Roadblocks to Epic Customer Experiences: Embracing TechnologyThe final key to great customer experience is something that both intimidates and eludes many marketers: technology. Many individuals responsible for customer experience have not been trained or educated in the platforms that unite channels and customer touchpoints, analyze data, manage customer profiles and deliver targeted content. They’re being asked to learn on their feet, and adapt to rapidly changing technologies in order to meet -- let alone exceed -- customer expectations.

This is the final installment in my series on the primary obstacles preventing companies from delivering exceptional customer experiences, and how to overcome them. Part 1 examined how organizational silos and differing KPIs lead to disconnected and irrelevant digital strategies. Part 2 outlined the skills that marketers need to seamlessly engage customers across channels.

Three Common Hurdles to Adopting the Best Technologies for Your Business

1. The Technology is Too Hard to Use

The Problem: Even the most tech-savvy marketer still faces a challenge. The problem often lies in getting a team of marketers with different skill sets, along with separate sales, publishing and customer service departments, on the same technological page.

Case Study: Nu Skin experienced the need for flexible, usable marketing technology as its company grew to include roughly 800,000 distributors across international markets. Their team coordinates over 50 websites in even more languages presenting a discrete range of products available to each location. Their initial web content management system required a lot of heavy lifting from IT, and greatly impeded sales and marketing from making real-time content updates.

With very few physical locations, Nu Skin relies on their websites to house a comprehensive, engaging, branded customer experience. Their current solution allows them to perform updates and content creation across all sites from a single interface, and to geo-target visitors. Finding an easy-to-use tech solution freed up IT, and allowed the marketers to own real time content creation.

Takeaway: Focus on acquiring user friendly technology that reaches the individual customer in more ways than one. First identify what’s most important to your audience, then seek an intuitive system that can grow with your team.

2. You Aren’t Following the Customer Across Their Journey

The Problem: In our postdigital world, it is increasingly important to be omnichannel, so we can seamlessly follow individuals from smartphone to tablet to desktop to in store and more. This goes beyond merely being present in each of these channels: marketers need the tools to model and measure at each touchpoint in order to be empowered to deliver the right content at the right time to the right individual.

Case StudyA major U.S. bank discovered that even though its customers were less likely to visit a location for in person banking, they still wanted the face-to-face experience of a “neighborhood branch.” This bank, along with multiple others, introduced video conferencing to offer real time, personal service with the added convenience of online access and extended business hours. After implementing a “virtual teller system” with video conferencing at ATMs, one bank found that 60 percent of its transactions took place outside of standard business hours.

Saks Fifth Avenue offers another case of adopting new content management tools to extend their brand’s reach. By listening to customers, they learned that shoppers tote their mobile and tablet devices in store to research products and make comparisons. Saks Fifth Avenue rolled out a mobile optimized website and iPad app, tagged clothing with QR codes that linked to videos and reviews, and created a seamless connection between in store browsing with online buying.

Takeaway: Your audience is already blending digital and physical experiences across their journey. The goal of marketing technology is to form a bridge between you and customers and open channels for meaningful engagement.

3. You Aren’t Using Data to Listen to Your Customers

The Problem: Following customers across their journey first requires that you listen and measure behavior. Gathering and analyzing data is where many companies get hung up, preventing them from ever reaching the next stage of targeted engagement. To listen to your visitors and quickly optimize on customer responsive goals, you need sophisticated technology. Sophisticated doesn't have to mean complicated or unaffordable; it does mean smart and advanced.

Case Study: Audi began measuring visitors throughout their site and developing ways to best guide them in their journeys. Measuring online visitor behavior enabled the luxury brand to make data driven decisions, and offer more relevant information page to page. As they continued to look deeper into their data, they discovered they could go beyond real time optimization to actually predict what cars will be ordered in a region in the near term. Remarkably, the online data is even improving the on-the-lot shopping experience, as Audi can make the most desired vehicle models and parts available to each unique region.

TakeawayUse data to measure what your customer experience is like across channels and discover where it’s lacking, then create relevant KPIs to address these disparities.

Fulfill Your Promises and Deliver Relevant Experiences

Bottom line: the technology you choose should support your unique customer experience strategies and deliver relevance across devices. This is no small challenge or quick fix -- today, marketers must expect to continually evolve alongside customers and technology. Put the customer at the center of your investments, focusing on integrated, omnichannel, personalized service and support.

Title image by Howard Marsh (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: Read more from Loni in 3 Imperatives to Ensure Your Mobile Experience is Future-Proof