Like many busy professionals, I shop online. Recently I’ve noticed those items I’ve looked at on, for example, the Neiman Marcus website follow me around the internet as I surf for information related to my work. This doesn’t work for me. The context is all wrong. I am not shopping for shoes while I am reading a blog about the new category of insight software. The relationship between me and the shoes may be right – Google has correlated my action, though not interpreted it. I actually did not like that pair of shoes and not only is the context wrong, the shoes are no longer relevant to me. They now irritate me, following me around the web for a couple of days. Now I have a not-so-good feeling about Neiman Marcus.
Clearly we all know that the customer experience runs across all channels and all front-line employees; however the website is arguably the most important channel for many organizations—and not just for e-commerce, but for complex, B2B products and services as well.
Your website is your best brand representation and should reflect your knowledge of your customers and adjust quickly to each and every customer (and it goes without saying about your own products and services, as well as how the customer is using them and whether or not he or she is satisfied). After all, as we see with my Neiman Marcus example, consumers – who are often times also B2B buyers—are beginning to experience the correlation of their actions with the information served up to them on the internet. Customers expect the same experience on your website that they may get on the internet at large—only better, because they know you, and you should know them. And yet, both experience and research shows that companies are struggling to provide that personalized, one-to-one experience on their website.
Luckily, Insight technology can “know” much more about your customer than the Neiman Marcus website knows about me. It can understand the customer or prospect’s history, their level of knowledge about your company’s products and services, level of satisfaction (do I like that pair of shoes I looked at?), the customer’s interactions on social media sites and communities, and their interactions with all front-line employees at your company, in customer service, sales, marketing, etc. It can also correlate this information with other similar customers and more, helping customers to learn from each other.
Why is this important? So that the technology can instantly assemble contextually relevant information from all sources, and provide it in a meaningful “conversation” with the customer or prospect via the website. (And by the way, this is the same information, though perhaps abridged, that your sales person or customer service agent will see when interacting with the customer or prospect, providing that consistent, end-to-end brand experience which is so elusive to marketers.)
What about you? Have you been “stalked” by items you didn’t want, on the internet? How did it impact your perception of that brand? How do you provide a more contextually relevant experience for your B2B customers?