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5 ways to drive customer experience success

Reena Leone, Log in to subscribe to the Blog

Digital transformation has been a priority for the last several years. More and more of our daily activities take place on digital channels like the web or mobile. It makes sense – digital is often faster, more accessible, and more convenient at a time when many of us are always on the go or multitasking.

Organizations were already in some form of digital transformation when the pandemic hit. Suddenly, digital went from a priority to the priority. Not only that, but every single interaction with a customer became that much more important. Customers already expected businesses to understand their needs but now they absolutely need them to deliver every single time. Every message sent, every recommendation made, every action taken, needs to be done empathetically and at a scale like never before. With customer experience being the biggest competitive differentiator for business, getting it right – every single time – is critical. However, there are a few ways to virtually guarantee success.

1. Shift from one-to-many to one-to-one

Customers are humans. They are unique beyond their location, age, and other standard segment groups and context is critical to understanding their needs. That’s one of the reasons why traditional marketing tactics fall short. Segments tend to be too broad and impersonal at a time when personalized customer experience is key to building long-term customer relationships. The more businesses send out irrelevant messages, the greater chance they have of their customers tuning out or even leaving completely.

One-to-one marketing has been a concept for more than 20 years, but the over the last several years, the technology has leveled up to put it into practice. Now that these capabilities are available, organizations can now move away from the more structured, solely sales-focused, product-driven approach in favor of an agile and highly custom “always-on” approach powered by centralized decisioning and real-time artificial intelligence (AI). This puts the customer at the center, analyzing not just their data but also their context across channels so the decision engine can recommend the best offers, actions, and services – or what we call “next best action” – for each individual customer based on their needs, in the moment.

The decision engine takes the guesswork out by using model scores and purchase propensities to decide when to engage, and what is the way to engage. These next best actions happen as the customer navigates through a brand's entire experience - even shifting multiple times within a given interaction based on the customer's constantly changing context - not after the fact like with traditional push campaigns, when it's likely too late. To summarize, for organizations to have a true one-to-one approach, they must adhere to the following three key areas:

  1. Abandon segmentation-based marketing in favor of optimizing individual, one-to-one interactions with customers.
  2. Move away from channel and product-driven targeting and adopt a single, centralized decisioning model that can unify the customer experience.
  3. Eliminate scheduled push campaigns and install an always-on model that continuously engages individual customers during their “moments of need.”

Take the leap to modernize your customer engagement approach by
Crossing the chasm: From traditional marketing to one-to-one customer engagement

2. Invest in real-time decisioning

We all know that decisions need to be made fast, while the customer is engaged. But how fast? To deliver an always-on, one-to-one approach, decisions need to be made in real time. However, the definition of what that is varies widely. Pega defines real-time decisioning as:

An analytical capability enabling a brand to analyze an individual’s context “in the moment,” using predictive models and business logic to select the most relevant action, then delivering the next best action to that person in-channel – all while the customer interaction is actively taking place.

Real-time decisioning capabilities are what enable and drive always-on, one-to-one engagement. Once you commit to shifting your marketing approach, investing in this type of technology is what will bring it to life and help you scale your personalized customer experiences. This approach to marketing and customer engagement is transformative - trying to achieve it by using traditional data management platforms and customer data platforms will not be possible. You need technology that allows you to effectively identify the next best action needed, at any touchpoint along every unique customer journey.

Learn all about real-time capabilities and experience the benefits of Real-time decisioning, real results.

3. Focus on journeys, not channels

Much like grouping customers into segments, customer journeys require a similar one-to-one engagement approach, where every journey is unique to the individual customer. Rather than place customers on pre-determined paths or focus on a particular channel, organizations need to look at the customer journey holistically to help the customer complete their own individual journey as quickly and painlessly as possible. The modern customer journey is in no way linear - customers often engage across multiple channels, going backwards, forwards, leaving for a bit, and then coming back later. Focusing on customer experience by channel creates barriers and siloes that can lead to inconsistent and disjoined experiences.

It might seem daunting to try to understand every possible journey a customer might take but most journeys can be broken down into pieces. This makes them easier to understand and optimize. During stages of that journey, brands can prioritize, and level up content designed to help customers make progress against their goals. However, it’s important to keep in mind that when an individual reaches a step, you must never try to force them toward the next one. Instead, brands should utilize real-time decisioning to look out across all possible journeys and content options for that customer- this helps ensure that you’ll present the most relevant message, at the right time. That’s where modern journey solutions deviate from their predecessors.

Adopting the modernized journey approach shows that organizations truly understand and care about their customers on an individual and personal level. It’s no longer about the end point (a sale), but about the opportunities and insights to engage customers along the way.

Explore more about how you can Build better customer journeys with real-time decisioning.

4. Engage with empathy

Without empathy, organizations cannot successfully engage with their customers. It’s as simple as that. Empathy shines a spotlight on the customer and human experience, rather than always pushing for the sale. As technology continues to evolve and impact how we work and engage with one another, it’s important to engage with empathy and maintain that human connection, even in the business setting.

What does empathy look like for businesses? It’s the act of moving away from a purely sales-driven, product-focused approach to one that is perfectly tailored to each individual customer. Rather than going for the hard sell, maybe a service offer is more in line. A good example would be a cable company proactively offering to replace outdated equipment for a customer. Or maybe your customer has expressed frustration at service outages in their area. This would be the perfect time to offer them a discount or upgraded package at no extra cost to try and retain their business.

Other times, useful information could help to nurture the relationship without being overbearing. And then there are times when it’s best to just leave them alone – silence is an undervalued action! But the point is, every action a company takes should be based on the needs of the customer, not what the business wants to push. There will come a time to sell for sure, but it has to be the right time.
The more organizations can provide top quality services and experiences, the better engagement and long-term loyalty they’ll see from customers. And, in order to deliver top-quality services, organizations must take the time to see each customer as a unique individual going through life.

It’s important to take the time to learn about how bias impacts AI and what we can do to combat these obstacles and build trust. Find out how in this whitepaper: AI and empathy: Combining artificial intelligence with human ethics for better engagement

5. Always be thinking of the future

Technology is always evolving, and organizations need to be agile and responsive to these changes to remain relevant and competitive. The best way to nurture growth and remain future-proofed is by investing in tech that’s designed for the future. Now is the time to move away from legacy systems and the more traditional marketing strategies that limit the opportunities where both customers and organizations can build together. If you need guidance on where to start, Pega can help.

Real-time decisioning. Better customer engagement.

Deliver your customer’s needs instantly and make every experience hyper-relevant.

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Topic: AI and Decisioning Topic: Customer Engagement

About the Author

Pega’s Senior Content Marketing Manager Reena Leone helps clients around the world realize the positive impact that one-to-one customer engagement can have on customer experience and ROI.