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3 best practices for creating flawless customer experiences

  • Posted on August 17, 2016

Customer experiences

Recent Avanade research with Sitecore on the business value of customer experience shows that for every US$1 spent on developing a CX strategy, organizations are seeing a $3 return and a boost in revenue by 19%. We did not, however, dive into the details of how to achieve this type of ROI.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve had the privilege of participating in a number of client executive roundtables, discussing with, and learning from some of the world’s leading brands on their advice and hard-earned tips for succeeding with customer experience programs.  These three topics surfaced again and again in all of the discussions:

1. A consistent and agile focus on growing the “sweet spot” or convergence between “desirability,” “business cx chartviability,” “technology feasibility” and “being digital on the inside” – see illustration.  The last point is often an issue for many organizations who don’t have the organizational readiness or the digital workplace to enable employees, partners and suppliers to truly unleash great CX (rather than CX just being “lipstick on a pig”). Another piece of advice is to avoid the consecutive/waterfall approach of first fully capturing the explicit business requirements, then moving into technology design and implementation, then capturing user needs and lastly performing change management.

2. Make analytics your critical path. The integrated “data exhaust” from every customer interaction should be treated as a cash-equivalent asset. Data must be unified in order to shatter the silos (business units, departments, channels, categories, segments) that stunt the customer experiences of so many organizations. The insights are enriched via a “data supply chain,” potentially by 3rd parties, to find the right balance between personas vs segments of one, whilst keeping in mind the ethical/privacy dimension of being easy, but never sleazy to do business with. Finally, enabling and empowering employees to act, rather than react on the insights will make or break the success of an omni-channel customer experience.  Reading dashboards and scorecards without the ability to take immediate action is like having a cockpit without a yoke!

3. Bite the bullet to consolidate, optimize and industrialize the technology platform that underpins the fundamental building blocks of a great customer experience. To paraphrase one of the more extreme situations described by a CIO during a CX workshop, “Our technology debt eventually became unmanageable. Group-wise, we had 3 CRM systems, 2 digital marketing platforms, 5 CMS tools, 2 data warehouses, 2 loyalty databases, and the list goes on. Some of these internal teams were competing with each other. Some of the systems were home built, or from competing ISVs and tough to integrate. A couple of tools were no longer supported as the vendors had been acquired or gone out of business. We were finding ourselves spending more than 80% of the budgets, and more importantly, the brainpower and creativity of our best people on keeping the Frankenstein alive instead of being at the edge of the organization, innovating together with our people who touch our customers every single day.”

To manage the complexities of transforming customer experiences, Digital Marketing-as-a-Service enables marketers to keep up with customer needs and demands, obtain the skills to keep up with the competition, and gain access to world-leading platforms and capabilities…so they can get closer to customers.

I’d be very curious to hear about your thoughts and experiences. Also, I’m painfully aware that whilst it’s relatively easy to summarize good advice, it’s often much more difficult to make this work in the real world. How are you handling it?

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