We've reached the tipping point — today’s CMOs are embracing a digital-first mindset, allocating the majority (56%) of their overall budget this year to digital channels.
In turn, they’re gaining immediate influence, gratification, customer insights and performance data across the user journey. With unparalleled access to data in hand, CMOs and their teams are empowered to pivot, optimize, experiment and incrementally build the most profitable customer experiences.
It’s a worthwhile and infinite endeavor — great digital experiences can increase conversions by as much as 60%. A thoughtful customer experience (CX) strategy drives profit, increasing conversions, sales, loyalty and retention.
Yet, we see clients consistently overlook one of the most expensive pieces of the customer journey — internal team members and their outsized influence on customer experience.
Even Digital-First Brands Are Built by Teams
Customers form an impression during every interaction, across every channel. Whether commenting on social media, browsing your website or talking to a customer service representative, customers gain a single, lasting impression of your entire brand.
Leave a good taste in their mouth and motivate the next, repeat visit. Leave zero impression and never hear from them again. Frustrate a customer and send them screaming into your competitors’ arms, talking smack along the way. It’s that simple, in concept, and that challenging, in practice.
Your employees are as integral to delivering that excellent and memorable brand experience as your digital channels. Whether they manage your website or respond to call center requests, they hold the key to customer retention and repeat revenue.
Customers are as unforgiving of a slow, unknowledgeable, or unhelpful team member, as they are using a slow or disorganized website. A bad experience in any channel is a bad brand experience, period.
Related Article: What Do Customer Experience Teams Actually Look Like?
Empower Your Team Members to Deliver Elevated Experiences
We all want happy, efficient, productive employees. Knowing this, why are so many businesses hesitant to invest in the tools our team members need to deliver our brand promises? Think about it. When is the last time you strategically improved the usability of your Intranet, mobile application, or customer service portal?
Frequently, these internal systems become unorganized black holes, held together by masking tape and fortitude. Ask anyone you onboarded lately, and I bet they heard snickering throughout training, with comments like:
- “This is how you’re supposed to do it, but it’s a huge pain. So, I do it this way…”
- “I know it’s confusing. Here’s a 12-page resource for when you get stuck.”
- “I’m not sure why, but it’s the way we’ve always done it.”
- “I always got lost too, but you get used to it.”
Why do we want employees to get used to performing important aspects of their job in an archaic and inefficient way? Improving the UX of internal systems increases productivity, creates cost savings and drives customer revenue through higher levels of satisfaction.
Teams need to be empowered with user-friendly systems to efficiently complete tasks, while creating more positive and speedy customer outcomes.
Related Article: Put Your Things Together for an Awesome Customer Experience
Opportunities and Cost-savings of Better Internal Systems
We want to empower customers to go from launch, measure, experiment and optimize as fast as possible (without risking quality). Giving team members the tools to do it themselves is a no-brainer.
Improving your website CMS and martech stack gives autonomy to your marketing team to launch promotions and content strategies faster, without developer or IT involvement. This is table stakes, but many marketers with clunky, on-premises platforms must team with coders to update web content or launch a campaign — a waste of time and multiple salaries to get the job done.
Even better? Integrate your website with back-office systems to automate site updates. Cuisinart’s team is a great example — their product pages are fed by more then a dozen integrations, freeing their team from tedious manual updates to focus on more meaningful tasks.
Related Article: My Top 3 Lessons Learned as a CX Leader
Security and Data Compliance
Your employees are the front line against security breaches.
If your Intranet is confusing or buggy, employees grow frustrated and stop using it. They may save files locally, in the cloud, or in an alternative location that undermines the security protocols and systems in place (another wasted cost).
If they need to log in to multiple systems to complete tasks, employees reuse the same passwords, create an oh-so-handy-yet-insecure “password” word doc, or write passwords in their notepads.
If capturing customer data is complicated or overly rigid, employees save information elsewhere, and inefficiently copy and paste it into your clunky tool. They’ll miss data, dirty the data and altogether destroy your ability to rely on data to make confident decisions.
The result in all these instances is at-risk security (the backbone of your credibility), loss of data integrity and historical knowledge (gold to every business), and time wasted (time is money).
Training and Onboarding
Human capital is expensive. Training is frequently arduous, but inefficient, mistakes are costly, and a fumbling employee can leave a negative impression on customers.
Reducing training time drives greater productivity for both the employee and trainer. Training and onboarding speed-to-productivity is drastically improved when team members use intuitive systems.
Productive and happy employees deliver better customer service. Better customer service drives repeat visits, revenue and loyalty — the exact same goals at the center of most digital transformation initiatives. It’s not a coincidence; it's a strategy.
Invest in the Full Customer Experience
Build the best website to help your customers browse and buy, but ensure your employees can easily manage it. Invest in marketing to widen your audience reach and drive revenue, but give your customer service reps intuitive tools to take orders over the phone, online and on the go.
Launch, measure, and optimize every aspect of the customer journey, but don’t forget about the humans helping your customers. Invest in speed-to-market, security, data maximization and productivity, and empower your employees with resources to not undermine it.
A great website leaves a lasting impression. An unhappy employee does too. In the end, it’s all just one customer experience.