Customer experience (CX) is a term that is currently bathing in the spotlight. CX is the sum of the experiences a customer has with a supplier during all stages of the purchase funnel, before, during and post sale. Analysts and commentators who write about customer relationship management have increasingly recognized the importance of managing the customer's experience.
So what is it that we have come to learn from contemporary customers and what they want? The modern consumer wants consistent, comprehensive, cross-channel customer engagement of unified, connected and synchronized experiences. By focusing on the customer experience and their expectation, you have no choice but to play in all the channels and be a digital marketing organization. As a digital strategist, to me, the customer experience needs to consider a plethora of options: multi-channel, mobile, content marketing, social, personalization, localization, marketing automation, lifecycle targeting, rich media, big data and most importantly, being a listening brand.
My team has a catch phrase that we have been using for over three years now and it seems to keep us customer centric. When we are rolling out a new system, feature, application, instruction or process change, we ask "how does this make our customers' lives easier?" It's a simple habit but it brings us back to our objective of solving the end-users problem, not our own. If you're not looking at your business, at all the touch points from the eyes of the consumer, then you are not sustainable.
If you think about your customer and their problems and the way they want them solved, then you will naturally become more agile, innovative and you will market and engage with the appropriate content. You will have no choice but to start working more collaboratively and applying the right marketing technology to do so.
My advice is to change the digital mentality. If you don't have support and empowerment from the CEO then digital transformation will never work. With the CEO's support, as few as one person driving digital change can have a significant and tangible effect on the business. With granted autonomy from the CEO, focus on digital alignment, digital skills, solving the customers problems, digital enthusiasm and digital measurement.
Digital alignment is important; business unit objectives always need to be in line with the company goals, and it's no different with digital. Senior management support is integral, look to identify key champions and influencers. The CEO, executives and all staff need to believe that digital will contribute or even create competitive advantage. Explain digital, make it simple, and demonstrate what the goals are and why you made the decisions you did. Go out of your way to educate peers, especially the non-believers.
Digital skills continue to drive professional development, embed DNA principles in digital staff based around data, learning the skills of measurement, reporting, innovation and a testing culture. Take the right steps to increase the skills of all marketing team members, assess where they are from a digital knowledge perspective and focus on increasing it. I recently acquired an employee in my team from another department, chosen for his work ethic, attitude and ability; teaching digital was the easy part.
As demonstrated in my last point, enthusiasm is as important, if not more, than skills: people who believe and get excited learn skills rapidly. A team with confidence that has earned the respect of peers will receive additional investment through higher levels of executive support.
Always search for solutions that can deliver better customer experiences across all digital and contemporary channels by solving the customer's problems! Focus on customer experience management, at each stage of the new-school purchase funnel, look at all incremental stages of each project and ask "how does this make our customers' lives easier?"
The mobile web is gaining speed and accessibility and your customers are wanting you to join their online and physical worlds together. You need to actualize the shift in digital transformation and formulate a desire to test more digital programs to better reach and engage with a more digitally connected consumer. Big data is a challenge that has left few brands untouched by the velocity and overwhelming mass of structured and unstructured data. You will be on your way to big data if you are data-driven in your decision making, don't let the phrase scare you, use what you have already, start with free tools and what data you have available already. Test, be happy to fail, fail fast, measure and learn.
If consumers are empowered and engaged by a company, they are more likely to act as evangelists for a product without prompting. Key ingredients are digital alignment, digital skills, solving the customers problems, digital enthusiasm and digital measurement: the sum of these parts will ensure that your customers have the best possible experience across all channels and touch points.