed that a more intelligent analysis of customer data will be the factor of greatest impact on the experience that they can offer their public, while 42% already collect a large amount of data from multiple sources but are unable to derive in-depth information from them.
Today it is no longer sufficient to simply have a presence on social media because customers/users will not engage with a single brand through social interaction especially if their demands are not listened to. Whether it is a chatbot, artificial intelligence or a social community manager acting on behalf of the brand, the customer data profile that is drawn and developed must be based on complete and accurate information which can and must be retrieved through new forms of interaction between customers and company. Circulation of organic data among marketing, sales and support team thus becomes crucial.
While human conversations that traditionally take place at the beginning of a purchase decision rarely occur in the case of sale of goods and services online, every customer expects to live a personalized experience. Customers expect their digital interactions to provide companies with all the information necessary to understand their requirements and provide the best possible solution. Sales and marketing teams that have taken advantage of existing technologies to identify and respond to the “digital signals” emitted by purchasers have achieved a significant strategic advantage. A recent study in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) reported that 15% of the companies most advanced in the use of technology and intelligence data grew faster in the course of last year and reached a better position, also with a view to the future, than competitors in the market.
New modes of interaction
Some time ago, a research study by Forrester stated that over 71% of B2B companies considered improvement of user experience by customers a priority for their business. Moreover, it has appeared obvious for some time that the dynamics and modes of interaction and relations between companies and customers are changing.
The large-scale diffusion of social, digital and mobile platforms is pushing individuals to increasingly prefer a “self service” type approach in interaction with brands; this was mentioned, for example, by more than 48% of the sales and marketing experts interviewed in the Oracle study. In fact, analysis of the data shows that over 35% of respondents noted that their customers and potential customers prefer to complete a purchase or resolve a service problem through an automated wizard without having to come into direct contact with a salesperson. As many as over 40% of professionals surveyed agree that customers today engage in research on their own before sending a request.
Precisely in response to the challenges that changes impose and will increasingly impose on the market, companies are adopting some innovative technologies that enable and will enable their customers to continue to interact with them in the way they prefer, as is shown in the table below.
The utility of social service
“To know more you have to learn more and then do more”. The solution seems simple: companies need to know better and therefore learn more about their customers precisely to serve them better, and in this sense modes of interaction via the social can facilitate these tasks.
The number of conversations taking place on social networks is huge and continues to grow every day, and customers do not always stay in touch with a brand up to the choice of purchase. In this case, a Social Relationship Management (SRM) software seems essential for helping companies to filter noise and proactively monitor interactions responding to customers’ needs. When it comes to means of communication, and in particular of social platforms, the best response is a rapid response, even if it is only in response to knowing whether a request is being handled.
Companies need to make customers feel that their requests and needs are a top priority. And here data can really help.