Let’s all repeat it together: The traditional “customer journey” is dead!
The way customers engage with brands is now dynamic and somewhat unpredictable, yet they expect to be served with a relevant experience in real time every time they interact with a brand. It can be more challenging now to really understand your customers’ needs and provide the appropriate, device-centric, contextually-accurate experiences they’ve come to expect.
The reason for this conundrum is simple—data. Or rather, the inability of brands to make sense of their data.
Just a few years ago in 2018, more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were created every single day, and that number is expected to reach 463 exabytes per day by 2025. (An exabyte is equal to approximately one quintillion bytes.)
This enormous amount of data includes customer behavioral, transactional, financial, and demographic data, most of which resides in silos across many different organizational and geographic boundaries. And then there are the various systems, such as CRM, POS, web analytics, service ticketing, marketing automation, commerce, and more.
This separation of customer data—and the inability to cultivate meaningful customer insights from it—is the number one barrier preventing companies from delivering exceptional customer experiences.
Today’s customer data solutions fall short
Thousands of different marketing technologies promise a solution to this problem. This in itself is a problem because the customer experience is not limited to marketing. Many of today’s solutions are too narrowly focused and don’t consider the end-to-end customer experience across marketing, sales, customer service, customer loyalty, and more.
Let’s consider customer data platforms (CDP), a popular packaged software solution that creates a comprehensive customer database accessible by other systems to analyze, track, and manage customer interactions. Unfortunately, many of today’s CDPs, along with data lakes and service providers, don’t go far enough to address CX professionals’ real concerns and fall short in one or more areas:
- They‘re limited in their scope to a few marketing-specific use cases.
- They’re “data storage”-centric.
- They struggle with stitching together large amounts of data and profiles.
- They lack the artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities that can make sense of massive amounts of data.
Additionally, they tend to have limited direct integrations with marketing, sales, and service applications for using the data to influence the customer experience in a contextually rich way.
But CX professionals care about understanding their customers better and using that customer intelligence to engage with them in a more relevant way across every interaction. Their goals: greater customer satisfaction, increased customer lifetime value, and stronger brand loyalty.
It’s time for a data-first approach
So how should brands think about solving this big data challenge? It’s critical to shift from a customer journey-centric view to a data-first approach, where the customer is truly the focus. Such a move enables CX professionals to change the dialogue with their customers from being very predictable and transactional to incredibly responsive and conversational.
Making this transformation requires customer data that’s real-time, intelligent, and predictive to deliver the most relevant, in-the-moment, and personalized customer experiences at scale.
Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform
We’ve actively invested in addressing these issues for our customers, helping them connect data sources, get more value from their data assets, and enrich their data to deliver highly-personalized experiences at every touchpoint of the customer journey.
Embedded within Oracle CX Cloud, Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform enables contextually rich individualized engagements by connecting data, intelligence, and outcomes across the entire customer experience. It applies data-driven intelligence to determine the next best experience by feeding those actions directly into Oracle and partner applications.
If a customer interacts with a service agent to report an issue, for example, it’s important the agent know that this is a high-value customer who just made a major purchase, which would come from the sales team. This collaborative, connected approach enables the brand to optimize how they engage with their customers, improve customer satisfaction, and increase customer lifetime value.
Oracle Unity Customer Data Platform enables organizations to react and respond to the unknowns and optimize how they engage with their customers during each and every interaction.
- Connected Data: Oracle Unity simplifies the consolidation of offline, online, and third-party individual-level customer data from all disparate systems in real time into a dynamic and connected profile.
- Connected Intelligence: Oracle Unity leverages AI and machine learning to add an intelligence layer on top of the data to contextually derive the best customer experience.
- Connected Experience: Because Oracle Unity is embedded within Oracle Cloud CX, it can activate individualized experiences across the entire customer journey—from marketing to sales to service.
We’re excited about the value Oracle Unity delivers to our customers and its ability to enable CX professionals across all industries to deliver contextually aware, highly-personalized experiences that delight customers whenever and however they engage with your brand.
The results will speak for themselves—happier, more loyal customers who are likely to become advocates for your brand.
To learn more, see Oracle Unity in action with an interactive demo.
Post originally published in 2018; updated June 2021.
This post originally appeared on the Oracle CX Blog.