Digital customer experience is challenging to master
Digital customer experience is challenging to master.

Navigating the path to digital customer experience excellence is fraught with challenges — and even the largest companies are prone to stumbles.

The solutions, according to some of the industry experts who will be attending CMSWire's second annual Digital Experience Summit at the Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago next week, include crafting the right strategies, breaking down legacy silos and addressing governance issues.

But more than anything, they concur, great digital experience (DX) means putting your customer at the center of everything you do — a lesson someone regrettably failed to teach my own cell phone carrier.

It took me nearly 10 customer service calls, one tweet, six-to-eight direct messages on Twitter, a few emails, one mobile app interaction and three-to-four trips to a brick-and-mortar store to get a replacement phone delivered after the model I had was recalled.

Single Source of Truth

Customers long for seamless, multichannel experiences. It's frustrating to be bounced around from agent-to-agent on various channels.

CMSWire author Ajay Khanna explained this in a recent article, noting,

"Delivering excellent customer service means providing what your customers want and delivering it consistently. Receiving a consistent experience is an implicit contract between the company and the customer — a brand promise. If your company keeps delivering what you've promised, it builds trust and loyalty with your customers."

During my experience, I was bounced around from call-center agent to brick-and-mortar store, to Twitter, to email, to online chat. Simply, there is no way my customer data was reliable.

When that’s the case, you’ve lost already. As Yankees great Yogi Berra would say about a team that fell behind by a large margin early in a ballgame, “It’s getting late early.”

Without customer data, you’re not even at the ballpark.

“Even though your organization is comprised of departments, the customer thinks of you as a single entity,” Khanna wrote. “They expect you to give them consistent and quick responses no matter which department they reach out to or the channel they choose.”

Exactly.

Khanna goes on to write that to “deliver the consistent experience to the customer, across all channels and multiple departments, the first step is to bring together all data to create a reliable customer data foundation: a unified view of the customer and the single source of truth.”

Match Service + Technology

deb lavoy
Deb Lavoy

DX Summit speaker Deb Lavoy, CEO of Narrative Builders, told me large companies commonly swing and miss on digital experience. Experiences like mine are the direct result of rapid technical deployment outside the context of a service orientation or a relationship orientation, Lavoy said.

“Each of these techs came in at a different time, probably quickly,” Lavoy told CMSWire. “Little thought was spent on a relationship architecture. What should that relationship look like, and what do we need to make it that way?”

In other words — get your service game matched up with your tech game. Customers don’t care what kind of technology you have. They just want to feel cared for and that their problems will be solved.

“Unfortunately, this can be a slog to fix at a tech level, especially if you continue to push your tech ahead of your thoughtful consideration of what the ideal relationship looks like,” she added. “It is also critical to discuss what rights your customers need to be aware of, what you are aggregating and tracking about them and how you give them some visibility and control.”

Creating the Right Framework

DX Summit speaker Hilary Marsh, president and chief strategist of Content Company, said companies need to break down silos.

hilary marsh
Hilary Marsh

“Companies have no experience connecting their silos — and getting there will require connecting their systems, their people and their content,” Marsh told CMSWire.

Organizations that are serious about getting it right and ensuring they are aligning digital to the organization’s business objectives start by creating a sound digital governance framework, said Kristina Podnar, another DX Summit speaker.

kristina podnar
Kristina Podnar

Podnar said a digital governance framework clarifies who is on the digital team. It also sets up a clear set of accountabilities for defining the digital strategy and how it translates through to policies and standards that support execution.

“If the customer experience journey — digital or omnichannel — is important to the business to succeed,” Podnar said, “it will surface and become a focus to the organization through the governing mechanisms. However, all of this assumes that there is interest from executives and delegated authority to make it so.”

Too often, that's just not the case.