happy customer

How can you meet rapidly rising customer expectations while boosting your bottom line? Michael Von der Geest, TMT partner at EY, explains how using digital strategies to transform customer experience can deliver immediate benefits.

Customers expect more and they want it now. There are several factors behind this trend, but all are digitally driven. Consumers are used to real-time experiences, social interaction and instant information, accessed through multiple channels. Contrast the demands of the always-on mobile user with the traditional 9-5 office or high street models and it’s clear there is a yawning gap between traditional modes of customer service and current expectations.

While closing this gap can be a challenge for any business, especially at a time when margins are under pressure, it also represents a huge opportunity. Those who can provide the richest and most rewarding customer experience can not only differentiate themselves in the market, but also boost revenues. Our recent award-winning work with FTSE 100-listed company Informa shows that customers who feel more valued can also deliver greater value.

With the stakes so high, it’s no surprise that finding and keeping people with the best digital skills to engage, attract and retain customers isn’t easy. While it is a highly scientific process, from research through to design and implementation, it’s also something of an art. Few companies have the in-house capacity to create that step change, or the time and funds to recruit and manage a new team to deliver it. That’s one of the reasons why EY is increasingly called on to work closely with businesses to rapidly accelerate change in customer experience.

Getting results with Informa

Informa’s Knowledge and Networking division is responsible for hundreds of high-profile conferences and events every year. This has given them a huge customer database built around their physical events, which they wanted to transform into an always-on digital network. This could bring customers closer to each other, through online communities, and closer to Informa, who would be better able to understand and deliver their needs. The transformation would also boost digital sales and enable cross selling.

The first step was to get to the heart of customer needs. Our team worked with Informa on a shared mission to identify behaviours, journeys and segmentation. With over 2,000 different events running off a variety of platforms it was clear that a single platform was needed, which could be easily and automatically tailored for current and new events. To make this happen, we built and led a team of skilled individuals and market-leading third party providers (including a branding agency and technology developer).

We also helped to develop and embed a new, sustainable approach to content and marketing by overhauling skills, using new digital tools and creating a centre of excellence to target and engage with audiences. Throughout the process, a ‘test and learn’ approach was adopted to help make the best evidence-based choices.

Better valued customers are more valuable

Right from the outset, Informa and EY were focused on outcomes. We wanted to make sure that customers’ enhanced online experience would translate to greater sales. The statistics showed a revolution in digital marketing. Conversion rates more than trebled, the amount of time spent on Informa websites jumped by nearly 40% and the number of users accessing the site via social media increased by 20%. Most importantly, the proportion of Informa’s digital revenues grew dramatically.

The benefits extended beyond these metrics, helping to shape Informa’s long-term growth strategy by embedding a more ‘digital first’ culture into the business that has made it easier for new products and services to be brought to market quicker.

Industry recognition

The value of EY’s support for Informa was recognised at the 2017 MCA Awards, where the project beat tough competition to be named the winner in the Customer Engagement category.

EY enables organisations to grow their top lines and improve margins by creating deep customer, market and competitor insights, developing compelling offerings and a differentiated customer experience. Our ability to leverage data, analytics and new technologies means we can help you identify the best ways to reach, engage, attract, serve and retain customers.

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