A road map of the customer experience/journey
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Many say customer experience will be the key differentiator for companies in the digital era. And customers have a long list of requests for brands. A lion's share of the onus to deliver these experience falls on marketers and customer experience professionals. Those very folks gathered at the fourth annual CMSWire DX Summit at the Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago. (Editor’s note: Simpler Media Group, the publisher of CMSWire.com, runs this conference). Here they share their digital customer experience focus areas for 2019.

The Digital Experience is a Journey of 'Baby Steps'

Headshot of Erik Carlson
Erik Carlson

Erik Carlson, assistant director of digital experience at Principal Financial Group, said his team has a long way to go to catch up from an innovation standpoint in the digital customer experience arena. "So," he said, "it's really baby steps. I want some short wins."

Carlson said he and his team would like to tighten up its voice of the customer (VoC) program. They want to better understand from a behavioral analytics standpoint what people are trying to accomplish on their website, what they're actually saying about their brand and how their experiences form a digital omnichannel touchpoint.

"And then I think the other big thing we need to do is a little A/B testing and multivariate testing," Carlson said. "So I'm honestly looking for quick wins in 2019, because we have a big gap that we need to try and close."

Related Article: 10 Common Voice of the Customer Mistakes

Bringing Digital Insights to Insurance Agents

Headshot of Mindy Cron
Mindy Cron

Mindy Cron, manager of the marketing services and technology solutions team for the Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, said her main focus area for 2019 is delivering better digital insights for insurance agents. For instance, being able to deliver leads for sales agents on the road that allow them to know which business owners "in-the-area" are not currently covered by Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance. It's all about reducing workflow steps and creating opportunities for sales agents within their CRM without actual data entry. She'd also like to incorporate more voice recognition technologies.

"And for anyone who would be on our website looking around, we want sales to be immediately getting those leads without them having to log into our CRM software [to find them]," Cron said. "They should be getting notifications on any one of the [Internet of Things] IoT devices they choose to use."

Related Article: Has Account-Based Marketing Made Sales Development Reps Obsolete?

Understand Digital Experience from a Human Perspective

Headshot of Scott Delea
Scott Delea

Digital transformation is always top of mind, but where do you put the customer in that engagement? That is the focus area for Scott Delea, executive vice president of marketing for Phase2. Delea said he finds that digital experience leaders are trying to focus on the human aspect of digital transformation. How do we understand the humans that we're trying to create an experience for? And how do we understand it in a very real way with very good insights and research, and how do we communicate it to the rest of our organizations?

"As change agents themselves, how they bring about change in their own organizations is another aspect we find to be one of the biggest challenges for the folks we work with," Delea said. "How do we help enable them to bring about that change in their own organizations? Because if you can't do that you can't create the experience for your customers."

Related Article: The Intersection of Employee Experience and Customer Experience

Better Management of Assets Through DAM

Headshot of Nathalie Latourelle
Nathalie Latourelle

Delivering the right content in the right channel and focusing on delivering an end-to-end experience from initial touchpoint to onboarding is only as good as a solid digital asset management (DAM) and content and asset governance program, according to Nathalie Latourelle, manager of digital experience, MPO, at the National Bank of Canada. The bank wants to establish genuine relationships with prospects and customers on digital that take them through "life moments." 

It's about real relationships, Latourelle said, and it starts with a good DAM, which she calls the "central focus of all delivery." Latourelle is focusing on leveraging her team's DAM and providing solid governance around content assets and tagging. "We want to make sure [our bank's digital assets are] consistent, replicate them and use them on multiple websites and figure out what they mean for the customer journey," Latourelle said. "We're really working on that end-to-end vision."

Related Article: How Do You Manage Your DAM?

Customer Journey Mapping Education

Headshot of Shri Nandan
Shri Nandan

Shri Nandan, director of digital ops for PMA, says for 2019 she is focusing on getting her staff educated on customer journey mapping. Teams have created workshops to have employees go through an entire journey of the customer and map that to their business plans. Slow and steady will win the race, Nandan said. "It cannot be an overnight thing," she explained. "We have to be patient with people. They've been doing things a certain way for several years, and we're teaching them something new. There is a lot of hand-holding. You cannot throw something at them and expect them to be doing it tomorrow."

Related Article: Why Customer Journey Mapping + Journey Analytics = 5-Star Customer Experiences 

Serving Up Helpful, Relevant Content

Headshot of Jacquelyn Poe
Jacquelyn Poe

Jacquelyn Poe, data analyst for the City of Los Angeles, said her team's focus for 2019 is gaining a better understanding of the customer and how the city can better serve them in a digital fashion. "It's about streamlining our processes to make it easier for them to get in and pay their bill, find out about new programs that are going to save them money and make them happy. We want them to know we're serving them.

Because we're a bureaucracy, we need to make sure we're good stewards of their money." And that means making sure the city is presenting customers with content that is easy to find and understand, Poe said. For instance, one goal is serving up content on utility problems and how residents can potentially solve the issue themselves without a service call. "Like with any industry we still have our communication breakdowns. Our group needs to gather information before we can communicate internally to make sure everybody syncs up," Poe said. 

The first step to quality digital customer experience? Recognizing there is a problem. "It's admitting that you may not have been fully aware of your customer," Poe said, "and know you're getting to know them more intimately than you have before."