Last week I wrote about how to determine whether your company is truly committed to personalizing the customer experience (CX) and building loyalty. I presented the first half of eight questions to ask yourself; now I offer the rest. My goal: to help you develop the strategies, action plans, and employee initiatives to satisfy unprecedented customer expectations for high-value engagement, personalization, and loyalty.
Question 5: Do you have in place the necessary CX/loyalty/CRM technology to connect with customers?
“Forward-looking organizations are making strides by focusing on three key ingredients: technology, data, and ownership," said Jefrey Gomez, managing director, Asia Pacific at Econsultancy, in this B&T article. Michael Kustreba, managing director of Epsilon, Asia Pacific, agreed: “The good news is that there are valuable insights from data, technology and proven methodologies that organizations can adopt to help them improve their customer experience delivery.”
Case in point: Online retailer Zappos has devised “Zappos Labs,” which focuses on solving consumers’ pain points and creating optimized customer experiences across all channels. The brand’s mobile app allows consumers to send Zappos employees a photograph of items seen on the street via text, email, or Instagram. A link is then sent back to the consumer to purchase it online.
Additionally, Zappos’ customer service agents are reminded of their CX commitment with a “Happiness Experience Form,” which reminds them to attempt at least two personal connections with consumers throughout interactions to address any needs and provide an ”overall wow experience.”
- Examine the technology your company has in place to see what measures can be put in place right now to boost CX, such as reminders to staff, per the Zappos example. Also, explore how you can expand the technical capabilities and possibilities at each touch point to deliver improved CX.
- Audit for the necessary level of collaboration of information sharing across the various departments and systems.
Question 6: Do you have a dedicated budget for new research to drive innovative CX/loyalty strategies?
Per research conducted by Epsilon, “Only 7% of companies have a single, dedicated budget for understanding the customer journey, and 27% have a dedicated budget split across different departments.”
Jonathan Serebrin, user experience researcher for The Home Depot, advises that companies include all teams in research results and learnings to make them part of the company culture. Make sure that all departments understand how customers feel about the brand and products, he said. Every step of the testing and development process needs to assure synchronization with customers.
While CMOs are now understanding that a dedicated CX budget is essential to transformation, in the “Spotlight On 2016 CX Helps And Hurts” study by Forrester, a notation was made regarding budgets: “CMOs won’t simply write blank checks. Instead they’ll require CX teams to prove that their projects improve key performance indicators that marketers care about, like customer acquisition and engagement.”
- Take a closer look at carving out a slice of digital, social, marketing, sales, and IT budgets for one combined CX budget. Rather than depleting one department’s funds, multiple stakeholder departments should contribute to the overall CX cause.
- Be sure you have in place a solid benchmark of customer value and how/when milestones can be measured so that budget investments can be justified or adjusted in the future.
Question 7: Do the highest levels of management in your company support CX programs and staff?
The “Shifting Sands Of Marketing: Gartner 2015-2016 CMO Spend Survey” reported, “Business leaders understand that consumer expectations for fast, informative, convenient, and personalized transactions will continue to grow and that staying ahead of the competition is paramount.”
And according to the Forrester/Heidrick & Struggles “2016 Evolved CMO report,” “Evolved CMOs will need to commit to understanding customers and to driving that philosophy throughout their organizations with a customer-obsessed mindset.”
- In order for CX to succeed in your company, it is essential that there is buy in and commitment from every involved department at all levels.
- CX innovation is a top-down change process.
- However, it is marketing’s responsibility to provide the vision and criteria for success.
Question 8: Does your company have a cross-functional and integrated culture?
The Deloitte “Global Human Capital Trends 2016” report stated that in today’s evolving marketplace, companies need to adopt a new organizational structure to be more of a “network of teams” with strong communication and rapid information flow cross functionally. Additional data points from the report include:
- 92% of companies said they believe redesigning the organization is very important. More than 80% of respondents reported that they are either currently restructuring their organizations or have recently completed the process.
- The growth of the Millennial demographic, the diversity of global teams, and the need to innovate and work more closely with customers are driving a new organizational flexibility.
- Understand what employees can bring to your CX efforts and place them in mission-focused teams by their contribution potential and experience.
- Empower teams to set their own goals and make their own decisions in order to achieve CX goals.
- Replace silos of information with information sharing cross functionally.