Collision course; marketing can’t achieve customer centricity on its own
In today’s market, CX practitioners come from all different parts of the business and must work cohesively to ensure the outcome is a seamless journey through on and offline channels. Where marketers and customer success teams might once have assumed ownership of the customer experience, they are now expected to share it, and play well with other departments being brought into the mix.
For marketers and customer service professionals, customer experience has always sat at the very core of their role in driving greater value for organisations. However, according to the, the recent surge in adoption of AI and chatbot technologies means some 60% of UK CIOs report leadership teams are now also looking at IT for support.
Of course, to keep customers happy and loyal, all organisations need to figure out how they can keep up with the customer experience standards set by industry disrupters – and make the necessary internal changes to ensure it happens sooner rather than later. Where marketers and customer success teams might once have assumed ownership of the customer experience, they are now expected to share it, and play well with other departments being brought into the mix.
So what does this mean? Ultimately customer experience (CX) has always been at the centre of the organisation. What’s changing is its practitioners. In today’s market, CX practitioners come from all different parts of the business and must work cohesively to ensure the outcome is a seamless journey through on and offline channels.
Delivering this invites challenges not only in how teams are restructured and realigned with each other, but also how the wider organisation understands its purpose as a business and reports on its performance as such. Here we consider some of the chief barriers facing organisations looking to drive greater value through enhancing the customer experience.
According to the recent report published by the CX Network on the, competing business priorities are now the number one challenge for customer experience practitioners when it comes to increasing the customer-centricity of their organisations.
Sales, for example, is a traditional area where sparks might fly with one team focused solely on short term financial results and the other looking at longer term trends and customer satisfaction. Crucially, this is no longer the age of the seller – with the birth of assistance technologies, the required mindset is one of guidance.
Equally, where IT might have seen its role as simply to ‘keep the lights on’, it is now an integral part of creating one, single record of all interactions between a brand and a customer that now range from online to social media, from customer support to chatbot.
Another second key challenge identified byin keeping customer experience on top of the agenda is a lack of buy-in from the top to the bottom. With that is a lack of understanding from senior internal stakeholders in regards to their responsibility and impact on the customer experience.
Customer experience is the responsibility of everyone within the company. Getting CEO level support to involve everyone from the initial start of a CX programme is key to cultivate companywide customer centricity, bringing everyone on board to share a common understanding.
Rip and replace
With senior leadership buy-in, the route map for customer centricity can be drawn in any conceivable way. Importantly, rather than embarking on a rip-and-replace mission, it is important decision makers understand how CX can complement the current culture to enhance the business’s competitive edge.
After all, the unique identity of a company is often crucial to its success. But, the culture does indeed need to accommodate to customer expectations, aligning to actually fulfil feedback where possible. This change must be driven from the top and rooted in the awareness of the value of CX – how it benefits client loyalty and the bottom line.
The CX and ROI relationship
Another perceived barrier is the absence of connecting the CX programme to tangible and measurable business results. Having clearly defined objectives and tying them to business results are key to keep CX a high priority initiative.
However, treating people only as rational actors where information, clicks and purchases are the only currencies of a brand interaction will likely not end well.
Instead, viewing every step of the customer journey as an opportunity to strengthen a mutually beneficial partnership, and designing the experience to trigger positive emotions, will endear customers and the people they happily recommend to the brand.
As an added benefit, a more fully human approach can boost the job satisfaction of everyone on the brand side as well, making stars of brand managers who understand the need to engage people more fully as human beings
It is up to customer experience practitioners to disband outdated roles to ensure marketing, sales and IT align to, with, for, and around the customer. Balancing the flexibility of practitioners to deliver positive emotions, rather than hard results, with the need for sustainable, profitable change around the customer is a fine line. Go too far and the initiative falls down, but executed well, the business levels the playing field with market disruptors.