Creating a Customer-First Experience
Tom Goodmanson, president and CEO at Calabrio
Now that customers are demanding more from brands, businesses can no longer rely solely on brand name for customer loyalty. In a generation of digital natives, the customer journey is more intricate than ever, and brands must deliver the same personalized experience across all channels. If not, customers will take their business elsewhere.
To stay competitive, brands must put the customer at the centre of every business strategy. It’s this very shift that has allowed so many start-ups, such as Netflix and Airbnb, to disrupt entire industries. It’s not just about delivering a stellar product and/or service: it’s about winning over markets by transforming the buying experience.
However, Calabrio’s recently-commissioned report, Success in The Experience Era: Connecting Customer and C-suite, revealed that, while brands do view customer experience as a key differentiator, there are hurdles preventing brands from securing customer loyalty.
Ten years ago, emerging technology changed how the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) operated within C-suite. As the customer takes centre stage, increasing expectations and an ever-expanding technology landscape have stretched CMOs beyond their own capacities. Now, the role of the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) has emerged as the modern liaison between brand and customers.
This new seat at the C-suite table is certainly a great start, but the report discovered that customer experience ownership lines between the CMO and CCO are fuzzy. Thirty percent of respondents noted confusion with responsibility for the customer experience. In addition, many CMOs believe the CCO role will nullify the CMO position within the business.
These dynamics can cause tension within the C-suite and, combined with a general lack of ownership, this means that it’s the customer who will suffer the most. Structural change is hard, but developing a clear understanding of how these roles relate to customer acquisition and retention goals is a key step toward effective collaboration. If the CCO and CMO can reach proper alignment and develop special focus areas, together they can create the experience that customers want.
Using the Right Tools
Nearly half of CMOs feel that they do not have the right tools deployed to understand their customers’ greatest challenges. There is even uncertainty about the number of devices customers use to complete purchases. C-suite leaders may want to deliver a connected customer experience, but the lack of technology and alignment across channels results in a fragmented customer journey, which puts a company at risk of being at odds with its brand promise.
To stay competitive, leaders should bank on technology to bridge the gap and create better alignment across all touchpoints, but this won’t happen overnight. The CMO and CCO should align to first understand what data and technology they currently have access to. Next, they need to identify gaps in order to break down silos to provide world-class service.
Measuring the Right Data
Customer sentiment and retention are key to measuring customer experience success. While today’s CMOs, CCOs and other leaders might understand what to measure, many simply aren’t utilising the best sources of customer data to truly capture that sentiment. Surprisingly, many executives are still using antiquated methods, such as surveys, to benchmark success while failing to leverage real-time analytics from the contact centre.
When combined with powerful analytics, the contact centre is an invaluable source of customer intelligence. Brands can gather insights about customer sentiment and behaviour directly from customers, themselves. These insights are critical for customer experience leaders to understand what customers want across all channels. When brands begin to leverage contact centre data, it opens up a world of new insights that will help instil best practices and guarantee better outcomes.
The days when product and price rule are over, and it is now essential that business leaders shift focus to customer experience to rise above the competition. By solidifying internal ownership, using the right tools, and gaining the right insights from the contact centre, executives can work collaboratively to ensure that the brand is delivering a strong omnichannel customer experience that sets it and its brand apart from the competition.