Thoughts on 2019 Customer Experience Trends to Follow

We’ve talked about “customer experience” here on our blog before. The concept of “experience” isn’t new to us, or you, as marketers and service-industry folks. But, we try to stay ahead of how concepts like customer experience are evolving and changing as our world and our industry change. In our industry research and product development, we read and think a lot about changing expectations and realities for consumers.

As we enter 2019, there are a few themes that we’ve been thinking about that are relevant to our clients and subscribers and how they think about their business and their customer’s experience.

The Demand for More Personalization

It’s likely that you’re drowning in customer data. The abundance of demographic, sales, fulfillment, behavior, and preference data available to businesses is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Businesses who figure out how to organize customer data into a single contact view are in a better position to create a great customer experience. However, with disparate systems collecting the data, it’s a lot of work to marry all of your insights back to a single customer.

2019 is the year to tackle this challenge. As consumers become more and more familiar and comfortable with big brands’ highly-personalized marketing and sales approaches, they are going to more fully expect the same from every brand that they interact with. Companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Google are defining customer expectations. They deliver consistent, personalized, and predictive service and products.

That doesn’t mean that you need to predict the wine that your customer wants, but it does mean that it would be in your best interest to at least collect all of the information that your customer has in one central location so that you can provide personalized suggestions and offers.

The more that you can tailor your service, communications, allocations, and customer offers to the unique expectations and preferences of your customers, the more they will trust you and the stronger their loyalty will become.

A good first step to centralizing your data is to clean up the customer data you currently have. Make sure that you have accurate and complete contact and preference data for your customers. Then, take a look at all of the systems you use and consider how you can improve the connection between those systems to marry your data.

You might also be interested in How Wineries and Breweries Can Leverage Data.

Continued Evolution in Digital and Technology

Technology is ubiquitous in business at this point. It’s not going anywhere, and the investment in it is showing no signs of slowing down. Sometimes businesses approach technology adoption as if there’s an end-point. It’s helpful if you recognize that there’s not. Software—its capabilities and how your company uses it—is forever evolving. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself investing time and money in technology this year, and the next year, and the next!

As you adopt new software systems and institute them at your winery or brewery, there are a couple of things that you should consider to get the most out of your investment of time and money.

Learn best practices for selecting your technology partners by enrolling in our Guide to Choosing DTC Vendors educational series.

First—No one system solves all business problems.

Each winery or brewery is different. Their tasting room, club configuration, allocation program, fulfillment process, accounting systems, and compliance approaches are all unique. The unique needs of this industry is likely why there are hundreds of software platforms that serve wineries and breweries. The solution here is to find systems that work for your business and play nicely with other platforms. This can be accomplished by adopting software that has open APIs and webhooks that allow you to send information back and forth between platforms and use logic to trigger actions across systems. We will share more insight on the topic of open-software, but for now, know that you should be looking for flexibility in your software.

Learn about the benefits of the hub-and-spoke model.

Second—Software should make your life easier.

With systems that work for you, your business should have the ability to quickly leverage automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to handle several areas of your business. One of the members of our development team recently wrote an article on the topic of technology in the industry. There are a variety of ways that you can leverage the data you’re collecting and the systems you’ve implemented to support personalization, operations, sales, etc.

A few simple examples are:

  • Customizing product offers, allocations, and add-ons in your eCommerce experience

  • Automating email communications with your customers and leads

  • Using live chat and personalization on your website to handle reservations, common questions, and customization

If your software is working together, smartly, you will experience huge benefits like better data organization, more personalization, and ultimately more customer satisfaction and sales. Just know that these benefits don’t happen overnight and they aren’t easy to come by. Continue to invest in your technology and embrace the evolution.

It can sometimes feel overwhelming to consider all the work it takes to keep up with consumer expectations and technology advances. Know that we’re here for you as a resource, and we plan to publish much more on these topics this year. If you have questions or want us to cover a specific issue, let us know!

Andrea Steffes-Tuttle