Don’t Let A Low-Tech Issue Negate Your High-Tech Marketing Efforts

KeynotesWhile at PARTNERS 2015 last week, I was inspired by story after story of how individualized marketing is helping companies deliver exceptional customer experiences. But I’d barely unpacked my suitcase, when I was reminded once again that customer experience management isn’t only about high-tech, data-driven approaches. Often, the success of a customer experience rests with distinctly low-tech, offline issues. Employee engagement is critical, as are countless customer touchpoints, many of which are overlooked because they seem so insignificant (even though they could be anything but).

Here’s what happened to me. A few days ago, I stopped to fill my car at a local gas station. Initially, the pump provided a pleasant, and now familiar, experience. Its digital screen welcomed me, told me to insert my credit card, prompted me to enter my zip code, asked if I was a loyalty member, suggested that I might like a car wash and inquired if I wanted a receipt. After that, I was instructed to lift the nozzle and press the button for my preferred grade of gasoline. All of this was agreeable enough, right up until I wanted to use that little gizmo on the pump nozzle – you know, that very “low tech” mechanical device that lets the gasoline flow from the pump into the car tank without someone having to hold the handle. I tried to take advantage of that latch, but it kept slipping, again… and again… and again.

I continued to fill my tank, but by the time I was finished, I was annoyed and grumbling. For me, the faulty “open flow” device had totally negated all the brilliant technology that had greeted me when I first started filling up my tank.

This “missed opportunity for awesome” was one more real-world example of what can go wrong if you become so preoccupied with data driven marketing that you start neglecting customer service basics. Remember: Any break in the customer experience, whether online or offline, disrupts the relationship you’re trying so hard to nurture. Your goal is to integrate data and analytics to glean the insights needed to create rich customer experiences, the kind that real, live people can relate to and enjoy. The only way you can achieve that goal is to make sure things are flowing just as smoothly offline as they are online. After all, your customers are people – not data points, not numbers or columns on a spreadsheet – but humans, with needs, desires, expectations… and gas tanks to fill.

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