Brands often ask us, what makes the ideal digital platform to deliver brilliant customer experiences (CX) and get ahead of their rivals?
The truth is, there are a huge number of components that make up perfect journeys, from choosing the right digital platform, to creating the right content and delivering personalised communications.
How you select the right technology for your business also counts. Right now, headless CMS leads the field in delivering better CX - but with AI flying, change is on the cards.
To find out more, we spoke to Zbysek Nemec - VP Engineering at MMT’s partner technology company, Kontent.ai.
What do consumers see as the ideal digital platform in 2023?
After Covid there’s much more demand for digital. Consumers are focused on having seamless and meaningful interactions across a website. That doesn’t just mean using a chatbot: thanks to AI, people want a ‘total experience’. In other words, as ‘human’ as it’s possible for a two-dimensional website or app to be. Accessibility for all audiences is also key.
Then, of course there is personalisation. Businesses need to offer products and solutions that their customers want. To do that, you must know your customer as an individual. It’s the first step to success.
For example, I visited an online store and the whole experience was handled through a chatbot. I typed in what I needed into the chat window and it walked me through to purchase. In a store, that might have taken me hours - comparing products, talking to staff - but it took me five minutes. People expect that nowadays.
So, how good are brands at providing the ideal CX?
Sadly, most brands still lag behind target audience expectations. The idea of building personalised experiences has been around for at least a decade, but it’s so difficult to get right. Technology has improved so that digital platforms provide a valuable experience to customers, but real personalisation remains very difficult.
That said, I think seamless experience is improving. Companies are getting much better at it, and also at keeping the customer experience ‘on brand’. When you really know a brand as a customer, you want aspects of that brand to be familiar during your interactions. That consistency makes the experience smooth.
How can brands improve personalisation of the customer experience?
Personalisation - that deep level of CX - is usually considered a later stage of the project by brands. It’s just not prioritised. In order to succeed at personalisation, brands should consciously decide to invest in their digital transformation - having the best digital platform, offering the best experience they can in order to increase engagement - or they risk losing customers.
The second thing to consider is the approach you take. Brands tend to assume personalisation is easy, and get discouraged after realising it actually requires a lot of complex and involved work.
Another reason for failure is brands not being able to get hold of the data that would enable them to have a clear picture of what customers want. Then there is just keeping up with what the customer wants.
The good news is, with the rise of AI, personalisation will inevitably get easier. Brands just need to look again at their approach. Continuous improvement of CX and personalisation must be a core part of any digital strategy, not simply one hurdle to jump at some stage. Tackling bad customer experience down the line is more difficult than taking the informed path from the start.
And this doesn’t just apply to ecommerce, does it?
Ecommerce is an obvious sector where you need to deliver tailored CX, but it’s true everywhere in B2C as well as B2B: health tech, fintech, education, you name it.
As a consumer of products, services and information, you want to find the information that’s most relevant to you, your demographic and your life situation, as quickly as possible.
As an organisation, the first and most important step is to identify your audience - who you’re talking to - then map a seamless online journey. A targeted, personalised digital experience is built on these four pillars: objectives, strategy, roadmap and implementation.
How does a CMS play into the personalisation strategy, and what technology is involved?
The landscape is changing rapidly. The headless CMS serves content through all of your digital channels while tailoring and personalising the experience, without the need to worry about the complicated technology. It's all delivered by Software as a Service.
Through integrations and APIs, content is connected, reached and delivered to multiple channels. That’s true whether the content is used internally or externally for customers.
AI is making everyone reconsider the content creation and distribution process. Kontent.ai sees this as the main topic - we’re rethinking the whole user experience around how content is created and what the software can do. You can make that work instantly: new, meaningful and unique content in a couple of minutes, even translated in a couple of seconds. That’s providing value to consumers, rather than just generic content.
What’s the importance of having the right customer data in delivering such content?
This is a question of composability. You should always try to connect best-of-breed tools. The CMS is there to create and distribute content in the most meaningful way. But content doesn’t exist on its own; there are a lot of other things to consider.
For instance, how do you store and manage your digital assets? It should be part of the content strategy but also a standalone solution. How are you handling business data, in an ERP or other system? It’s important to connect and integrate multiple systems that ultimately provide the most useful user experience via your digital platforms. If your organisation is not taking this approach, you’re paying for value within those systems that you never use, and that isn’t a good approach to take when budgets are being scrutinised.
And how do you consistently build your knowledge for a complete view of the market?
It’s not easy. Nowadays, talent retention is huge. Providing the right environment for someone to have a continuous learning experience, as well as a meaningful role is key.
Technology evolution never stops, it’s always advancing, so we need to keep learning. I hope that anyone who decides to spend their time training to be a tech expert, engineer or developer thinks this is the most fun and important part of their job - keeping up with change. It’s part of what we do.
To conclude, how does the technology we’ve discussed provide perfect CX?
Today, companies have a huge amount of data. But how will they leverage it? AI is really good at analysing the data, learning from it, and providing great experiences by displaying the products that consumers are really interested in. That’s true personalisation.
Previously, we tried to do this manually: visitor scoring, putting them into buckets and trying to personalise sites that way. AI can do that in a fraction of the time, in any language, semi-automatically. It’s a huge step forward from traditional and headless CMS, what we could call ‘next-gen CMS’. The possibilities are endless.
If you would like to learn more about Kontent.ai headless CMS and how it can benefit your organisation, get in touch today to discuss how we can help.