Up your game – solving the CX puzzle to get an edge in the digital era

CX will never be a ‘set and forget’ affair, nor something that can be done well by ‘feel’, says Nicole Stirling. In order to stay afloat, traditional enterprises must put CX front and centre.

Nicole Stirling 150 BWAcross the global business landscape, customer experience (CX) is the new black. Traditional enterprises of all stripes and sizes are duking it out with tech giants that have mastered the art and the nimble upstarts which have followed their lead.

Are Australian organisations battle ready, or are digitally-driven rivals encroaching on their turf? How can local companies harness the power of technology to devise compelling experiences and journeys which keep customers coming back for more?

The intelligent experience economy

Management consultancy PwC has coined a term for the new era of customer experience: the ‘intelligent experience economy’.

Its research suggests the combined impact of mobility, AI and the cloud will see organisations reimagining the connections between brands and customers. They’ll likely need to rethink their strategies and overhaul their processes in order to create and deliver – at speed – the valuable experiences which are fast becoming the new norm.

It’s transformative change which is unlikely to occur without a clear roadmap and employee and management buying in. Unfortunately, we see too many Australian businesses still at the talking stage, when action is what’s needed – fast.

Turning good intentions into a holistic CX strategy can’t happen overnight and it can’t happen at all without wholehearted commitment to the cause from the C-suite down to the frontline.

Collecting all the customer data pieces

‘Knowledge is power’, as the old adage has it. It certainly holds true in the CX sphere. Data is the backbone of every successful customer journey. It can be used to develop detailed profiles of individual customers which include demographic data, purchasing history and behaviours, preferred times and methods of purchase and the like.

Many organisations already collect and store this information, but amalgamating it has historically been a challenge. It’s commonly stored in multiple locations; disconnected information silos which don’t talk to each other.

It’s impossible for marketers to truly understand their customers if they can’t pull this information together to form a complete picture.

A fragmented view of the customer can result in the creation of offers that fail to arrive at times when potential buyers are receptive, or content which lacks the personal element CX experts such as Amazon have conditioned shoppers to expect.

If content misses the mark, it’s spam and will be treated by customers as such – irrelevant messaging which is destined to join a sea of unwanted and unread offers and appeals in the trash folder.

Creating a compelling journey

Aggregating disparate data from across the enterprise to create 360-degree ‘views’ of customers is part of the process CX leaders follow to create lasting connections. The views are used to develop journeys featuring targeted content and offers which span the online and digital spheres in ways that are natural and compelling.

Businesses should begin the planning process by making a concerted effort to get inside the heads of their most valuable customers, or those of individuals in the market segments they wish to target. Factors to consider include: customers’ pain points – the ways they choose to engage with the company and the stages at which they typically exit the customer journey.

Evaluating current marketing and CX efforts to determine how well they mirror customers’ needs and consumption patterns is the next step. Documenting the status quo gives a baseline against which the effectiveness of new strategies and campaigns can be measured.

Test different journeys

Organisations that are experts at delivering CX didn’t get that way by accident. Invariably, they’ve done so by using the insights gleaned from customer data to identify a range of touchpoints and to plot customer journeys which correspond with them.

Few companies get it right first time. Trial and error – and a focus on continuous improvement – are the keys to creating personalised, predictive promotions and points of contact that keep customers engaged and engender long term loyalty.

Assess yourself

CX will never be a ‘set and forget’ affair, nor something that can be done well by ‘feel’. Data must be used to determine what’s working and what’s not. Smart operators set goals, establish metrics to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and adjust their methods and messaging in response to feedback.

Accepting the customer service challenge

Australian businesses which don’t make CX their chief priority risk experiencing customer exit, en masse. Digital disruption will continue to usher in a wave of competitors dedicated to developing an intimate understanding of their target customers and devising experiences to capture their interest and compel their loyalty.

Beating them is unlikely to be an option. For enterprises which hope to survive and thrive in the digital era, joining them in putting CX front and centre makes sound sense.

Nicole Stirling is JPAC director of marketing at Acquia

 

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Image credit:Olav Ahrens Røtne