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VII - Thou shalt never stop optimizing

A perfect customer experience today is no guarantee for tomorrow. Lives and even whole economies change, forcing you to adapt, improvise and overcome. Or at least continuously optimize and improve customer experiences.

“And on the seventh day, God finished the work that He had done, and He rested.” Unfortunately, that’s not in the cards for us mere mortals, since optimizing customer experience is a never-ending job. You can’t just install customer experience and then rest on your laurels. Customers’ lives change, and so do their expectations – which means that you have to continuously enrich and reiterate your customer experience. Here’s how to do it.

Even if your customer experience is flawless today, that doesn’t provide any guarantee for tomorrow. You constantly need to adapt to your customers’changing realities. Delivering great data-driven customer experiences is an ongoing process that is never finished.

Enrich: find new data sources

Part of continuous improvement is gathering more, more diverse and higher-quality data. To keep enriching your customer experience, you need to find new data sources – for instance, by offering extra services (like a newsletter or an e-book) in exchange for personal information. This strategy enables you to learn more about what makes your customers tick and what they like or don’t like about your services.

Reiterate: build new use cases

On top of solving immediate problems with customer experience, you should always have new use cases in the pipeline as well. These can be entirely new ideas, or they can be built as an extra layer on top of your current use cases. Concretely, you should always evaluate how the needs of customers of circumstances change, and define how you can respond to these changes.

Your customers’ needs as well as the broader circumstances are constantly changing: new channels and devices emerge, economic crises come and go, pandemics hit from out of nowhere, etc. And a lot can happen on a personal level for your customers too: a new career, a new house, an expanding family…

That’s why, on top of solving immediate, day-to-day customer experience issues, you should also be thinking about how to respond to changing dynamics. How are you going to respond to these changes when they occur? If you own a supermarket and one of your customers has a baby, for example, you might want to start advertising different products. To do this, you first need to know they had a baby. The contact information you gathered through that first subscription ten years ago won’t cut it.

One prime example: internet provider Telenet was looking for a way to find out when their customers had arrived important crossroads in their lives. They partnered with Immoweb to share data, and tweaked their offers if a customer had bought a new house.

An integrated approach is key

Large enterprises are often good at continuously optimizing their customer experience. This is no coincidence: they apply the very same tactics they use for their product or service range. Companies like Adidas make hypotheses based on the data, they validate them, and if their hypothesis checks out, they update. It’s a cycle of continuous experimentation and improvement.

The very same principle goes for your customer experience. An essential aspect of implementing this strategy is to integrate it with all your other processes. The data you gather may not only serve your customer experience, but your products or services as well. When done right, this philosophy of ‘continuous improvement’ should be embedded throughout your company. And great customer experience will follow.