This is the third article in my mini-series on managing the customer experience; in the previous article I discussed the first C – Customer and then in my last article I discussed the second C - Content.

In this article I am going to focus on how we bring customer and content together and how we orchestrate that customer experience. In keeping with my theme of C’s -- I’m calling this Control, the intersection of customer insight and content to make the experience.

In my previous articles, customer and content were easy to describe, we can visualize them as tangible things in our mind's eye, they are things we store, count, record and file in a database. We can also imagine how you can apply algorithms to the data that drive great insight into what that data means.

It’s a simple premise that you need to understand your customers and that you need to have some well managed content to share with them.The solutions for managing content and a better understanding of the customer are tangible too, supported by established business practices, tools and budget.

How you orchestrate and control a compelling customer experience by bringing together these two business assets is a more complex proposition. The nub of CXM, managing the customer experience, sits across multiple business practices, software tools and moving parts within an enterprise.

So, when the C suite hands down the memo that says we must build a better customer experience (or when you try to describe it in a single CMSWire article) -- where do you start?

In this article I propose three areas to consider:

A Customer Centric Organization


Control is where we move away from CXM being a problem solved solely by technology; the first thing to consider is whether the organization is ready to orientate around the customer.

A simple example of this is the separation in most organizations between marketing and customer service.

In a world where people are not beating a linear path to your product, service or brand but are in fact asking around, reading your manuals and documentation, listening to other's experiences of you, your service or brand -- the quality of the post-sale experience matters hugely to those in the organization that have the responsibility for maintaining the marketing funnel.

Those beautiful images that marketing have crafted in the mind of your customer of sailing into the sunset of happiness-ever-after are going to be significantly less compelling if Facebook is buzzing with talk of how the boat is holed and happiness-ever-after with you is a rat infested swamp.

To this end, we are seeing new senior roles and business units that are either labeled with customer advocacy or champions of customer experience -- bringing together a more holistic look at the customer journey -- from first awareness, through adoption of your product or service to becoming an advocate that can’t wait to tell their friends about you.

Omni-Channel, One Web, One Customer View of You

The technology that enables this customer centric philosophy needs to reflect this business strategy. When we think about good practice about understanding our customers, we talk about getting a single view of the customer -- but what about the customer getting a single view of you?

In the article about content I described a content explosion that is being created by the need to have variants of content that are relevant to that segment of your audience, the digital channel and device the audience want to consume it.

The next element of Control is how do you build that relevant experience, bringing together the right content to that audience and do this consistently as the visitor flits between your email marketing, your desktop website, browsing your support pages, to their iPad and onto Facebook (or heaven forbid they call you).

This omni-channel or “One Web” strategy changes the tools we choose and the approach we take in implementing them. Shifting from discrete, tactical mobile projects, that killer social agency or any one of a number of siloed content and experience initiatives that might tempt the marketer – to a consistent single voice.

Or as Tom Wentworth described it in his recent article here on CMSWire -- “Think customers, not channels.”


When you move to a more holistic customer centric business practice, engaging your audience consistently across multiple digital channels and devices; clearly the traditional measurements of counting website clicks and email open rates are not going to provide that bigger picture of how you moved the needle on your customer experience.

Leading me back to my first article in this series, “Customer,” where I suggest using insight from sources like social data to develop broader CXmetrics, for example:

  • Brand Affinity: The emotional commitment customers feel to your brand
  • Customer Engagement: Customer response to your offerings, marketing and customer experience
  • Product Commitment: How likely a customer is to recommend your product or service or adopt a new product that you are about to launch.

In conclusion to these three articles I’d like to leave you with a reminder of the importance of providing great customer experiences -- and you don’t need to take my word for it.

The Forrester CX Index report highlights how businesses that take their customers experience seriously move up and to the right on the traditional metrics that your C suite will understand, like profitability and shareholder value.

On this, I recommend you start with Marisa Peacock’s rather splendid article -- and thanks for reading.

Image courtesy of Chad McDermott (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: To read more by Ian, check out How Content Can Define a Great Online Customer Experience