In a new global survey we asked marketers to indicate which touchpoints their business treats as a central part of the customer experience (CX).

The results, reported in our Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing (QDIB) 2016 Digital Trends, showed that:

  • Nearly eight in ten (79%) said telephone support,
  • Three-quarters (75%) indicated retail outlets / stores,
  • And nearly three in five (58%) chose offline brand advertising.

It seems, therefore, that offline touchpoints are still very much on the minds of marketers.

How do offline touchpoints influence CX, though, and how well are brands are integrating offline with online data to improve their customers’ experiences?

To find out, Econsulancy recently invited dozens of client-side marketers in Jakarta, Indonesia to discuss this and other customer experience (CX) topics.  

About the roundtables

The roundtables covered three topics all related to CX and were moderated by subject matter experts from Econsultancy and our event sponsor IBM. 

Client-side marketers brought experiences from many different companies and industries and openly discussed their success stories and challenges with the group.

Below is a summary of the main talking points taken from the table with the topic Joining Offline and Online Channels Data.

Trends

Participants first discussed the industry trends which were driving an interest in online and offline channel data for improving customer experience.

1. Offline consumer behavior is being used to innovate

Brands are increasingly taking note of their customers’ behavior at multiple touchpoints as a way of gathering offline data.

One participant, from an FMCG brand, described how they partner with retail stores in order to get data on how customers interact with their products.  

Another from the tourism industry has relationships with events companies to do the same.

In both cases, the brands use offline and qualitative data in order to identify customer interests and pain points which help them improve their product and marketing strategies.

2. Brand touchpoints also being used to gather data

Other brands said that they are using their own offline touchpoints in order to map the customer journey.

One participant from the hospitality industry said that they collect data throughout a customer’s visit to their hotel.  

For each customer, the firm keeps track of the type of room booked, how the customer uses the room, and what the facilities the customer uses when they stay at the hotel.

The online and offline data is compiled and analysed to create a complete customer profile.

Then, with this profile the hospitality group can provide better services and market more effectively to each of their customers.

3. The importance of content is increasing

Many brands now use content in order to attract customers, find out what they are interested in, and deliver them the information they need to have a great brand experience.

Because of content’s multiple uses, it’s not a surprise to see that, in a recent Econsultancy survey, marketers in South-East Asia indicated that content marketing was the most likely programme to keep its budget in 2016.

One attendee from the building industry noted that new technology, such as virtual reality (VR), will only make content more popular with marketing departments.

He said that providing VR tours of properties will revolutionize the experience customers have with property firms.

The data which will be available from such experiential content will be incredibly valuable for marketers in the future.

Challenges

But along with trends which are helping marketers make more use of online and offline channels, attendees noted that there were challenges as well.

1. Data silos

Participants noted that internal departments tend to keep hold of their own data, and so marketers find it difficult to integrate the data necessary to get a holistic view of the customer journey.

However it’s important to address this challenge head on, according to one participant, as internal data integration is the best way to improve marketing strategy and, as a result, the experience you provide to customers.

2. Outdated database technology

Another challenge that marketers faced was that the database technology used by many of the firms was out-of-date and not suitable for developing a single view of the customer. 

Others agreed. Participants from our Customer Experience Management table noted that having a high-quality CRM was key to moving forward with CX initiatives.

This point was reinforced by a participant from the telco industry who said that obtaining and utilizing big data is essentially the ‘holy grail’ of CX.  The more detail you can obtain about how your customers use your services, the better.

So it was overwhelmingly agreed that old database technology was a challenge which had to be addressed by marketers.

3. The not-yet-digital customers

Though Indonesia is rapidly coming online, only approximately 20% of the population use the internet regularly. 

This is another challenge for marketers as it means that a lot of the data they need to improve CX will be locked up in offline channels and touchpoints.

No quick solutions were offered for this challenge, but one participant noted that the tools to collect and manage offline data were still too expensive for his company.

Best Practices

Attendees also listed a couple of best practices for improving how marketers gather and utilize online and offline data in order to improve CX.

1. Convince the C-level that CX is important

After hearing about the difficulty and expense of gathering and analysing data, most participants agreed that improving CX requires buy-in from the top.

In order to do this, marketers have to first come up with the measurement metrics that management look for when deciding whether to invest in technology.

As both online and offline data offer the potential to improve CX and increase revenue, marketers should incorporate the ‘data story’ into future requests for increase in technology budget.

2. Prioritize on improving CX

Finally, participants said that the priority should be on using data in order to understand the customer journey, the pain points, and the interest customers have in the various aspects of what our brands offer.

Too often, one asserted, marketers are busy chasing creative ideas or testing out a new channel and forgetting about what we are all here for, providing a better service for our customers.

By working harder on gathering and utilizing our online and offline customer data and spending less time blasting irrelevant message out to them, our marketing should improve CX metrics and improve other KPIs as well.

A word of thanks

Econsultancy would like to thank all of the client-side marketers who participated on the day and our sponsor for the event, IBM.

We would like to extend a special thanks to the table moderator for the Joining Up Online and Offline Channels Data table, Pungkas Riandika, Corporate Head of Digital Marketing at Kawanlama Retail.

We appreciate all of the helpful discussion points participants provided on the day and we hope to see you all at our upcoming Econsultancy events!