Marketing definitions usually refer to a company’s creation of “customer value” or perception of “customer value”. There are disputes between theoreticians as to the understanding of the very concept of value. In practice, it’s about putting the customer at the center of the company’s activities. So much in the center that some of the promoters and practitioners of this approach directly communicate: “forget about selling.” Sounds extreme? It should not, because it is only a return to the basic forms of “business” activity – offering values (skills, products) useful to a given community.
Putting the customer at the center of activities means both putting effort and resources into getting to know them, as well as carefully and attentively building a relationship based on the acquired knowledge.
How can I help?
The classic question of the service center (or: contact) is “how can I help you?”. It should not be just a courtesy, but an actual declaration of interest and commitment. As an expression of “will to support”, reflect the company’s philosophy. It is not about dreams out of the reach of practice and in isolation from consumer expectations.
According to a report published by Salesforce (State of the Connected Customer – 4th edition), for 79% of consumers and 85% of people making B2B transactions, the experience provided by the company is as important as the product it offers. In other words, even if we have the best offer on the market, but we do not care about the quality of customer experience, it may not be enough to achieve business success. On the other hand, if the customer feels “pampered” by us in every contact, he or she will forgive more easily if he encounters a one-time drop in quality. The key word in the above sentence is “disposable”.
Customers are important. More important than our innovation or offer. It is necessary to show interest in them and gain knowledge about their expectations and habits. It is worth focusing on the methods of obtaining adequate and useful information.
On the one hand, we have at our disposal reports and analyzes conducted by research companies. They allow you to catch the directions of changes, purchasing tendencies, general requirements and technology adoption, based on the so-called representative research group. At the same time, it is worth remembering that conclusions from large reports are not only general, but also based on declarations that may not fully accurately reflect reality. Their main usefulness lies in understanding the scale of phenomena, verifying held beliefs (e.g. regarding a given age group), as well as the ability to track changes over time.
Obtaining more detailed knowledge, directly related to the conducted activity, is possible thanks to the use of various sources of sales data, ways of moving users around the store, website or application. It is also worth enriching the knowledge with information from the contact center (complaints, inquiries) and from Internet portals (social media, forums, etc.). Advanced tools that aggregate data from various sources allow you to create the so-called 360 degree view. This applies to every person entering the website or online store, contacting the hotline, etc. Specific knowledge translates into equally specific use of it.
Salesforce: source of information and knowledge
Consumers carry out their daily activities in various ways and using many tools, including using them in parallel. Some of them are “traditional” (off-line), and some are “modern” (online, mobile). The transitions between the indicated forms are smooth, practically imperceptible from the point of view of a given person, completely natural. However, issues obvious to consumers are reflected in the practice of process design only after some time, when certain phenomena are noticed and mapped.
Customer journey mapping is an effective technique used to visually represent the entire customer experience across various touchpoints and interactions with a company or brand. Usually, existing tools are extended with additional functionalities or new applications are launched to handle a given issue. As a result, an extensive system of solutions is created, responsible for various areas and usually giving customers their own ID. In other words – everything is under control and data is collected, but usually it is not used to create a homogeneous view of customer activity.
Meanwhile…regardless of how many systems a company operates as part of its operations, information from each of them should be available in an aggregated version. This will give you a complete look at both the individual consumer and the broader trends (perceived by cumulative data). The vision behind the tools developed by Salesforce is to provide users with a uniform view that collects information from various sources – internal and external. This applies to both individual instances of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and additional tools that are important for a given organization. It can be an online store, social media, or other systems and applications. This approach enables not only the aggregation of data but also its practical use – from generating reports and predictions to automating and personalizing activities (e.g., communication, sales). The Journey Builder in Salesforce Marketing Cloud does exactly that. It gathers customer data from any source based on attributes, browsing behaviors, and purchase history and enables its immediate use.
Single Source of Truth
The previously mentioned, aggregated view of data from various systems and applications is referred to as a “single source of truth”. This concept, derived from the theory of information systems design, can also be perfectly applied to areas related to research, communication and business. It assumes full access to consistent and comprehensive information from one console. Using this approach, we can gain insight into all activities undertaken by the consumer in terms of cross-channel (an overview of the channels used) and cross-device (taking into account all types of devices). Salesforce tools unify the ID, thanks to which, after recognizing the user, they use algorithms to combine his new activity with other, earlier activities (taken in different places and on separate devices). This, in turn, allows for analyzing the frequency of visits to the store, website and other relevant media, social activities (an opportunity to establish relationships or identify potential brand ambassadors), purchase history and contacts with the Customer Service Center. All of the above elements make up the so-called “customer journey”, i.e. a multi-stage route through the media, stimuli and impressions that the consumer covers from the first contact with the presentation of the product to the finalization of the purchase. It also takes into account further stages, because making a transaction is not the last step of the journey.