Customer Experience (CX) is of paramount importance today. With the ever-increasing competition in the market, brands are no longer relying on winning customers based on just product features or prices.
Customer experience has become a prime focus for marketers to distinguish themselves from their competition.
According to the 4th Annual State of Marketing report by Salesforce that surveyed over 3500 marketing leaders shows, 68% of marketing leaders (and 86% of top performers) increasingly compete on customer experience. As this trend promises to grow in the coming years, CMOs need to promote interdepartmental collaboration and encourage other departments to come out of the silo mentality.
Instead of thinking from the brand or product perspective, it is necessary to think from the customer’s perspective. Since CMOs (and marketers, in general) are already familiar with the product itself, the buyer persona, their marketing funnel, customer journey, and know their customers well, they fit perfectly into the role of leading customer experience.
If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.
– Jeff Bezos, Chairman, CEO and President of Amazon
Get Re-acquainted With the Customer Journey
Customer experience is the interaction between a brand and a customer throughout their business relationship. To take charge of the CX aspect, CMOs should start by getting re-acquainted with the customer journey.
Recognise the customer journey along with the different touch points a prospect goes through before making a purchase. Analyse the specific customer actions at each touch point and stage, their motivations, questions they might have and potential obstacles. After setting up the customer journey map, evaluate your current customer experience at each touch point.
Based on customer actions, identify the important journeys (different routes a customer might take to make a purchase) using data and start improving the customer experience around them. If you’re getting the right amount of visitors on your landing page, but people are not filling in the information, you know you need to start tweaking the form to boost downloads.
Seth Godin said, “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” Anticipate the customer requirements in advance and design your experience around them.
Strike a Balance between Data and Creativity
There is no dearth of data. Marketers can track customers over their entire buying journey. However, despite the availability of numerous analytics tools and tracking metrics, marketers still find it challenging to translate data into tangible customer experience.
The first step in using data to craft customer experience is to work with data scientists to tap into the full potential of data. Analysing customer data will uncover hidden trends, customer characteristics and likely issues they might be facing.
Using data to take creative decisions is not always easy. After all, how can you transform something quantitative into qualitative? Since creativity is subjective, there’s no right or wrong in it. Some might love your work whereas some might dislike it.
With creativity being a dead reckoning despite the availability of data, CMOs can be the agents of change by fostering the culture of constant testing and inviting marketers to use both, their creative and analytical sides. Thus CMOs are not only revolutionising CX but also changing the traditional cookie-cutter approach of marketers working in either creative or analytical areas.
As the company grows, teams become more independent in their operations. Independence and lack of communication lead to data silos. Data silos are one of the biggest customer experience challenges. CMOs can play a huge role in taking down data silos.
CMOs are at the top of the corporate hierarchy and therefore can take other C-level members on-board to share the shared vision of de-siloing and promoting interdepartmental collaboration. CMOs can propose a fundamental shift in the company culture that encourages collaboration and integrates it into the company strategy. Collaboration leads to a unified data view to all departments, allowing everyone to work towards improving customer experience simultaneously.
Leverage Artificial Intelligence
AI is gaining widespread usage in marketing and rightfully so. AI is contributing to various marketing functions such as content creation and curation, media buying, ad targeting, retargeting, personalisation and dynamic pricing.
One of the most significant use cases of AI is chatbots. The rise of conversational chatbots and digital assistants has led to offloading many rote tasks that humans would usually perform.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human. Chatbots can provide live customer support, make reservations, buy products, pay bills etc. Since chatbots have access to your data, they can also deliver personalised recommendations based on your past purchases.
Although AI promises a vast potential, marketers cannot opt set and forget approach in the early days of its implementation. The experience that AI will deliver will depend on the information that goes into it. CMOs can take the lead here by deciding specific areas where AI needs to be implemented. This will result in customers getting a coherent customer experience. By not choosing specific AI use cases, marketers risk the mishmash of experiences that might leave customers disappointed.
CX for Everyone
The pursuit of intense, fierce competition has led to marketers making customer experience a USP. Power to exercise influence, and availability of information and resources make CMOs the potent entity to lead customer experience. To keep customer experience an evolving undertaking, CMOs must prioritise data, technology, processes, and collaboration.