Do you remember the halcyon days when the online experience was just the website and email? According to the recent Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing from Econsultancy and Adobe, The CX Challenge, the biggest challenge marketers have to deal with in managing customer experience is the sheer number of touchpoints. Perhaps CX is also short for complexity.
The report asks which of 18 channels wins in the battle to be a central part of experience, with desktop, mobile and email coming out as the top three. But 18 channels is actually just a simplified grouping. Digital experience consultant David Sealey has catalogued the individual channels to give a scary list of over 120 individual marketing channels that multichannel businesses need to manage today!
So, how to manage experiences across all these touch points? The chart showing the main challenges suggests that many businesses still aren’t set up to manage these touchpoints in an integrated way. Lack of dedicated resources, lack of strategy and an inappropriate structure are the biggest problems with, tellingly, agency respondents feeling that lack of strategy is a bigger problem than the client-side respondents.
Chart: What are the three greatest barriers preventing your organisation (or your clients) from improving the customer experience?
The Maturity Of CX Management
The types of challenges highlighted in the report suggests that there could be a problem of ownership of management of customer experience in some businesses. The growth in the number and value of online leads and sales, prompted by the growth of consumer use of digital channels, has naturally given rise to specialist digital teams to manage development of these channels. But the creation of what can become digital silos has often compounded the problem of experience management, since co-ordination and control are spread across multiple teams.
I’m a big believer in reviewing the maturity of governance of digital marketing to review how well integrated digital marketing is as part of overall marketing and to identify gaps between actual and required governance. So I was interested to see a simple assessment of the maturity of customer experience in this survey. This is assessed both for the experience overall and specifically for the mobile channel.
In Europe and Asia Pacific there is a fairly even split between those that are relatively immature and relatively advanced. Surprisingly, in the US there is a large majority of businesses who rate themselves as immature in managing CX. As the report notes, this may be because comparisons with very large businesses occur.
Chart: How do you rate your company in terms of customer experience maturity?
The analysis in the report looks for patterns in levels of maturity across companies of different sizes and in different sectors. It’s difficult to see clear trends here although, as might be expected, larger organisations tend to find management of CX more challenging. Meanwhile multichannel business models in retail, financial services and travel tend to be more mature since there is a clearer imperative for managing multichannel experience.
If you’re interested to review the maturity of your customer experience in more detail, take a look at the Smart Insights free visual benchmarking template downloads which enable a maturity review for customer experience in seven key areas and some key individual channels.
Integrating The Mobile Experience
The report drills down further into managing the mobile experience. Businesses were asked about the types of mobile experience and the degree of personalisation offered.
Chart: Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with these statements.
A similar pattern is evident from the overall experience management. Leaders are able to provide contextual experiences on mobile through personalisation based on location, but many companies are unable to. It’s also likely such personalisation may be less relevant for their business model.
It’s good to see that businesses are moving beyond the “mobile responsive” site design mantra--where similar content is delivered regardless of location or device--to a more adaptive approach based on context. The report gives a nice example from Walmart’s mobile app which is designed to switch to a “store mode” when a customer’s smartphone connects to the in-store Wi-Fi.
This transition means a change in functionality, from browsing and list creation, to assistance with finding the location of a customer’s shopping list items, monitoring basket value or paying. Apple also tries to augment the retail experience through the use of a similar in-store mode; for example, checking upgrade eligibility and current trade-in value of the customer’s iPhone if the beacon senses that the customer is at the iPhone display table.
The Internet Of Things And Wearable Tech
According to Ofcom there are already some 40m devices now connected via the internet of things in the UK alone and this is forecast to grow eight-fold by 2022. The potential of the internet of things is perhaps more sector-specific and the report notes that respondents at the largest organisations are twice as likely as their counterparts at other companies to have embraced the internet of things. Companies at mid-market organisations are most likely to be thinking about initiatives in this area.
The Need For Cross-Channel And Cross-Device Measurement
This particular report doesn’t consider evaluation of the experience across channels in detail, for example using analytical measurements of short- and long-term engagement or voice-of-the-customer surveys. How the quality of experience is measured and who is responsible for measuring and driving performance is another key challenge of managing CX. It is also an issue that should be carefully reviewed as part of reviewing maturity and a roadmap to improve experience.
Technologies to measure cross-device experience and campaign response are evolving rapidly as alternatives to augment cookie-based measurement are sought. For example, cross-device initiatives should be reviewed carefully to inform future improvements to the quality of customer experience and engagement.