Ask yourself: What’s the first thing you do when you need a product, service or even simply information from an organization? Does anyone still jump in the car and drive over to browse or talk to a salesperson, pick up the phone to get more information, or take time to mull it over with an insightful friend? Of course not. You go online.
In information-poor days gone by, the customer was at a disadvantage. On entering a store, “What have you got?” was the question. Today the customer, without having to leave hearth or home, is information-rich when it comes to a company’s products, as well as those of its competitors. In fact, in some cases the customer may be even more knowledgeable than the in-store representative.
The shopper’s question now is: “What can you do for me?” or “How is the experience you’re offering me different from that of any other brand?” Because these interactions most often occur online, it is largely online where the customer must now be met, measured, made happy and motivated to return. And today, digital marketers must provide a continuous and immersive online experience even within their own brick-and-mortar establishments.
Now let’s say, as a customer experience (CX) professional you’ve been put in charge of overseeing your company’s transition to a new digital marketing platform. At least that’s the assignment — in terms that you know are both naïvely understated and short sighted.
The ascent of online commerce and the advent of new enterprise-level digital marketing tools have rewritten the rules of customer engagement. Those working closely with modern CX platforms will find themselves inexorably guided into a more CX-oriented mindset. But to be successful in the larger sense you must help effect the transition of the entire organization to a CX perspective. Anything less will invite cognitive dissonance between departments — between those oriented to the new realities of the marketplace and those still lagging behind in traditional “business as usual.”
Assigning a Chief Experience Officer to oversee that every group and unit in the organization has the same CX orientation goals will make the successful transformation across the company the goal of the entire C-Suite. It’s the CXO’s responsibility to champion CX’s material impact on the business, as well as to align CX-oriented goals across the entire organization.
Many executives are also finding it critical to experience their organization’s online presence as a customer in an online version of Undercover Boss. The goal is to discover and experience their customers’ pain points. Listening to customers and taking their complaints to heart is more relevant today than ever because disengaged or dissatisfied customers can now leave your premises behind at the tap of a finger. Basing employee recognition and rewards on customer satisfaction metrics helps to hone the mindset that can enable an enterprise to prosper in the new marketplace.
Organizations need to first develop a clear vision of what they want to achieve and how to define success. This begins with someone who clearly owns the CX initiative, like the CMO or CXO. This person is responsible for how CX is defined and is instrumental in identifying key stakeholders across the firm. Following with a clear-cut plan, these stakeholders and decision makers can be identified with responsibilities and roles clearly assigned, both for the transition and for continuing forward as well. Each CX team member should be 100 percent focused on the project and not allow it to be secondary to any other task in their stack.
Groups within the organization have to take responsibility for their part of CX while learning to integrate cohesively and coherently with others. The agility and nimbleness that are the hallmarks of the new digital marketing platforms require a corresponding agility and receptiveness inside the organization to take advantage of the faster time-to-market and responsiveness that customers have already come to rely on. This requires a collaboration that must be effectively promoted and facilitated with open lines of communication and transparency internally across the brand.
Today, CX management is the sine qua non of customer engagement and not merely another way to differentiate one’s brand. It must be the prime pursuit of everyone in your organization.