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.