A lot of moving parts go into creating exceptional customer experiences. 

Personalization, channels, translationrelevance and more all work together to capture the reduced attention span of today's online customer. 

But while all of these elements contribute to the customer experience, they won't get anywhere without company commitment. 

You Can't Control Customer's Opinions

Customer experience is built on a cumulative impression of many touchpoints rather than any one single touchpoint: the search, the recommendations, the offer, the brand image, the purchase process, the product use and the customer support. Companies can contribute to parts of this experience, but ultimately, the customer is entitled to their own opinion.

What companies own is their commitment: KPIs, processes, strategies, technology, tactics and choices. The ability to work as one towards building the customer experience creates the differentiator.

The Challenge of Presenting Connected Experiences Across Siloes

A customer experience that builds a brand experience provides a connected experience that does not reveal the multiple departments required to orchestrate. 

In the effort to influence the customer experience, many organizations make point-based assessments, such as the call center, field service or website. While it’s obvious that the customer journey spans these influential touchpoints, it is more difficult to assess the overall experience, which involves cross-functional processes and handoffs across interactions, channels and products over time. When organizations force customers to connect the dots, customers are more likely to stop their journey altogether and rely on an alternative that is easier to complete.

The return on investment for this internal alignment is customer experience as a differentiator.

Culture Change Needed for Cross-Organizational Customer Focus

To become a customer experience-based organization involves a cultural change that will inform resources, processes and technology — one that brings together the cumulative customer journey: personalized, cross-channel, translated and relevant.

Start by defining the customer experience strategy that applies processes and measurement across the organization, and then map them to the customer journey.

This brings together customer experience strategy with corporate strategy to inform:

  • Organizational structure and skills that support effective customer experience management
  • Technology and systems that provide data as well as operationalize customer experience goals
  • Processes that cross functions using data and optimize customer experience tactics
  • Shared actionable insights across the organization

Involving cross-functional teams goes much farther than top-down directives to differentiate via the customer experience. Successful organizations not only give employees a stake in contributing to the customer experience, but provide a way for their ideas to make a difference. 

Where Customer Experience Technology Fits In

Organizations that commit to experience look to technology to organize the complex structures and personnel delivering customer experience management. Without a technology backbone that enforces consistent processes while connecting disparate groups and systems, achieving the various priorities and tactics implicit to the customer experience becomes impossible. 

Many tools support the customer experience, as we can see in Scott Brinker's Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic — or at least they claim to. But the reality is that a single magical tool that makes customers’ wishes come true and increases profits does not exist. Instead businesses must choose from best-of-breed solutions and determine how they can best work together within an organizations’ customer experience processes, strategies and tactics.

According to Forrester analyst Ted Schadler, web content management (WCM) has become the backbone for the digital experience, extending far beyond websites to mobile and data-driven content.

Breaking Out of Data Siloes

Beyond big data, real data analysis is based on the intelligent selection of significant indicators you can act on. Whether that action is content tailored to customer preferences based on their online behavior, profile and purchase patterns, or better customer support for recurring issues, technology enables more personal customer experiences.

Data stored in CRM systems, ERP, analytics, customer support systems and many other tools within an organizations’ digital ecosystem all contribute to supplying prospects or customers with relevant content — the information they need at that point in their customer journey. With web content management acting as the backbone, customer data can be transformed into intelligent content delivery across channels. Integration through open standards and robust integration points can ensure customers are served the right content in the right context.

But at the end of the day, a successful customer experience strategy comes down to having that customer-centric corporate commitment, which brings together structure, technology, processes and actionable insights.

Title image Remy Baudoin