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Right size, wrong foot

March 6, 2014

One size fits all has been archaic for a while now, and many companies are quickly finding that right size, wrong foot does not get the job done either. Today, customers expect personalization, they expect quality experiences, they expect it now and they expect you to get it right.

This topic made for quite a lively discussion on a recent #CXO twitter chat with Jeannie Walters, CEO and chief customer experience investigator™ at 360Connext, leading the conversation on the “two left shoes” syndrome and how to avoid ill fitting customer experiences. With digital channels it’s easy for customers to don fictitious personas, and some do in the hopes of keeping their information private. Given this, one of the questions discussed in the twitterchat was: How do businesses adjust to customer preferences? Jeannie Walters wisely pointed out that "channels matter but not as much as content and context for customers" Though personas change, knowing the preferred channel is also critical. Emailing offers, for example, fall on deaf ears if they are filtered into spam. 

A few things to note when adjusting to customer preferences:

  • "Personas will have some references to the past behavior or could be typecast. This should help businesses preempt choices"—Padma Bhamidipati
  • "Each customer's core desires remain the same across channels. They use channels differently to realize these—hence personas. Businesses can map each customer's disparate personas to a common "journey" model—then adjust engagement to fit channel-specific personas."—jameskobielus

Many in the discussion, including Josh McCormack, indicated that businesses need to listen:"observe, identify differences, refine or fork (multiple personas)." Tracy Kirk admonished that while we're listening and changing tactics and messages to fit different personas that we often forget to be human.

As businesses strive for personalization, one thing they should remember is Andy Yeo's sage advice:

We also broached the question of how businesses should overcome the challenges of collecting, storing and using multi-channel customer data. The unanimous answer was big data. Organizations need a powerful big data and analytics solution to obtain a holistic view of their customer. Big data without a strategy, however, misses the mark completely. We were reminded to start with the business objective.

Tim Crawford suggested too that “big data and analytics can only go so far. We must first understand how to best apply it.” Mark Myers also shared that "it's almost as important to know when to discard or offline data as it is to know how to collect and store," while Jeannie Walters noted that, “smart data analysts know where to dig in more from BIG data to LITTLE to understand customers." Other key takeaways from this line of the conversation:

  • "It is not about the channels - it's about outcomes, what data do you need to move the dials (or identifying)"—Marcio Rodrigues
  • "Effective sampling of your customer experience data is a powerful technique: save storage cost, have confidence in analysis"—jameskobielus

As we looked at identifying anomalies in behavior to determine ill fitting experiences the #CXO tribe raised quite a few interesting points. These included using customer surveys, looking at web and shopping cart abandonments as well as complaints via social channels. Stephanie Thum advised that businesses pay careful attention to anomalies: 

Both Jeannie and James also left us with excellent advice:  

  • "Analysts should look for “blips” in customer data, not just big changes. Blips lead to dips!"—Jeannie Walters
  • "Businesses should detect anomalous customer behavior by correlating & mining multichannel, historical data."—jameskobielus

This recap gives you only a glimpse into the rich conversations and debates we have in the #CXO twitterchat. Do share with us in the comments your thoughts on how organizations should avoid the "two left shoes" syndrome. Join us on Monday March 10 at 12 EST as we discuss The CFO: Jack of All Trades.