The last decade has seen marketing technology (martech) progress in leaps and bounds. While this technology is helping businesses to refine their customer experiences, it’s also pushed CX into new territory, lifted customer expectations and increased customer data complexity.
It may be tempting to look forward at all the work still to be done, but it’s just as important to consider how customer experience management has changed, what’s driving it, and how businesses have adapted.
Here are three ways we’ve seen CX change over the years and how martech is helping to address it, and in some cases, drive it.
Related content: Smarter Not Harder: Empower Your Business With Martech
With the growth of digital, social media and eCommerce, customer experiences are no longer a once-off interaction at a store. Moreover, a good experience at one customer touchpoint doesn’t make up for bad experience at another. For example, a positive experience from a slick online store can unravel if a business has a cumbersome transaction process, is not transparent about its delivery times or communicates delivery delays. In New Zealand, we saw this last point play out with the Freedom Furniture, which saw customers waiting months for their purchases to be delivered.
As businesses have learned to cultivate followers, brand ambassadors, advocates and loyalty programme members, customers are continually interacting with their brands and expecting the experience to not only be consistent but personalised and ongoing. However, what’s important to note here is while 95 per cent of organisations say that consistent customer experiences across multiple touchpoints is important, only 45 per cent are actually achieving this. In other words, if you think your business is excelling in this area, it may be worth asking your customers to see if their experience aligns with the experience you believe you are providing.
The introduction of DMPs (data management platforms) and CRMs (customer relationship management platforms) and are the backbone of building consistent and ongoing customer experiences. From managing customer data and build personalised interactions based off that data to create stronger ongoing relationships with customers, they have become an essential part of many a brands’ martech toolkit.
However, the businesses that are truly excelling in this space are those that have also included customer surveying to track, measure and continually improve the experiences they provide.
The preference for self-service—with a catch
From booking a restaurant to troubleshooting a new teleco provider, businesses have turned to martech to offer customers the opportunity self-serve when and where it is convenient for them. A consumer survey from 2013 found 67 per cent of respondents preferred self-service over speaking to a company representative. Nearly ten years later, self-service tools are commonplace, however what we’re seeing now is a disconnect between the self-service experience businesses think they are providing versus the experience customers actually receive. A 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report from NICE found that only 15 per cent of consumers expressed a high level of satisfaction with the tools provided to them, while businesses believe 53 per cent of consumers are very satisfied with their self-service.
So, while self-service is rapidly becoming an essential technology for businesses, particularly for troubleshooting, not any old tool will do—nor will a slap-dash-done approach meet customer expectations here. If you’re looking to adopt such this kind of martech tool, know that must be implemented and integrated with care if you want to make the right impression on your customers.
Faster delivery expectations
When supply chain warehouse provider Ware2go surveyed consumers in 2021, they found that since the start of the pandemic, over a third of consumers have higher expectations for fast shipping than they did before the pandemic and 42 per cent of consumers expect a two-day shipping option for every online purchase they make. While this survey was conducted in the US, we are also seeing a similar trend in New Zealand.
In August 2020, faster delivery times came in at top of the list of New Zealand shopper expectations; 38 per cent of shoppers expected faster delivery and wanted retailers to focus on providing faster delivery times. In 2022, a FedEx Express report for New Zealand found deliveries taking too long was the number one pain consumer point (49 per cent of survey respondents).
Meanwhile, another US survey from logistics technology company Project 44 found that giving accurate delivery times was a major impact on a customer’s decision to spend with a business—or spend with the business again if the delivery time given was inaccurate. Nearly 70 per cent (69.7) of consumers said that if a package was delayed with no communication, they would be less likely to shop with that retailer again.
It’s for reasons such as these that supply chain and logistics technology has seen rapid development, particularly since the start of the pandemic, either in the form on in-house SaaS solutions or through specialty providers. These systems can automatically update consumers on the status of their delivery without any input from a retailer’s staff, which keeps customers happy and employees unburdened.
Like many aspects of business, CX is undergoing constant evolution as customer needs change and new technologies arrive on the market. With many martech applications now available to help businesses manage their experiences and customer relationships, it is now more important than ever that organisations take stock of their current offerings and explore ways to streamline their operations and enhance customer experiences. However, while it is tempting to side-eye the latest flashy, new fandangle technology and pin your hopes on its ability to wow customers, superior CX often comes down to doing the simple things exceptionally well. In other word, before you implement new technology, make sure it enhances the experience rather than confound it.
Marketing technology is not only changing how we market but the experiences customers receive and expect from brands. Learn how you can track, improve and grow your customer experience with our customer experience management software, Customer Monitor.
 Harvard Business School Publishing. 2022. ‘Pulse Survey: Getting Stronger Business Outcomes Through Customer Data 2022’, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 10 October 2022. Available at: https://hbr.org/sponsored/2022/10/a-new-approach-to-customer-data-provides-a-big-payoff
 CXM Today, 2022. '81% Of Consumers Say They Want More Self-service Options', cxmtoday.com, 25 May 2022. Available at: https://cxmtoday.com/news/81-of-consumers-say-they-want-more-self-service-options/