CMOs in 2015 face an incredibly difficult task.
Marketing used to be driven by companies that pushed their messages onto consumers. Today, the roles of the customer and the marketer are reversed. Customers now reach out to businesses and are fully in control of the purchasing process. This makes the CMO the key stakeholder in refocusing a company from thinking “inside-out” to thinking “outside-in”--or, in other words, putting the customer at the center of every process and all decision-making.
The CMO has to not only recognize the loss of control over the customer, but also make sure the company is positioned to give customers the information and support they need to make the right decisions at the right time. Consider this from McKinsey & Company: “What’s now required of CMOs is a broader role that realigns marketing with the current realities of consumer decision-making, it intensifies efforts to shape the public profiles of companies, and builds new marketing capabilities.” In other words, the CMO has a lot of work to do, but it can’t be done alone.
The person best positioned to help the CMO align the company around the customer is the colleague across the hall, the chief operations officer. But while the COO has an equally important role in elevating customer experience, sometimes he or she is unsure where those efforts are best spent.
Offense And Defense
Every customer experience game plan has two sides. Just like a football game, there is offense, and there is defense. In the world of customer experience, the CMO is the quarterback, managing the offense. And the COO is the captain of the defense.
1. On offense, the CMO creates the brand message and communicates that out via the dozens of channels.
2. On defense, the COO equips the organization to live up to the promise the marketing team has created.
While each position is playing different sides of the ball, they are still working together, trying to get a victory for the home team. In the game these two are playing, scoring points isn’t the best way to measure a win. Instead, the CMO and COO need shared metrics and key performance indicators to measure overall performance.
Consider this from Harvard Business Review: “Rather than measuring marketing KPIs or operations KPIs, focus instead on the more customer-oriented journey KPIs, such as lifetime margin. On the operations side, metrics should not focus on how quickly (customer issues can be addressed), but rather on how successful (the company is at isolating the root cause of customer complaints). Once the drivers of the costs of the journey are understood, marketing can work with operations to address them.”
Measuring Customer Experience
The CMO is the ying to the COO’s yang when it comes to managing customer experience. And when the two sides get together, it can make for some pretty powerful results. Here are five things the COO can do to help the CMO propel a business forward:
1. Focus on orchestrating customer activities into a manageable business process: This means measuring every interaction a customer has with the company. Every time a customer touches a business, whether it is over the phone, in person, over the Web, or through a marketing email, these events need to be tracked and measured.
2. Enhance customer satisfaction feedback by tracking sentiment on every touch point: It’s not enough to simply track the customer lifecycle or the customer’s journey with a business. A company cannot truly understand how it is performing with customers unless it has a means of measuring customers’ affinity with the various company touch points.
3. Focus on empowering cross-functional “SWAT” teams as critical assets in the customer experience equation: For example, a company might have a loyalty team, a VIP customer team, and teams devoted to other specific customer segments. Getting a specific customer to the right team to address his or her needs is incredibly important in enhancing customer experience.
4. Measure the impact of customer experience initiatives: Let the marketing team know how customers perceive what it is doing. This cannot be achieved until there is a measurable business process to collect data on customers’ sentiment with all of the company’s touch points.
By tracking and measuring the customer lifecycle, a company can begin to get a true understanding of how it’s performing with customers and how customer experience is driving financial performance. Together, the CMO and COO can build the necessary metrics to propel the company toward maximizing customer experience, increasing customer loyalty, and elevating financial success.