This post is part 1 of my series Things CMOs Must Know About Customer Experience (CX).
If you’re a CMO, countless activities clamor for your attention. Among other things, you need to track advertising from both a spend and ROI perspective, manage your brand, track competitors, and decide whether or not to monetize your social strategy.
Cutting across these and other areas of responsibility is the need to craft a “meaningful customer experience.” While the term “customer experience” or “CX” is not new to most of us, it can be challenging to figure out how to approach it holistically, and in a way that integrates your existing strategies and programs. Customer experience is both pervasive and ambiguous, seemingly relating to all activities, yet difficult to frame in the proper perspective.
This is the first of a five-part series that looks at the key things CMOs need to know about Customer Experience in order to build an insanely loyal customer base that is also insanely profitable.
CX is Everywhere
The first thing you need to understand is that customer experience is everywhere. It’s online, offline, in print, and in-store. It’s also in the style of your outdoor advertising, and in the tone of voice of your CSRs. This pervasiveness is what separates CX from UX, UI, or any other user-based acronyms you may see floating around. As a point of distinction, UX usually refers to pixel-based experiences, and UI refers specifically to the interaction screens for those digital experiences.
CX is not only global, it’s the story of your brand’s interaction with your audience. When your customers walk through the décor of your corporate lobby, they go back to their friends and family and tell a story about it. And when your delivery truck cuts them off on the highway, they go back and tell a much different story. In every instance, it’s the story of how your brand interacts with humans, and how it engages within the culture and community. At their best, these stories speak of facilitation and fulfillment. At their worst, they reveal frustration and disappointment.
To get a sense of how pervasive CX is, think of it as a unique lens that reframes every aspect of your business and your brand. When you look through a lens on a camera, it reframes everything within the lens’ parameters and characteristics. From a CX standpoint, the same is true, meaning that everything is viewed through your customer’s eyes, making them the arbiter of what works and what doesn’t. They are the authors of the stories I just mentioned, and wherever your audience interacts with your brand, there’s a CX story waiting to be told.
Saying that “CX is everywhere” is more than just monitoring the points where you interact with your customers. “Everywhere” also refers to your business strategy, org chart, and your global organization. From a marketing and product perspective, it’s tempting to look at CX as an addition to your existing model, bolted on to give you a boost, but not requiring changes to your core strategy. CMOs often start with the notion that they have everything figured out, and that CX is a validation step, simply requiring a few tweaks to the experience. This is not the case, as every aspect of your business can and should come under scrutiny.
Perhaps you’ve targeted customer experience in your acquisition, engagement, and transaction models, but what about delivery, service and support? Thinking about these areas could introduce a whole new set of KPIs to keep an eye on, such as monitoring time spent on site (session length), reduction in customer support calls, repeat orders, and of course, reviews and social media buzz. A CX glitch in just one of these areas can throw off all the rest. This is what we mean at Wipro Digital when we refer to digital transformation as an impact event that can change your entire ecosystem.
Fortunately, thinking about CX in a pervasive way does not have to topple your organization like a house of cards, or shake it like a snow globe. In my posts that follow, we’ll look at how to build an internal CX culture in a systematic way, which gets everyone moving in the same direction and minimizes the all-or-nothing mentality that can make this topic so daunting. We’ll also look at how to align your organization and move from a customer journey to a customer relationship, before finally creating a brand/customer covenant that is deeply loyal and highly profitable.