A New Look at Diversity to Massively Improve CX
In the complex world of digital customer experiences (CX), brands are working hard to understand customer intent and meet growing demands for personalization. There’s no shortage of customer data, but finding and extracting the right data to be able to deliver on customer expectations remains a challenge. There are an alarming number of statistics that support this view; here are just two:
- 43% of businesses see accurate real-time data as the biggest challenge to personalization
- 85% of businesses believe they’re offering personalized customer experiences, but only 60% of customers agree.
Adoption of online shopping continues to grow significantly and with it the spectrum of digital consumers has broadened. It’s not just the young tech savvy professionals, older generations that traditionally shopped in-store are loving the convenience of being able to shop with a click and receive deliveries at home.
Buying behavior has evolved too. Even if consumers choose to return to shop in-store, a digital element remains. They’ve either already done their research online or they seek to reaffirm their buying decision by comparing prices between competitors online.
These factors highlight the importance of consistently working to understand and build connections with consumers throughout the customer journey and at every digital touchpoint.
Understanding how diversity impacts personalization and CX
Too often brands define their ideal customers according to specific demographic attributes or target segments, but that can bring with it a great deal of bias and exclude a significant number of potential consumers. Demographics are far too broad to provide any meaningful insight about the intent and buying behavior, especially when aiming to personalize digital experiences.
When the topic of diversity is brought up, it’s often to address inequalities related to ethnic heritage, the LGBQT+ community, or gender in society. But when considering customer experience (CX) true diversity needs to reach beyond that to older and younger generations that are not part of the workforce as well as people with mental or physical disabilities.
If brands truly wish to get serious about personalization as a strategy to improve CX, the mindset towards customer segmentation and diversity needs to be broadened and redefined. Today’s consumers don’t need to have a personal computer to be able to shop online. All they need is a smartphone or tablet, which broadens the consumer base even further. When optimizing CX for mobile, it’s not enough to take into consideration how consumers shop on mobile devices. Making a conscious effort to connect with a more diverse consumer audience, on a one-one basis, through personalization has the potential to leapfrog a competitive advantage. Here’s why:
Diversity makes business sense
An Accenture report highlights the business opportunity targeting customers with disabilities. It quotes: “The US discretionary income for working age persons with disabilities is $21 billion—greater than that of the African-American and Hispanic segments combined.”
This shows that diversity isn’t just about furthering the ideal of greater inclusivity. There is strong evidence in support of diversity and inclusivity as a business case. Further statistics:
- Racial and ethnic diversity within a company can translate to a 35% industry advantage (McKinsey)
- Gender diversity accounts for an additional 15% above industry performance (McKinsey)
- 85% of CEOs leading companies with a diverse culture noticed increased profits (Fundera)
- Diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions (Fundera)
- Diverse teams are 70% more likely to capture new markets (Fundera)
While these statistics relate to having a diverse culture within a company, take into consideration the potential impact the last statistic holds in terms of CX and personalization. Brands are constantly seeking to expand their market share and understand what consumers are looking for in terms of personalization.
Having a diverse team that can offer different perspectives and ideas for improving CX and connecting with potential customers with different needs can be a huge competitive advantage. When this is then supported by a strategy of experimentation, brands can significantly accelerate their market growth and penetration.
How to achieve broader diversity and greater personalization:
Most companies are already struggling to achieve personalization that meets customer expectations. Adding the idea to broaden the target audience while attempting to personalize at scale may seem counterintuitive. But it is made possible through technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). Complexity and vast volumes of data may frustrate humans, but AI loves it! In fact increased complexity only serves to make AI-driven experience optimization more efficient. Through continuous experimentation, it becomes possible to gain valuable insights quickly which can be used to personalize online shopping experiences.
The idea with experimentation is to find out what ideas visitors are responding to as they browse. This informs better ways to serve more relevant information as they progress further along the customer journey. When a diverse perspective is added, it helps to fine tune the user experience (UX) to better connect with different types of visitors and needs. As awareness of diversity and inclusivity grows, digital shopping experiences that connect with individuals on a personal level, regardless of their background, level of education, abilities or earning capacity are what will make the most impact.
AI-driven experience optimization comes in as the enabler that makes this possible. For example: On a product detail page (PDP), AI can serve thousands of unique combinations of ideas based on a handful of variables. This can include elements such as the size and location of the product image, the add to cart CTA button, the product description, customer reviews or shipping information. By learning from live visitor responses to ideas, AI identifies the top performing ideas. New ideas and combinations can then be added to improve the top performers even more.
This type of experimentation doesn’t know a visitor’s background, it only sees what they respond to. In this way, AI-driven experience optimization helps brands reduce bias in the UX, improve customer experience, and gain a better understanding of what consumers want. Authentic connections come from understanding what’s meaningful. When consumers feel valued and understood through the experiences they have with a brand it has a major impact on their decision to buy.