Touchpoint Anarchy: Brands Failing To Use Data To Drive An Omnichannel Experience

Brands may be skilled at operating in single channels. But they need to use data from all touchpoints to create a true omnichannel environment. And too few are, judging by Connected Experiences Are Personalized Experiences, a study by Forrester, commissioned by Lucidworks.

For instance, only 45% of firms are leveraging data derived from email to fuel strategic decisions, although email is the top medium used here. 

Too often, companies place email in a silo and look at it “in isolation from other workflows,” said Brendan Witcher, vice president, principal analyst, Forrester, during a Thursday morning webinar on the study.

Witcher urged brands to find out “what in emails can be used as strategic points to feed other channels.” In addition, he said, they should “think of email not only as an engagement channel but as a data collection point with potential for all channels,” he added.

This is easier said than done. Only 44% strongly agree that they provide personalized experiences across channels. And a mere 33% say those experiences are relevant and connected, the study reports.  



More dauntingly, 97% admit they face obstacles in understanding customer intent in order to deliver personalized experiences.  

Specifically, firms face these challenges in serving customers over digital channels: 

  • Data quality challenges — 78%
  • Data access challenges — 55% 
  • Data insights challenge — 44%
  • No data challenge — 2%

And whatever their issues, many are failing to utilize data from many voice-of-customer (VOC) touchpoints for driving strategy. After email, the touchpoints being used for this purpose are:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) — 41%
  • Website search — 40%
  • Contact center — 38% 
  • Online reviews — 37%
  • Website behavior — 37%
  • Social media — 37%
  • Live chat — 37% 
  • Onsite customer surveys — 37%

Of course, this study focuses largely on search. And while it found that 45% of firms are able to understand real-time intent from search data, “55% said otherwise, so they’re not able to do this,” Witcher noted. “They’re limited in the ability to create connective tissue between omnichannel experiences.”

What should you do? The study advises marketers to:

  • Redefine search to achieve top-level business objectives 
  • Apply ML to get customer intent for delivering relevancy and value. 
  • Combine search optimization with personalization and omnichannel initiatives
  • Use the clarity and color of search data as a competitive weapon 
  • Improve the employee experience  to achieve a better customer experience  

Marketers should not try to surprise and delight anyone to solve their pain points. Sending happy birthday messages and putting their name on a home page won’t do it. 

Can firms in any vertical achieve omnichannel personalization at scale? Of course, except perhaps for the most commoditized brands. “You’re never going to go wrong with a better understanding of your customer,” Witcher concluded.

Forrester surveyed 355 global business decision makers that are responsible for data and search.



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