Building a Business Case for Your Customer Experience Initiatives

“Who do you think drives successful customer experiences?” asked Oracle Vice President of Customer Experience Strategy Brian Curran during his Friday general session at the Customer Experience Summit @ Oracle OpenWorld. “It’s the CFO.”

Implementing customer experience programs and transforming your business into a customer-centric organization takes more than awareness of a problem or opportunity, and certainly more than a clever plan, Curran explained.

It takes funding.

“This stuff costs money,” said Curran, “and the only way to get it is to provide your CFO with a clearly defined, unambiguous plan that takes into consideration the three pillars of customer experience strategy.”

Those pillars are:
  • Desirability, which is customer value
  • Feasibility, which demands the right technology
  • Viability, which is business value—ie is this initiative worth it?
It’s all about sustainable growth and profit, Curran said. And to that end, he explained, you must know and understand the numbers. What does it cost to acquire a new customer? To retain them? What is their lifetime value? And how can you create a more efficient and cost-effective process for monetizing and maximizing those relationships?

You must align a business case to your customer experience strategy, Curran said.

The remainder of his presentation focused on the customer experience “six-pack,” a set of questions businesses must address before creating strategies or launching programs. These questions help build the business case necessary to get support and funding:
  • What is the strategic business objective?
  • What are the strategic and operational key performance indicators?
  • What are the business issues or roadblocks?
  • What are the trends or accelerators that are creating the problem?
  • What approaches can solve the problem?
  • What technology can enable those approaches?
“Remember, the goal is to drive change in financial results,” Curran said. “The study of customer experience is about understanding what customers want and need and delivering the kind of experiences that fulfill those needs and drive the behavior that gets you results.”

Focusing on his own business objectives, he described Oracle’s best-in-breed solutions across marketing, commerce, sales, and service. It’s the only complete and fully integrated cross-channel customer experience suite available.

“What gets measured gets managed,” he said. “Are you measuring customer experience?”
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