The ideal customer experience on every channel

Improve omnichannel interactions with a customer decision hub

By Kadir Dindar, Senior Director, Customer Intelligence Center of Excellence, SAS

In the old world where customer segmentation reigned supreme, businesses generally devised separate strategies for marketing to unique segments, such as: 

  • The prospect browsing on his tablet from the couch.
  • The business professional multitasking on the phone between board meetings. 
  • The millennial buzzing through social media.
  • The café emailer working from his laptop.
  • The telephone caller reaching out for customer service.
  • The in-store visitor with plans to upgrade to a new product. 

What has changed? Today we know that sometimes those six visits are actually six separate touches from the same customer.

With millions of customers interacting with you on multiple channels, how can you possibly keep track of that one person on multiple devices and channels? And how can you optimize your outgoing messages based on what you already know? 

The systems and processes in place at many companies cannot deal with these omnichannel dilemmas. Valuable information is lost or not fully exploited.

The obvious solution is a central decision-making system responsible for all customer interactions. We like to think of it as a customer decision hub, where all marketing, services and sales activities are managed — and all customer data is synchronized.

How to use your hub for customer decisions

Once you identify your customers and obtain permission to interact with them on multiple channels, you can begin coordinating interactions to improve the customer experience. The decision hub makes this easier through the use of four integrated components: 

  • Actions. This is the starting point for professional users. Marketing initiatives and campaigns are implemented here in a shared, centrally run work environment. In the Actions area, marketing, service and sales programs can share ad hoc actions, regular communications and contact strategies.
  • Insights. This component includes past data, present contextual information and predictive analytics. Users can explore data here to see which of the planned actions are being executed, based on all available customer information.
  • Rules. A central repository defines and manages all rules and constraints across all customer interactions, regardless of channel. This facility is combined with interaction management in the customer decision hub.
  • Decisions. This element enables an understanding of ever-changing customer behavior and brings insights in line with the structure of the company. Allowing more agile customer contact responses, this value-based, cross-departmental control maximizes success while delivering a consistent customer experience. 

Meeting customer expectations with the decision hub

The low cost and widespread availability of mobile devices makes it easier to explore digital channels, often in parallel with higher expectations. As a result, consumer marketing is becoming far more complex and time dependent.

Customers are not only changing their behaviors through multiple channels, they are also changing their expectations. Personalization is expected when data is shared, and you need a central decision hub to help make sure preferences
are met. 

The decision hub is based on a central data mart that combines all customer brand interactions: basic consumer data plus information about transactions, browsing history and customer-service interactions.

The use of dynamic channel management — together with central administration and orchestration — invariably will lead to higher sales and happier customers. 

Customer decision hubs in use around the world

How are businesses using customer decision hubs today? Consider these examples:

  • A mobile telecom company in Germany uses its customer decision hub to interact and communicate directly with the customer. And it’s able to test hypotheses and new marketing programs on large amounts of data. 
  • A global bank with core markets in Europe runs its entire marketing operation out of the customer decision hub. The company addresses individual customers on its portal to provide real-time information. The decision hub selects the correct offer even in the event of a conflict between pre-calculated affinities and the individual’s online behavior.  
  • One of the largest digital publishers in Europe also aspires to be the leading digital publishing house in the world. Its customer decision hub is now the basis for stronger marketing plans that include app-based messages appealing to customers of all types. 
  • A well-known Swiss retailer is reducing its time to market for campaign execution and increasing the number of campaigns without any additional resources. The decision hub provides increased customer loyalty at a reduced cost for campaigns. 

With these examples in mind, consider how you might benefit from the use of a customer decision hub.

Kadir Dindar

Kadir Dindar is the head of strategy for the SAS Customer Intelligence Center of Excellence in the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific regions. In this capacity he advises international companies on key issues for value-oriented customer management. Previously, Dindar spent many years as head of the Customer Intelligence Competency Center at SAS Germany, successfully implementing large-scale projects, both nationally and internationally.


Omnichannel customers: 5 fast facts

You customers are active everywhere. If you’re not keeping up, you’ll miss their preferences. Consider these facts:

  1. 70-90 percent of the buyer journey is complete prior to engaging a vendor, according to Forrester Research.
  2. Consumers engage with an average of 11.4 pieces of content prior to making a purchase, says Forrester Research.
  3. 80 percent of in-store shoppers also check prices online, according to MIT.
  4. 65 percent of consumers start their purchase path on their smartphones and 61 percent continue shopping on their PC or laptop, according to Marketo.
  5. The omnichannel experience has evolved from a high-priced, high-involvement process to a fast-moving consumer goods business, according to GfK.

Success with customer experience is connected to more analytics and organizationwide standards. A customer decision hub can help with both.

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