Customer experience has been whispered about in the industry for a very long time, and yet, it remains an elusive white whale for brands even as it’s touted as a primary focus for 2018. Customer experience is one opportunity for brands to take two worlds that have largely existed separately, technology and traditional marketing, and bringing them together in a way that differentiates a business.
Putting Tech to Work
Most brands have gotten the memo that digital marketing isn’t going anywhere and have invested to one degree or another in marketing technology. Tech fiefdoms have been established in brands around the world, but much of that investment has not been leveraged for the purpose of improving the customer experience.
As we enter a new year, customer experience is already accelerating to the top of many brands’ plans, and it’s no surprise why. We live in an era of commoditization where competition and consumer choice are at an all-time high. The real opportunity for brands is delivering a superior experience for customers. After all, that’s why Netflix put down Blockbuster and why price is often not the motivation behind a purchase from Amazon.
Providing an optimal customer experience is no longer optional because if your business won’t provide it, someone else’s certainly will.
Mobilizing Customer Experience
There’s a good reason people have been talking about customer experience for a long time, instead of actually doing it. It’s hard. It involves breaking down silos and rethinking the entire customer journey from scratch. That means bringing along stakeholders, making the right investments, integrating technology where it wasn’t before and so on.
So, what’s a brand to do?
Making a cohesive, positive consumer experience come together first involves coming together internally.
Start by looking at the consumer experience as a whole. Every aspect of the consumer journey needs to be taken into account. It’s at the point in which consumer decisions are being made where a brand can provide a better experience. It’s at those decision points where a consumer chooses one brand over another and where the most customer-focused brands win out.
It doesn’t stop there, tough. Implementing such changes will likely require specific personnel. At the very least, it will require focus from a team of individuals, and as is the case for managers being evaluated on a product’s performance, customer experience should be evaluated with similar rigor. This isn’t something businesses can jump into half-heartedly. Consumer experience is yet another product a business needs to research and invest in.
Finally, technology has to play a role at nearly every stage. Technology can make the value delivered at each of those decision points better for each customer, but first comes optimization data. Deploying data-gathering techniques in specific, deliberate ways to understand how a consumer touchpoint can be optimized will be key in understanding where the real consumer experience opportunities lie.
No business’ journey in pursuing a stronger, more cohesive and integrated approach to customer experience will be the same, but one thing that will be consistent across the board is this area will be where business is won and lost in 2018 and beyond.