Marketers are beginning to realize that they can’t provide consistent, personalized experiences to their customers without understanding how their customers experience their brand across all of their customer touch points. In response, platform vendors are rapidly developing ways for web content management (WCM), analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), and marketing automation (MA) tools to work together to collect, measure and analyze customer insights. These solutions provide the sales, marketing and communication teams with the information they need to create the best possible digital experiences and ultimately better gauge and perfect the quality of the customer experiences they provide.

Two Major Payoffs

For large enterprises, getting a unified view of how customers perceive and interact with the brand across all digital touch points; i.e., managing the holistic customer experience, can be a challenge, but worth the effort. Where’s the payoff? There are two pretty significant ones that enterprises should note:

  1. Streamlined Targeting: Knowing which customer segment is interested in what product and service on which digital channel can significantly streamline how you target these audiences. In our experience, through personalization, companies can see increases of as much as 67% in direct conversions and 33% in cross-selling and up-selling.
  2. Optimized Marketing Mix: Measuring search and browsing behavior -- and asking your customers questions about their experience -- can guide content and community development activities. This allows interactive marketers to establish the best channels to reach different audiences, based on what task users want to accomplish on a given channel. As a result, marketers can tailor frequency and message by channel and commit resources to the most valuable channels first. Companies with call centers can reduce cost by using the information collected on their digital channels to strategically provide needed information online and reduce call center volume.

What Retail is Doing Right

There are some very visible examples of advanced levels of customer experience insights from the retail sector, such as Amazon and Nordstrom. Unfortunately, other sectors are lagging far behind. A recent study by Forrester Research noted that the wireless and hotel industries could easily add $1 billion each to their total yearly revenue via improved customer experience.

What are retailers such as Amazon doing that other industries can emulate? In a nutshell, they have aligned their technology systems -- and the people and processes that support them -- to consistently measure, quantify and deliver the experiences their customers want across their search, email, Web, social and mobile channels.

How did they do it? They started with their mission, strategic plan and their business objectives. Then, they constantly tested and refined based on customer feedback through an integrated analysis of multiple digital channels. Through this analysis, companies can find and fix the gaps between what they provide and what their customers want. The result? Great customer experiences and improved brand affinity across all digital channels leading to increased revenue.

The 6 Steps to Improve Your Customer Experience Model

But what if you are an established enterprise, with legacy systems (and people and processes) in place? Here are some steps to help you build a successful customer experience model:

  1. Select one key business objective: Start with one high-level business objective -- one that you can trace back to your organization’s mission statement and strategic plan -- and focus on delivering results on only that objective. If possible, select an objective that will have the broadest appeal and impact.
  2. Select a single platform and channel: Start small. For example, consider using content from your CMS to assemble email messages by audience segment or try using your analytics platform to improve the experience of inbound Facebook referral links.
  3. Develop a scalable collaboration process: Pick initial stakeholders who have the vision, ability and authority to try something new. Create a collaborative process that will scale up to include more departments, channels and platforms later.
  4. Educate by providing tangible results: Build performance targets and metrics into your plan and regularly measure and report your progress toward the goal in a format and language that anyone can understand.
  5. Communicate, communicate, communicate: Tell your stakeholders -- and anyone else who will listen -- about what you are doing, why you are doing it and the results that you are getting.
  6. Scale up at every opportunity: Successful projects often generate a gravitational pull; as more people, processes and platforms begin to pass by your project, you should see increased involvement.

In our experience, this process often serves as a catalyst for gaining buy-in from others in your company who are needed to execute a targeted multi-channel customer experience. For example, after we installed and configured a CMS platform for a large healthcare-related organization, the company decided to use the platform as a Proof of Concept (POC) for a larger customer experience initiative. Now, other departments want to join in on the initiative and improve the personalized experience they offer to prospective customers on their website, email and social media channels.

You can start small, but don’t delay taking the steps needed to provide your customers what they really want on every one of your digital channels.

Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading: