“We aim to put the customer at the center of everything we do.” Apple CEO Tim Cook’s words echoed throughout the company’s 2018 Worldwide Developer’s Conference, an event touting impressive software innovations from the tech giant. It’s incredible that, despite Apple’s scale and focus on groundbreaking technologies, customer experience (CX) is the company’s principal driver.
This sentiment is echoed throughout the management consulting community, where Bain & Company says, “companies are competing for customers based on the quality of the experience.” Such differentiation applies across industries, from high-touch retailers to industrial manufacturers with multi-year sales cycles. While the definition of “high quality experience” varies among disparate marketplaces, the shift towards the CX imperative spans industries. To address this, modern organizations are bringing into focus three strategies that can help them deliver differentiating experiences to their customers: customer-obsessed culture, processes that span the customer journey, and unified customer data.
1. Customer Obsession
Many companies pay lip-service to the term “customer-obsession.” However, those who successfully execute on CX strategies possess a culture where customer-obsession is ingrained from front-line workers up to the C-suite. For example, Costco nurtures a customer-centric culture by taking care of employees in a manner unmatched by competing big box retailers. They emphasize worker happiness, which in turn allows employees to focus on customers. Disney’s maniacal customer focus comes from rigorous training to help employees deliver personalized experiences to park attendees, driven by a sense of purpose to “create happiness.” Apple allows individual contributors to share innovative ideas on how to improve retail experiences. That level of ownership allows organizations to deliver amazing CX at scale.
2. Processes That Span the Customer Journey
While most front-line employees have sound processes to help with individual customer interactions, few organizations understand when a customer is at risk of leaving for a competitor, or when they may become a brand advocate.
Video: Customer Experience Journey Mapping with Oracle CX
At Oracle, we help customers through Customer Experience Journey Mapping to identify these opportunities. We’ve also used this method to improve understanding of our own customer relationships when Oracle launched its Accelerated Buying Experience, a way to allow customers to purchase cloud services with the click of a button. The initiative began with analysis of customer purchase behaviors. Oracle leveraged its findings to give salespeople the ability to deliver seamless buying experiences to their customers. The scale of information required for this analysis demanded incredible competencies around customer data, which leads to the third strategy for delivering Modern CX - unified data.
3. Unified Customer Data
Disconnected experiences between online, phone, and in-person interactions lead to frustrating buying and service experiences. The inability to factor past purchases into advertising audiences can lead customers to associate brands with annoying, irrelevant ads and spam. Lack of insight into the health of an account leaves sales professionals unprepared for prospecting calls and on-site meetings. Both B2B and B2C organizations need to understand how collecting, managing, and analyzing customer data holistically can impact customer journeys.
In recent years, avenues for collecting customer data have become more sophisticated with data management platforms that blend data from partners and 3rd party sources.
Data collection is only the first step towards delivering transformative customer experiences. Disparate touchpoints and siloed customer information present issues with providing the business with a 360º view of the buyer. Honing data analytics capabilities to precision can lead to personal, individualized brand customer interactions. In such an ecosystem, customer data is clean, de-duplicated, and centralized.
Effectively managed data unleashes a firm’s ability to perform valuable customer analysis. The result could be as simple as showing a complete view of a client to a service agent during an inbound call, chat session, or online co-browse. It means understanding the performance of an email + display ad campaign among different target audience segments. On a strategic level, this information bubbles up to provide broad views of customer satisfaction, attrition, customer lifetime value, and persona-based profitability. Across the management chain, these insights allow executives to develop the next iteration of their company’s CX strategies.
Begin Your Customer Journey with a Map
Purposeful data analysis, collection and management are only a part of the Modern Customer Experience story. Top performing organizations extract value from these technical competencies with culture and processes that revolve around the customer. For many brands, a meaningful start involves Customer Experience Journey Mapping to understand risks and opportunities within each customer touch point. With the support of executives and the buy-in of practitioners, organizations can take those findings and design workflows and attitudes towards customer-centricity. With processes and culture supported by systems that provide a holistic view of the customer, organizations can make strides forward in capturing market share and heart share in a time when customer experience matters.
I recently participated in a webcast held in conjunction with IDC entitled, “The Future of Customer Experience...