12/05/2018 08:13 SAST | Updated 12/05/2018 08:13 SAST

New Digital Technologies Allow More Efficient Delivery

"A time-sensitive campaign such as Mother's Day or Black Friday requires that all the processes must be aligned to cope with a surge in interest."

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Data-driven processes drive e-commerce campaign success

Every year, online retailers market Mother's Day promotions, but many do so with little regard for what their customers want or need — and some even fail to meet expectations by not delivering on time. How can e-commerce businesses provide the service their customers expect during marketing campaigns? The key to this success lies primarily in data.

Online businesses have access to immense quantities of data provided by customers. The insights provided by this data can lead to far better targeting of campaigns. Not only can companies narrow down their market's interest to specific products, they can then showcase those products and related special offers.

Remarkably, retailers lag behind when it comes to special offers by limiting their product offerings to outmoded preferences. In a fast-evolving marketplace, they're offering the equivalent of bath salts to Capetonians as ideal gifts. In this digital world, what the gift recipient is more likely to want is something that appeals to their online habits — such as a Netflix subscription or a device-enhancement product. Consumers browsing and purchasing habits reveal this — allowing for more accurate targeted campaigns.

Reducing customer effort via feedback

According to a 2018 CCW Market Study on Performance and Metrics, more than 77 percent of organisations are making customer feedback surveys their top priority. Reducing customer effort is the number-one objective. Feedback provides an understanding of how customers feel about their experiences.

In the case of mistakes — such as nondelivery of time-sensitive gifting products (e.g. Mother's Day) — feedback from customer communication channels can be useful. Social media and other feedback tools in the customer-service department can allow companies to rectify processing problems.

This will provide insight into the stumbling blocks obstructing a great customer experience [CX]. At the heart of enhancing the CX are the processes that take your customer from considering a purchase to purchasing, then finally reviewing their experience.

If you're promising rapid delivery, you'd better deliver on that promise.

A time-sensitive campaign such as Mother's Day or Black Friday requires that all the processes must be aligned to cope with a surge in interest. These processes include a website that can cope with more traffic, increased staffing in terms of customer service agents or sales staff, more stock and a great delivery solution.

Data-driven feedback, along with well-defined metrics and easily accessible dashboards and reporting, can allow you to access information about the factors governing the customer journey. This could include information about touchpoints that are taking too long, unnecessary repeat interactions, or contact-centre agents not working efficiently, for example.

Ideally, you want customers to have a seamless experience from beginning to end, across however many customer-interaction channels you have. Reducing customer effort means saving them time, or the need for frequent/repeat interactions.

You can automate some of the processes that don't require human interaction, for example, or have intelligent routing that puts your customers in contact with the agents best suited to assist them according to their requirements or profile data (e.g. home language or product portfolio).

Great promotions rely on functioning processes that ensure that stock is available, agents are on hand to facilitate transactions and slick delivery processes — if you're promising rapid delivery, you'd better deliver on that promise. Make it easier for your customers to get from A to Z, and offer them what they want when they want it.

Ultimately, managing your processes better will give you the chance to provide an excellent customer experience that will lead to great feedback, and that's an effective tool for driving campaign success.

Wynand Smit is CEO of INOVO, a leading contact-centre business-services provider.