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Unlocking the customer experience puzzle

17th Oct 2017
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It’s hard to separate marketers from initials: ROI, SEO, CTR, KPI, UX, they just keep coming. But for today’s marketer, CX (customer experience) is moving fast to the front of the line. After all, customer experience has become one of the most essential metrics for determining a company’s success.

The CX Imperative

First, how do we define customer experience? One description is, “the product of multiple interactions between an organization and a customer throughout their relationship.” Why is this important? Let’s start with some current stats (from HuffPost):

  • 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience
  • 67% of consumers cite bad customer experiences as a reason for churn
  • 72% of consumers will share a positive customer experience with six or more people

The proof is there that companies need to make every customer experience count, and the big differentiator is delivering an elevated experience. The first step toward this new, elevated experience is to break free from the industry norms that were built up around channel-optimized technology and opt for a true omnichannel solution. Today, people are in control of their own customer journey, not you.

There’s no way to predict a consumer’s behavior, only to adapt to it. CX is about seizing these micro-moments of opportunity. Customers expect—no, demand—seamlessly personalized CX across all channels and devices in real-time. That’s a tall order, but it can be done.

However, you still need to take a step back and begin with strategy. I often meet clients who are overloaded by information and vendor tech talk, but still nowhere nearer to understanding CX best practices and overall thinking. Strategy comes first and foremost, followed by the right technology to enable that strategy.

Customer Service vs. Customer Experience

Customer service is, of course, deeply intertwined with customer experience. A lot of marketers get caught up in the chicken and egg dilemma here: is CX part of customer service? Or is it the other way around?

While good points can be made on both sides of this argument, given the huge amount of overlap, I would still assert that customer experience is the overall umbrella. CX is all touch points to a customer, not just marketing messaging or in-store experience, social media responses, or call center satisfaction. It’s not marketing’s job, or support’s job, or sales’ job—CX is everyone’s job. It needs to be a company-wide mentality and commitment to delivering positive customer impact.

Marketing can’t magically solve everything with technology. Trust me, all of us as marketers wish that we could, but the intricacies of commerce today mean the initials, “CX” hold a lot of weight.

Slow Data, Fast Data

One unique CX solution has been the development of a marketing-specific decisioning engine that is completely channel-agnostic and centralized. Historical customer data (slow) and in-the-moment behavioral information (fast) can both be considered in full context in less than 100 milliseconds as a brand interaction is occurring. This breakthrough—an Adaptive Customer Experience (ACX)—lets marketers determine the optimal personalized messaging to deliver to your consumer. This elevated customer experience automatically adapts to the unpredictable behavior of your customers and naturally improves every single time a customer interacts with your brand, no matter when or where the interaction occurs.

It’s not about real-time all the time; it’s about operating at the speed of the consumer. You have to address both slow and fast data—that’s the key to truly solve the entire consumer identity vs. a seeing a mere slice of them in the moment only.

Does the secret to CX to ultimately lie in data?

It certainly begins there. Your strategy and the technology that enables it will take it from there. Your company culture is the big bow on top. CX success is a through-and-through commitment from companies to truly put the customer first and overhaul old marketing practices. As you venture forward to unlock your own CX puzzle, I’ll leave you with two solid pieces of advice:

Don’t get lost in the buzzwords. CX should be at the core of everything.

Stop optimizing the channel and start maximizing the opportunity.


Bob Hale is chief executive officer of Alterian, an Adaptive Customer Experience company where marketers gain the power to maximize customer opportunity in milliseconds, allowing brands to stay one step ahead of individual customers with the right message no matter where or when they interact.


Replies (4)

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By Sahib1989
13th Nov 2017 08:06

"Customer experience should be at the core of everything" I truly agree with that Bob. Being a digital marketer, I always try to market my company or its content from the customer's point of view. There should be value for your customer in what you publish or share. Same is true for all other aspects of marketing and sales.

Sahib Ahluwalia
Octopus Tech

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By Tony T
19th Dec 2017 14:58

All your stats on the customer service experience seem to be right on point. It's sill to say, but I always use Subway and McDonald's as a great example of customer service. Every time you go in there, you EXPECT a certain level of experience. Not in a demanding way. but you as the customer have been groomed in such a way by those companies to feel a certain way when you order food, get your food and experience their food. I'm sure those companies have huge amounts of data and information on what their customers need, want, and expect.

Thanks for the great info!
Tony Saucedo
Tree Trimming In SLO

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By BobbyPalms
14th Jan 2018 19:32

These statistics are incredibly helpful. Knowing just what the prospective customer is looking for and how they act is crucial to improving your conversion rate and success as a business overall. It can make the difference between success and failure, and these stats really make it easier to be sure you are putting your marketing budget in the right place.

Bobby Palms

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By BobbyB
27th Feb 2018 00:45

Hi Bob, interesting article, I enjoyed reading it. We're a fairly new company and have been diving into more and more marketing lately. I love how you put so much emphasis on customer experience. In my years of business that has always been my number 1 "secret" weapon for success. I say "secret" because it seems like so many others have never heard of or learned how to treat their customers. In this day in age, a bad experience will travel much faster on social media than just word of mouth from 20 years ago. Go the extra mile for customers and they'll go the extra mile for you, meaning they'll probably post about it Facebook and that's free marketing to their thousands of friends.
Bobby owner of Awnings Raleigh NC

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