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Boosting the customer experience with creativity and technology

RobertChecketts

shutterstock_1032753214 (1).jpgFrom the initial encounter to the end transaction, customers want to be wowed. In the digital era, it's easy to collect and analyze the data necessary to improve the customer experience.

Technology is the backbone of organizations of all sizes, regardless of their products and services. Whether you're a small or midsized business owner, the more technological conveniences you offer customers and clients, the better off you'll be. Are there ways technology can improve your business's customer experience? The smart money says yes—and the best course of action is to implement them soon. Businesses that don't will fall behind.

While your strategy for improving the customer experience will depend on your business and industry, here are several high-level ideas businesses of all sizes and in all industries can use.

Technology streamlines the customer experience

Whatever they're buying, whatever you're selling, your goal should be to harness technology to make the customer experience as seamless as possible. In the restaurant world, this goal is the reason fast-food joints and haute cuisine eateries alike have embraced the wonders of online ordering. It's the driving force behind common retail services such as online returns and purchases, not to mention general services like web-based customer service.

The aim is for technology to complement existing, experience-focused initiatives, not overtake them. It's all about adding options. While there's a time and a place to consider a complete overhaul, drastic changes could alienate customers who are perfectly happy with the way you currently conduct business.

Take, for example, the practice of providing suggested content to online shoppers after they have put an item in their cart. This practice has become so widespread that it's expected, and most importantly, it doesn't interrupt a customer's journey through your site. Instead, it augments it. Or think about B2B customers who get content from your brand sent to their inboxes. When this content is unwanted or irrelevant, it goes right into the trash. But when it's interesting and applicable, it instead complements the conversation they're already having with your business and improves the customer connection.

Enabling greater personalization

There's a reason retailers invest in their recommendation algorithms. The more you can customize the experience to an individual, the more they're likely to spend. Doing business at any level is about building relationships, and good relationships depend on particular knowledge of a person.

The specific business's products and services determine the necessary changes. In the restaurant industry, the answer may be as simple as saving a customer's favorite orders for one-click purchasing in the future. In the retail or B2B sectors, more advanced systems offering new products based on past purchases may be in order.

Other companies may want to allow customers to personalize products where applicable. According to Forbes, the ability to personalize products can boost loyalty, quality, and the overall buying experience. A personalized experience is an enhanced experience.

Harnessing data for powerful customer experiences

To improve and personalize their experiences, you need to understand your customers. Technology can help here, too. In the past, only the largest organizations deeply analyzed customer behaviors, but no longer; small and midsized businesses (SMBs) have since adopted this practice as well. Moreover, solutions used by SMBs can scale with the growth that comes from improved customer analytics.

The proper analytics software running on a suitable hardware platform, as well as a cloud-based platform that can accept and analyze information from multiple sources, can do it all without drowning you in data. Good software can cherry-pick the important numbers for you and support effective solutions.

Used properly, the right platforms can help you make numerous critical decisions, such as what discounts to offer, what services to promote, and which experiences to enhance. Scalability is a particularly important consideration here. The amount of actionable data businesses generate can be overwhelming, and repeatedly shedding solutions as you outgrow them isn't fun for the business or the customer.

From the initial encounter to the end transaction, customers expect more than a basic interaction. They want to be wowed. In the digital era, collecting and analyzing the necessary data is easy, no matter the size of your organization. If you're wondering whether technology can improve your customer experience, the answer is a resounding yes—and the sooner you make experience-friendly changes, the better.

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About the Author

RobertChecketts

Robert has over 25+ years of IT Marketing and Product Management leadership experience spanning country, Regional and WW organizations. Robert is a marketing executive with extensive experience in field marketing, channel marketing and product marketing on a global basis and is driven to deliver SMB’s end-to-end affordable infrastructure that’s secure from the start, optimized for every workload, packaged for many consumption models, ready to scale, and easy to manage.