This post is part 2 of my series Things CMOs Must Know About Customer Experience (CX). If you missed part 1, read it here.
CX Cuts Across Your Organization
In my last post, I outlined the first of 5 things CMOs need to know about CX: the fact that CX is everywhere. I discussed how CMOs need to broaden their perspective, optimizing every brand/customer touchpoint while putting the customer in the center of their digital ecosystem and corporate strategy.
If this is true, it stands to reason that CX must be the focus and responsibility of everyone within your entire organization. It’s not just the marketing team’s responsibility to engage with the customer, treat them as people, and reinforce brand values. It falls in equal measure to customer service, sales, technology & IT, and even logistics to make CX part of everything they do.
As a CMO, you’re in a natural position to focus on the way your customer interacts with your brand. You should know more about segmentation, demographics, and online/offline behavior than anyone else in your company. This gives you an inside track on who to focus on, where to find them, and what to say when you have their attention.
While these are great data points, they should not be confused with customer experience. Customer experience is formed as a result of interaction and feedback, making it a two-way conversation between your audience and your brand. So ask yourself… who is having actual conversations with your customers?
I’m guessing that your customer service team is having thousands of them. Are you monitoring those conversations and enlisting CS reps as customer experience ambassadors? You should be. In a similar manner, you should also engage tech support, the sales organization, and those responsible for delivery and returns. Each of these groups is having conversations with your target audience in a wide range of contexts, including product reliability, clarity, ease of use, and the overall value proposition.
For example, the CS rep’s job isn’t just to put out fires and make problems go away. It’s also to understand each caller’s POV, gather feedback, identify recurring friction points, and forge a deeper brand relationship. And it’s your responsibility as CMO to communicate this focus to your teams, clarify your brand principles, and gather feedback in a way that identifies trends and shifts in the mood of your audience. Tech support does more than just fix things, and sales does more than just sell things… they engage with the audience and provide valuable perspective.
To take it a step further, stop thinking about CX as something you “own,” and think of it as a shared mission that your entire organization should embrace. Consider forming a CX committee with senior members from each department, collectively dedicated to building deeper relationships with your audience. This approach does a couple of things… it fosters global buy-in and ownership and enhances communication, while soliciting a wide range of fresh perspectives. It does something else too… it allows your organization to react holistically to any insights, changes, or mandates that shake out of this process.
I recently met with a big box retailer who asked us to help them build a logistics and delivery team for the digital age. They wanted to empower each person in the logistics chain to think about what was being delivered, and to whom… and to then make on-the-fly decisions regarding shipping costs, policy, and prioritization based on overall customer value. They wanted their delivery people to nurture and protect their best customers, treating them as people rather than anonymous victims of a corporate shipping policy.
In my last post, I mentioned that focusing on CX did not have to topple your organization like a house of cards or shake it like a snow globe. A few people asked me how this can be reconciled with the fact that CX and digital transformation are by their very nature disruptive events that typically break molds and paradigms. Doesn’t a disruptive event naturally shake the snow globe? The answer is that it CAN be disruptive, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, the amount of disruption is usually proportional to the degree that CX is distributed throughout your organization.
Digital disruption is a real threat to every company… the best way to prepare for it is to make CX everyone’s responsibility, try to spot trends early, and develop a loyal customer base that will allow you enough grace to shift, deploy, and keep up with their ever-changing demands.