2014-2-May-Scott-Liewehr no text.jpgRemember when shopkeepers knew your name? Good ones still do. Good websites, too.

Raising the level of customer experience on the web and mobile is, perhaps, the  greatest challenge facing marketers today.

Scott Liewehr got his start back in the late '90s leading the team which built Starwood Hotels' large-scale intranet. Since then, he's helped 100 of the Fortune 1000 with their ECM, WCM and portal needs.

After serving as lead WCM analyst for the Gilbane Group, Liewehr  founded the Digital Clarity Group where he is president and principal analyst. The firm's latest research, the Guide to Service Providers for Web Content and Customer Experience Management provides a detailed analysis of 45 marketing service providers in Europe. It's one of four DCG reports published in April alone.

We spoke with Liewehr about changes in customer service levels, from the brick and mortar era to today's cutting-edge customer experience management technology.

Murphy: Companies have established marketing partners, but the skill sets required are changing as marketing evolves. Should companies reevaluate their partners when they shop for consumer experience technology? Or should they rely on their partners to choose the technology they use?

Liewehr: I think the nature of the question indicates progress on its face, that we are, in fact, thinking about both. We're thinking about the service providers and the technology in context with each other. As for which comes first, I'm always one who really heavily values the trust that an organization gains by working with a  service provider over time. There's an awful lot of insight that a service provider is going to have about the organization, how they work, what works well or does not work well, their strategies and how to enable them, and certainly their technology landscape. I highly value that and I would look to my trusted partner first to help me with technology.

That said, not every service provider is necessarily trusted or has the skills. Therefore, if you're entering new ground or questioning your relationship, then certainly you should be looking at a new partner in the context of the technology you want to use.

Murphy: The customer experience on the web seems to be a bit ahead of mobile and brick and mortar. Is  the online experience driving changes in the other channels?

Liewehr: I disagree with the premise because you combined mobile and brick and mortar. I agree that mobile is not very advanced, but I think brick and mortar is very advanced. I think we're trying to replicate brick and mortar -- or rather human experiences, analog experiences -- with mobile and digital web experiences. And we're finding that extremely difficult to do, because it's hard to size someone up the way you do when they come into your suit store, it's hard to remember that face when they're on the web. So I think we're able to have much better customer experiences in person.