Customer experience has taken pole position as the secret to business success. According to the latest research from Forrester, more than 4 in 5 organisations worldwide consider CX to be a high or even critical priority for the next 12 months – as high a priority as innovation and barely behind overall revenue growth. But do they risk taking too narrow a view of what customer experience transformation entails?
Business leaders need to remember one fundamental truth: customer experience doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Instead, it’s influenced and defined by a range of different organisational elements, each of which must buy into the same overarching CX vision for things to improve. From Forrester’s insights into the state of customer experience transformation globally, we’ve identified three key groups that CX teams need to win over if they want to transform the customer journey:
Group 1: General employees
It may sound trite, but customer experience only improves within a customer-centric culture. It’s easy for business leaders to put the emphasis on a specific team of CX experts to spearhead customer centricity, without getting the bulk of employees clear and engaged around why customer experience is so important. Customer-centricity has to go beyond cosmetic changes to front-end channels and refresh the heart of how the business gets things done if it’s to last the distance.
Reorienting culture is no easy task, but business leaders do themselves a favour when they start by defining their goals. Forrester’s research found that more than a third of organisations lack clearly-defined metrics to measure customer experience success, with 28% admitting they had no clear CX strategy in place to orchestrate their efforts. Establishing a clear game-plan, and communicating how it benefits each function of the business, will give leaders the platform on which to put customers at the centre of everyone’s work.
Group 2: Marketing
Customer experience and marketing functions have already begun to converge in most organisations. According to Forrester, marketing executives define the customer experience strategies, budgets, or requirements of 1 in every 2 organisations worldwide. At the same time, however, many organisations still harbour deep operational divides between both disciplines. Nearly 60% of businesses, for example, still can’t route sales or customer service calls generated by marketing campaigns!
Greater customer-centricity only becomes possible when CX and marketing begin to pool their resources, particularly data and insights about the individual customer. When marketing gathers data about perceptions and behaviours at the early stages of the customer journey, that data should flow over to customer management teams to help them deliver service and support that’s more aligned with what their brand’s promised. Ideally, both teams should work together from the very start to develop a strategy with common KPIs and objectives, playing to the strengths and opportunities that each function has at different stages of the customer journey.
Group 3: IT
Forrester’s research revealed that the vast majority of business leaders find technology improving how they engage with customers online (78%) and on mobile (79%), as well as helping them build the customer-centric culture (78%) we mentioned earlier. At the same time, however, many organisations still struggle with technology lagging their CX strategy.
That’s particularly true of delivering an omnichannel customer experience. 1 in 3 organisations find that achieving a 360-degree view of individual customers is their biggest challenge, while 36% struggle to consolidate data from different channels into a single view of the customer. And more than 50% of marketing and customer experience professionals lamented that IT’s pace often delays their purchase and roll-out of customer experience technologies that they need to track and engage customers across ever-expanding channels.
The solution? Inventory your CX technologies, and partner up with third-parties who can fill the gaps. A tech inventory ensures that both marketing and CX teams not only avoid doubling up on their IT investments, but also helps integrate different tools for an end-to-end approach to customer engagement – something 76% of organisations rank as a high priority. And third-party partners can often bring solutions online faster than in-house IT can, particularly cloud-based or SaaS platforms. It’s worth remembering that most IT teams are already stretched in serving numerous departments, so any external help can also relieve their load and help them focus on meeting the customer service team’s most critical needs.
Technology, cross-department collaboration, and business agility all play a much different role in improving customer experiences than before. Get up to speed on the CX landscape and its top priorities with Forrester’s latest report: Drive Marketing and CX Convergence with Modern Technology Solutions.