According to a new study by The Economist Intelligence Unit and Marketo, 86% of CMOs believe they will own the end-to-end customer experience by 2020. But don’t believe the hype just yet.
Depending on which department you ask, the definition of an ideal customer experience will vary. For the service team, it is the quick, seamless resolution of a customer support call. For sales, it could be an online purchase completed with one-click. And for marketing, it could be anything from an easy to navigate website, to entertaining social media messages. These are all important initiatives that require money and manpower. But for a company that’s implementing a firm-wide customer experience initiative, it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Which one of the above mentioned initiatives will have the greatest impact on improving the customer experience?
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a subjective exercise. There is data that clearly indicates what matters most to consumers when it comes to customer experience. And the most of it isn’t the responsibility of the marketing department.
Take a look at the results from this 2015 survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which lists the top elements of an ideal customer experience, according to consumers.
Looking at these elements, it’s clear that improving customer experience elements in service and sales channels trumps those in marketing or other departments. 47% of consumers identified “fast response to enquiries and complaints” and “simple purchasing processes” as the most important elements. Both these elements are in the domain of the sales and service departments. Arguably, so are the next four; “Ability to track orders in real time,” “clarity and simplicity of product information across all channels,” “Ability to interact with the company over multiple channels” and “Access to more in-depth product information in stores through technology”
In fact, it isn’t until we get to the bottom of the list that we start to see elements that really are marketing’s responsibility. These include “A more personalized experience with relevant offers and recommendations based on my interests,” “Ongoing engagement with the company after the purchase has concluded,” and “Consistency of creative imaging across channels.” When the marketing department’s actions have such little impact on what consumers actually want, why are we all advocating for them to own the customer experience?
Looking at the data, it’s clear that marketing’s ownership of customer experience shouldn’t be a given. Depending on the type of product being sold, a brand can look to customer experience leadership from its sales, service or even its product teams.
However, CMOs reading this post shouldn’t feel as if their role has been diminished or that they still can’t be CX leaders. Even if marketing doesn’t drive CX, it still has a crucial part to play, especially when it comes to customer data.
You can’t craft a customer experience without knowing the customer, and when it comes to customer data, marketing is king. Unlike sales or service, who rely on past or present transactions for to build up their customer databases, marketing can gather data on people who aren’t customers of the brand yet. They can buy it from third party sources, and also utilize analytics from the brand’s owned digital channels. Predictive intelligence tools for marketers can also now be used to create an detailed picture of customer needs and engagement behavior across different digital channels. This kind of information forms the bedrock of any CX initiatives, whether it’s the sales, service or marketing department.
The second most important CX contribution marketing can make is through content. Content is the most effective way to communicate information to a customer, whether it’s about a product, or the lifestyle associated with the product and its brand. Not only does marketing produce the bulk of an organization’s content, it also owns the channels that deliver it, including the website, email, social media and advertising. To play a part in the customer experience, marketing should be a producer and deliverer of all types of content for the brand, not just the promotional kind. Depending on what the customer needs, this could be product information, expert advice, or simple entertainment.
It’s only when the CMO is ready to be the owner of customer data and content production for the entire organization that they can truly aspire to be leaders of customer experience. Otherwise, they’re better off letting sales or service leaders take the lead. But ultimately, the best option is to have a leader who is not beholden to either one of these departments, but in fact a CX leader who sits above them all. That’s the best way to make CX an organization wide-priority, and not just a department driven initiative.
Don’t assume that customer experience starts with the marketing department
All the news and updates at this year’s Modern Marketing Experience conference are all about the unified CX narrative.
Altimeter publishes the first complete maturity model for companies undergoing a digital transformation.
Charlene Li takes a look at what areas of digital transformation companies should invest in as the year begins.
Why companies need to start prepping for the rapidly approaching CX opportunities in virtual/augmented reality technology.
The new areas of focus for Altimeter’s research team in the New Year.
Watch the recorded webinar and download the slides of Altimeter’s presentation of “The Customer Experience Cloud”
New updates from Oracle Marketing Cloud help brands unite disparate data and business units on a single platform.
A new book by Altimeter’s Brian Solis underscores the importance of great design and empathy in creating lasting customer experiences.
A new Altimeter report gives companies a roadmap for unifying their teams and technologies around building a unified customer experience across all brand interactions.
Customer experience is no longer just the responsibility of marketing, martech must be used by the sales and service teams as well.
Acquisition underscores the potential of social to deliver results outside the marketing department.
Altimeter’s latest benchmark study on how companies are using social media to further their business results.
New updates to Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder platform now allow users to map customer journeys across sales, service, marketing and custom apps.
How to get your business noticed in a sea of content and media.
How to start crafting optimal customer experiences in the Internet of Things.
Oracle announces long-awaited web, data, and commerce integrations for its Marketing Cloud, highlighting its big ambitions for a unified offering of all its enterprise platforms.
I recently partnered with Genesys to explore the state and future of customer experience (CX).
How companies can use the Internet of Things to create experiences that benefit both the brand and its customers.
Customer experience is meant to be evocative, not reactive, and the current state of call centers isn’t helping.
A new startup called Locket is revolutionizing the way we use our mobile lock screens by turning it into a content and messaging playground.
The digital trends and practices that require the most attention from business executives this year.
We answer all the questions we couldn’t get to during our webinar on the mobile-only customer experience.
In this 1-hour webinar, join Jaimy Szymanski and Brian Solis for a discussion on how organizations can approach mobile design strategy through the lens of an evolving connected customer.
The inevitability of a mobile-only customer experience will have a big impact on how brands create and deliver content.
Why it’s not enough to simple be present on every digital channel
The essential steps you need to take to start building your customers’ mobile experiences.
Consumers will soon demand mobile-only experiences from the brands that engage them. Our report identifies the steps companies can take to start thriving in this new reality.
As we didn’t have time to answer all viewer questions after the 2014 State of Digital Transformation webinar, we’ve included our responses to the top inquiries here.
Altimeter’s recent research for its report, The 2014 State of Digital Transformation, uncovered that investing in new digital technologies (social, mobile, big data, cloud, etc.) doesn’t always equate to uniting those efforts around a common vision supported by an updated, integrated infrastructure.
As part of our open research process, I would like to extend an invite for your input, feedback, case examples, or any other insights you’d like to contribute to our upcoming research around the Internet of Things.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for Tuesday’s webinar on Digital Transformation. We had an excellent turnout from around the globe and received a lot of great questions throughout Brian’s presentation.
“Digital transformation” isn’t a trendy moniker to signify an increase in technology investment. It’s a renewed focus on the customer and the human side of business.