Leading consumer brands do more than just sell their products – they offer an integrated experience that goes above and beyond customer expectations. Behind these experiences is a carefully designed customer journey map that addresses customer needs, pain points and actions taken to achieve customer satisfaction. Across all industries, the most competitive brands have figured out how to leverage technology that helps them increase their personalization and customer appreciation.

Raising the standards of personalization

More than ever, consumers demand relevancy when interacting with a business. In a recent report by data firm Segment, more than 70% of shoppers surveyed felt frustrated by shopping experiences that lacked personalization. Weak attempts at personalization are one of the most common pain points in customer journeys – that doesn’t even account for the brands that don’t attempt it in the first place! Addressing a customer by name? That’s elementary and won’t impress a customer these days. Pure360’s research suggested that 92% of consumers won’t engage with a retail brand when addressed by their first name. This is especially true with Millennials and Gen Z consumers, who are constantly looking for more meaningful experiences and interactions.

Against this backdrop, technology provides new ways to solve customer pains and turn them into competitive advantages. Solutions that allow data collection across channels can help you identify the context in any situation and understand customer behavior, such as locations visited, preferences or habits. Personalized interactions can happen across all stages of the customer journey, which benefit your sales, marketing, and customer support teams. During the buying stage, predictive intelligence can suggest personalized products for customers, while real-time data is useful for support teams to respond to customers in a personalized way. Customers who have personalized experiences are more likely to become repeat customers, and businesses that use personalized technology can turn this frequent customer pain into a significant advantage.

Closing the gap on customer appreciation

Have you ever filled in a feedback form only to be frustrated knowing that no one will look at it? If so, you are not alone. According to data by the U.S Small Business Administration, 68% of clients leave because they feel the business does not care about them. More than anything, customers want to be heard and appreciated rather than seen as a number on a spreadsheet. When you show customers they are valued and important, it will greatly contribute to your business's overall customer satisfaction.

Certain technologies can address this common customer pain by enabling a proactive approach to customer appreciation. One way to begin is by creating an integrated customer appreciation plan that automatically funnels customer interactions into the hands of staff members most suited to respond to the customer’s request or comment.

In addition to providing real time insight into service issues, the data can be used to identify trends that can inform decisions around customer experience design. One example is a hotel receiving feedback on the inconvenience of their location. Rather than ignoring the feedback as some that can’t be actioned, the hotel uses this opportunity to connect and show appreciation to the customer by offering its own complementary transportation service. This type of engagement, while seemingly simple, can turn around negative customer sentiment and keep customers coming back.

For modern customers engaging with businesses, every interaction matters. The onus is on businesses to leverage tools and insights that address customer needs while demonstrating true appreciation.