A truly great consumer journey focuses not only on the apparent touch points — such as the registration or live chat — but also on how any lead, prospect, or customer feels after having interacted with your brand.
Be it answering an initial query, guiding a prospective buyer through the finer points of a free trial, or helping them upgrade a subscription, the customer should always feel like they are being heard and valued.
At the same time, the buyers of today have more options than ever before. If a brand falls short even slightly, the customer can just do their business somewhere else. It is that competitive.
Building a solid relationship that resists such switches calls for trust — and trust calls for not only an excellent product or service but also transparency when communicating, which can be achieved when there are proper systems in place to track all data points during the customer journey.
But wait, what is transparency exactly?
In the customer context, transparency basically means being clear, honest, and timely in all customer communications. It extends to good news (“you are eligible for a 20% discount on our services for a year”), bad news (“the item you ordered is not available in that color”), and general updates (“we have launched new product features.”)
Transparency plays an equally important role in sales, especially when you are making contracts and negotiating pricing with SLAs. Ensuring clear and timely communication with the customers and stakeholders during sales contract management is a vital aspect of the customer life cycle that also helps maximize revenues.
Besides, transparency includes clear disclosure about company policies, such as with regard to returns or data usage, and consistently asking for customer feedback. Clarity happens when everything in the company is documented and processed adequately. So, how does data transparency play a critical role in building connected consumer journeys? Let us find out.
The Benefits of Customer Transparency
Being transparent, of course, is the morally decent thing to do for companies and individuals alike. But here is how ensuring data transparency, specifically in a consumer journey, can bring concrete business benefits:
1. Greater organizational unity
Better performance across departments calls for a shared vision of what to aim for. And that extends to production, supply chain, PR, and finance all the way up to the C-suite, not just the customer service department. When you have access to the top metrics on how every department is functioning, the approach helps break silos and bring people together to collaborate on better ways to deliver. It also helps improve employee satisfaction, as everyone feels like they are a part of a common cause.
2. Better performance
Committing to transparency requires every department to step up, from product design or service quality to customer delivery. Greater efficiency at each stage translates to higher offering quality and faster customer requirement fulfillment.
When you know where your departments are lacking and what their strong points are, it just makes it easier to make changes quickly and service customers accordingly.
3. Improved sales revenues
What happens when your company has a shared vision, delivers consistently, and garners a strong reputation? More conversions, of course. Today’s customers keep themselves informed, and companies that are not communicative enough or post dubious information will soon find themselves outed. Invest in transparency, and it will quickly reflect in your sales figures.
4. Better brand reputation
When your company has an eye on all things critical to your growth and customer satisfaction, your brand reputation will automatically get a boost! In an age where concerns about customer data usage are rampant, a company that is clear about what it does instantly gains favor. The more you are known to the public as a trustworthy brand, the more likely customers will be to come to you.
How Data Can Enhance Transparency (and the Consumer Journey)?
Data is your most valuable resource when it comes to enhancing customer transparency. But how exactly can your company sort and apply all the data you collect from different customer touchpoints? Here are some actionable ideas:
1. Near-perfect customer mapping
What path do your customers follow when exploring your brand? Perhaps they see a Story ad on Instagram and swipe up to check out your services page. Or maybe they interact with a chatbot and then sign up to receive email notifications.
With customer data, you can map these different trajectories and make observations about which categories of customers are most likely to choose a specific trajectory. This also lets you see what is working well and what you could be better at in the future.
2. Progressive profiling
The last few years have seen a growth in the use of progressive profiling, or the ability to use data to learn about customers and help them find what they're looking for. And with the rise in lead generation and customer journey management, it's more important than ever for enterprises to consider progressive profiling.
This data can also help you come up with innovative ways to engage customers, such as immersive VR experiences that let them ‘try on’ a product or ‘walk through’ a showroom. Plus, the right data helps you be more transparent with your customers at the touchpoints where it’s needed the most.
3. Efficient decision-making
Based on the data and the consumer journeys you have mapped, you can make informed decisions about what to improve. For instance, if your customer service hotline is bringing in good conversions, you could consider expanding your support team. Or, if chatbots are the preferred way of conversing, you could install them across your social media channels so that customers everywhere can reach you.
This is the age of customer-centric marketing and sales. Shift the focus from your offerings to what your buyers actually demand.
4. Trends prediction
Staying ahead of demand and supply patterns is what sets the best brands apart from the merely okay. Data can help you identify patterns that let you tweak your sourcing and inventory strategies while also planning marketing campaigns up to several seasons in advance. It also enables you to prepare for unusual spikes or drops in demand so that you are ready if unforeseen situations arise.
5. Optimal pricing
Are your customers paying the best price for your products or services? Given how volatile markets can be, demand can shift in an instant, and your prices need to reflect that. Real-time pricing data can help you stay in touch with trends and set the right price, whether you are trying to sell out stocks or have a limited-edition piece that has gone viral.
This also helps with transparency, as customers can check the exact extent of the deal they are getting at any point.
In short, data transparency can boost your brand reputation and customer loyalty. Leveraging data allows you to see where clarity is needed the most and work collectively as an organization to deliver just that.
Remember, honesty is always the best policy — tell your customers the truth, even if that truth is not always the most pleasant. They will respect your integrity and like you the most for it in the long run. Rely on data transparency to deliver a complete end-to-end experience from the customer’s perspective. All the best!