Loyalty360 routinely speaks with brands about the critical importance of customer experience as a key differentiator among today’s loyalty marketers.

Last month, Julie Pukas, head of U.S. Bankcard and Merchant Services at TD Bank, told Loyalty360 that she believes the customer experience is built around customer expectations.

“We know that customers want experiences that are better and faster–and it’s up to the industry to ensure we can do that without sacrificing security,” Pukas explained. “We also know that consistently positive customer experiences breed customer loyalty, so within the industry, we need to focus on how we can deliver that in all channels–brick and mortar, online, and mobile. Consumers’ desire for seamless transactions is permeating every industry and there are some game-changers who are really upping the ante when it comes to payments and customer experience. The companies that will win will do so by prioritizing seamless and frictionless customer experiences.”

According to Insightly CEO Anthony Smith, customer relationship management (CRM) is entering a new era. With an increasing number of purchasing alternatives and lower than ever switching costs, customers will abandon businesses in an instant if they fail to meet their heightened expectations for service and delivery. It costs eight times more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones, yet legacy CRMs are designed around tracking leads and forecasting deals, not growing customer relationships or bringing their projects to completion.

The future of CRM lies in measuring, acting upon, and growing customer relationship intelligence using social, interactive peer-to-peer, and environmental signals.

“Customer expectations have changed dramatically in recent years,” said Smith. “They want deeper relationships with businesses, ones that go far beyond the purchase transaction. Legacy CRM systems are simply not equipped for this new world because they are designed to automate the internal workings of sales, service and marketing departments, not for building relationships with customers.”

The future of CRM lies in systems that extend well beyond the confines of traditional CRM to help businesses build better relationships across every touchpoint in the customer lifecycle. CRM tools using social data, communication frequency, omnichannel engagement and customer analytics can generate relationships scores for accounts and individual contacts, and graph their improvement or decline over time.
Customer experience is the new competitive battleground because customers have a diverse array of options in almost every product and service category. Every customer interaction matters because each one provides a chance to build a better relationship with that customer.

According to Forrester Research1, customer experience leaders enjoy 5.1X revenue growth compared to laggards; and customers who receive excellent experiences will pay 4.5X higher price premiums than those with poor ones

According to a 2016 Gartner survey, CEOs ranked the customer as the No. 2 priority on the strategic business priorities list, up from No. 4 the previous year.

According to Forrester, although 84 percent of firms aspire to become a customer experience leader, only one in five delivers good or great customer experience3. Inadequate CRM and salesforce automation (SFA) systems are often to blame.

Today’s best brands focus on building loyalty and trust through every customer interaction. Insightly enables relationship-centric companies to harness that vast stream of data to customize and personalize each customer’s experience, building brand loyalty, trust, and credibility in a fortuitous loop where every interaction deepens that customer relationship.

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