It takes a data-led culture to meet escalating consumer demands for what we want, when we want it. Researchers and customer experience (CX) experts from two market leaders in the Australia and New Zealand region recently shared how organizations can overcome challenges to meet customer hopes, wants, and needs in the face of unrelenting market disruption.
Tech Narrows the CX Divide
Like everything else in the post-pandemic market, a personalized, seamless customer experience begins with data and ends with relevant action. However, a global CX survey conducted by Harvard Business Publishing showed significant gaps between organizational CX priorities and actual implementations.
For example, 99% of respondents agreed that delivering a high-quality customer experience was important to business performance. Yet fewer than one-third of executives said their organizations were very effective in delivering a good customer experience. In another gap, most respondents believed CX plays a key role in business performance, while only two-thirds of organizations had a clear, coherent customer experience strategy understood across the company. The top obstacles to delivering solid CX included organizational silos, lack of data integration and data quality, and the inability to find meaningful data.
“The bottom line is that consumers will continue to expect more from all companies in terms of choice, convenience, and personalization,” said Todd Pruzan, senior editor, Research and Special Projects, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. “To effectively deliver on CX, organizations must significantly narrow the gap between the implementation and adoption of technology. Firms need to be flexible with secure app development technology and data management infrastructure that can quickly scale to meet and anticipate customer demand.”
Learning from Zespri’s Connected Data-Driven Strategy
Zespri, the world’s largest marketer of kiwi fruit, relies on integrated data to drive product quality, improve worker productivity and responsiveness, and enhance the customer experience. Headquartered in New Zealand, the company’s digital-first strategy is built on connected enterprise resource planning (ERP) fundamentals, along with targeted innovations.
“We’re on the journey of a transformation program to simplify our business processes, standardize our master data, and really drive off that new SAP S/4HANA core capability,” said David Scullin, chief digital officer at Zespri. “We operate in a premium fruit market, making quality incredibly important as we measure every aspect of fruit and even ripen it through our supply chain.”
One innovation involves robotics that capture kiwi fruit images under their canopies. Data and insights produced from the images help Zespri predict fruit volumes. Future plans involve combining this data with orchard management, climate, and other internal and external data, which will allow the company to better predict fruit quality for supply chain optimization and improved consumer experience.
“Original business use cases change over time,” said Scullin. “You need that underlying capability to move ahead with change in sync with new use cases. It’s not just about analytics. High-quality data is the fuel of automated, productive, responsive processes – from vine to plate.”
How to Foster a Data-Driven Culture
To successfully compete in New Zealand’s retail energy market, Mercury became a data-led organization. A suite of advanced analytics powers the company’s evolving retail strategy and tactics. Mercury uses this constant feedback loop of data to proactively target at-risk customers, make customers more profitable, and deliver a better experience. By embedding data scientists and analysts within teams, Mercury makes data-driven decision-making an integral part of the entire customer experience process.
“We wanted to break out of that constant [customer] switching cycle for short-term gain without long-term profitability…to focus on acquiring and, more importantly, keeping those higher value customers,” said Julia Jack, chief marketing officer at Mercury. “We needed to understand who those customers were, what they wanted, and the real drivers of long-term customer value…We encourage [our] people to use the data to find the opportunity. It’s not just about justifying an already held belief. You have to ask the right questions and see where the data leads you.”
Quality Data Drives CX and Business Excellence
As every company has learned during the past year, technology fuels business resiliency. The good news from the same Harvard study was that 66% of respondents reported their technology kept workers connected with access to data and tools, and 47% said a big impact was the ability to continue improving CX – even during the pandemic.
The perfect customer experience will always be aspirational, but technology, applied correctly, can deliver the connected data organizations need for a personalized, meaningful customer experience.
Follow me: @smgaler