Businesses are under more pressure than ever to improve their customer experiences. This pressure has become one of the driving forces when planning starts to transform their current digital platform to a commerce ecosystem that understands their customers’ wants and needs. However, as Rob Maille (pictured below), head of strategy and customer experience, CommerceCX, explains here, in order for businesses to stay competitive and respond to this pressure, they need to start looking beyond traditional tools that only track what a customer is doing and learn what they intend to do. Today, marketers need to gain insights into everything a customer may do – before they do it.
In this piece, we’ll explore how businesses can expand their technology suite beyond Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies to include Customer Data Platforms (CDP) and how the pair together can boost customer experience (CX) to better inform and support key initiatives along the customer journey. In addition, we’ll discuss how retailers can use both CRM and CDP to maximise customer experience and paint a unified picture of their customer.
Introducing CDP to CRM strategy
Today, we find that most businesses are already leveraging, and benefiting, from CRM solutions, using them to better understand the relationship of their customer and how that customer is engaging with that company specifically. However, in today’s world, CRM solutions only account for half of the puzzle when it comes to developing a successful digital experience for customers. To complete the process, organisations should look towards incorporating CDP solutions into their strategy. A CDP can be used to track and pull real-time user behaviour and help unify the customer data in a single view.
CDP is of particular importance today because digital interactions aren’t solely about self-service capabilities for customers anymore. Their wants and needs have changed. Now there’s an expectation that companies know every interaction of a customer’s buying journey. CDP solutions fill the void, both before and after a customer interaction, providing the 360-degree view of a customer that companies and marketers need to stay competitive in the digital landscape.
Essentially, CDP is the paint and CRM the brush for creating this full picture. With the changes we continue to see in how customers interact with the businesses they buy from, a combination of the two is becoming a necessity for businesses today. When a company reaches the point where it needs to see outside the walls of its own CRM, and its own organisation, to continue building better customer experiences, then it’s time to implement a CDP.
CPD impact on retailers
There is now a need for businesses to better support customers based on their personal experiences; and this is where the retail industry falls behind. As Salesforce notes, 63% of shoppers do not feel like retailers know them. The long-term impact of retailers not connecting with customers will negatively impact the bottom line and cause customers to look elsewhere for their shopping needs.
For brick-and-mortar stores that are struggling to keep up with digital businesses, leveraging CRM and CDP together provides them with real-time actionable insights into how and why their customers shop. This means retailers can influence processes and select the technologies they need to use to make the shopping experience more beneficial.
A great example of how one retailer is making a positive impact by using real-time insights to improve customer experiences is Amazon. The e-commerce company excels at giving customers what they want, when they want it, and on their own terms, because they are able to anticipate their needs based on the insights it is able to gain through its CRM and CDP technologies. Amazon has found the sweet spot of the intersection of retail and technology, making for the best possible customer experience – and it’s easy to see why. Looking at the Amazon homepage, before a visitor logs in, they see a generic page based off of data taken from different sources. Once a visitor logs in, the homepage will cater to their personal preferences based on what they’ve searched on the site. By striving to look at the entire picture of the customer, shoppers no longer accept a one-size-fits-all service, because personalisation is key and retailers should take notice.
Tips retailers should know about integrating CRM & CDP together
Whether a retail organisation is taking its first steps into this space or it has been in the process of making this work, it is extremely important to know what success looks like – overall and at different phases of roll out. Organisations tend to lose focus on how they will use data and what are they trying to learn. What’s more, if they don’t have defined personas and full understanding of the segmentation of their customer base, then it could feel like they are shooting in the dark. Retail organisations should look to develop a unified customer profile that includes information from both a CRM and CDP. This will help confirm their understanding of the customer and market and will provide insights that will allow them to act with a more informed mindset.
In addition, while defining a CDP/CRM strategy, retail organisations should plan for a multi-phase release with each phase aligning to success metrics. This allows businesses to show value quickly and get buy-in to implement a more comprehensive solution using CDP, while also calibrating on what they have learned to aggressively go after this information. Typically, it takes about 1-2 months to get the initial use-cases implementation.
Finally, there are a few things that can be done to help the process go much more smoothly. For example, getting leadership buy-in from key stakeholders before the selection of CDP and integration of a CRM is critical to its success. The most important is that goals are clear and milestones are thoughtful and pragmatic.
As customer journeys and experiences become more tailored and unique, the pursuit of better, more insightful, and more impactful data for customer-driven decisions will continue – with CRM helping businesses maintain customers and CDP putting them in the position to gain new ones.