Archive for CXM

Avoiding the Dangers of the Unmanaged Customer Experience

Put your consumer hat on for a moment. Think about the last time you booked travel, bought a holiday gift, ordered flowers, or applied for a new credit card. Online or offline – doesn’t matter. What’s notable about that experience? What do you remember about it? Something? Nothing?

In the midst of the market cacophony about customer experience, three facts define the fundamentals, once stripped of  hype:

  1. Every brand delivers an experience to customers and prospects, consciously or unconsciously. At Digital Clarity Group (DCG), we define experience as “the totality of interactions through all channels and touch points over the entire life of the relationship.” Experience happens by default. As consumers, we always remember the bad. We might remember the good. We mostly forget the vast majority of experience that’s just mediocre. Which is not great if you’re a brand spending lots of money to leave a good impression.
  2. Consciously managing the experience is the only way that a brand can bias the experience for the right business outcome. Consistently good experiences are not accidental. Only when experience is deliberately managed does it become repeatable, predictable, measurable, and capable of being improved and optimized.
  3. The business practice of holistically managing the customer experience across channels is new, and therefore hard and mysterious. One of the many reasons it’s hard is that you cannot just throw technology at it and get results. Today there is no such thing as an out-of-the-box solution for experience management. It’s mysterious because successful paths (by way of repeatable best practices) are still being cut by the pioneers.

If customer experience management (CEM) is hard, it is also not an option. As my DCG colleague Tim Walters notes, “…the mobile and social empowerment of consumers makes CEM an inescapable, compulsory, and essential initiative for virtually every company’s survival.”

Who’s caught between the proverbial rock and hard place? Chief marketing officers, digital marketers, customer experience champions, LOB owners, newly-minted data scientists, marketing technologies, IT – yep, everyone who feels the pressure that customers are putting on them for higher-quality, more meaningful engagement. They want to move forward, know they need to move forward. But they are frequently overwhelmed by identifying the right starting point for CEM.

In DCG’s work with our enterprise clients, we see another obstacle that presents an even bigger risk. It’s not just that getting started can be overwhelming – it’s also that too many companies are responding to contemporary CEM challenges with legacy practices, processes, and technologies that are misaligned with the new world order imposed by empowered consumers. Doing more of the same, just bigger, faster, better, is a sure path to obsolescence. It’s time for fundamental change.

When we engage in a selection or roadmap development project with an enterprise client, we are typically supporting the manager or team who needs to enable that change in collective thinking about experience management. We often start by helping them write the script for the conversations with stakeholders. A number of the issues addressed in those scripts are distilled in our paper entitled The CEM Imperative: Customer Experience in the Age of the Empowered Consumer. What’s at risk if you don’t take action now? What’s the business case for investing in capabilities and competencies for experience management? If no single CEM solution exists today, how will you build and deploy a platform and toolset for experience management? The CEM Imperative provides insights that can help you start to formulate answers to these and related questions. You can also use it as a call-to-action for senior managers and executives who are hesitating. As DCG author Tim Walters writes:

“CEM is not vendor hype, because it is a response to the desires and expectations of today’s extremely demanding and fickle consumers. CEM is not a back-burner consideration because, as … innumerable studies prove, engaging consumers with superior experiences is a matter of life or death for any firm that cares about having customers.”

Presumably your organization cares about having customers. If that’s the case, then addressing the risk of unmanaged – or mismanaged – experience must be a top strategic goal moving forward.

Download your copy
The CEM Imperative: Customer Experience in the Age of the Empowered Consumer

 

Beyond Customer Experience Management: What Your CMS Really Needs to Deliver

Selecting a new or replacement CMS is one of the most strategic technology decisions you can make. Why? Because customers and prospects expect personalized, engaging, dynamic, and high quality experiences and will leave if they don’t find them.

Selecting the right CMS is important because it is a primary tool in providing those experiences and the hub that connects and drives many of the components that make up customer experience management. This post is based on a white paper entitled “Beyond Customer Experience: What Your CMS Really Needs to Deliver, “ which was also the subject of a recent presentation I did at the Gilbane Conference. You can download the white paper (registration required): at http://bluebillinc.com/white-paper-beyond-customer-experience-management/ .

Providing a personalized and seamless experience to customers across myriad devices, touch points, and stages in the relationship is a big challenge; one with which many organizations struggle. A recent Bain & Company survey found that while 80% of surveyed executives believe their companies are delivering a great customer experience, only 8% of their customers agree.

One reason they struggle is that customer experience is only part of the equation, specifically, the goal. The other parts of the equation that achieve that goal are content creator experience, developer experience, and integrator experience-in total, the  “global user experience.” While those are “behind the scenes players, they create and shape the customer experience.

Great customer experiences are predicated on the effectiveness with which a CMS provides those other experiences—in effect, a well-designed CMS inspires better performance on the part of content creators and developers, yielding customer experiences that deliver more business impact. It also allows integration of familiar and new tools to enhance the productivity and effectiveness of content creators and developers. Shown as an equation, the global user experience would look like the diagram below:

equation

Key to achieving a superior customer experience is the ability for content creators, marketers, and developers to focus on the experience itself, not the mechanics of producing it. That requires a mature CMS solution that provides a balanced set of tools and capabilities for content creators, developers, and integrators. That, in turn, requires a coordinated CMS selection process amongst all of those stakeholders that emphasizes not only the individual experiences, but the collective experience as well.

As we noted at the top of this post, selecting a CMS is a strategic decision-the CMS solution that provides the right global user experience is a growth engine that helps power the success of any business or firm-the right strategic decision.

Responsive Design and the Future of Digital Experiences

The blog on our sister site, gilbane.com, is the place to tune to for our series of speaker spotlights and general updates about our upcoming conference in Boston. Here, I’ll be highlighting a few conference sessions and why we have decided to include them.

Digital experience designers are familiar with the approach of responsive design even if they haven’t used it. If they have used it they know it is not quite as easy as it first sounds, and the popularity of responsive design courses suggests there is a still a lot of learning going on. But even if you don’t need to understand the code, if you are a marketing manager you need to know what you can expect responsive design to accomplish and what level of effort it entails.

C2. Responsive Design and the Future of Digital Experiences

Tuesday, December, 3: 2:40 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.

Responsive design has been around since the early days of the browser wars, but as mobile channels grew it became both more important and more complex. Gone are the days when new digital channels, form factors, and other device characteristics can be anticipated and digital strategies need to reflect this new reality. This session will provide multiple perspectives on what responsive design can do, what its limitations are, and what its future challenges are.

Moderator:
Tom Anderson, President, Anderson Digital

Speakers:
Scott Noonan, Chief Technology Officer, Boston Interactive
In Koo Kim, Senior Manager, MOBEX, NorthPoint Digital
Scrap the Big Launch, Fly a Kite: How to Create and Maintain Control of Smarter Mobile Apps with Real-Time UI Updates, A/B Testing, and Personalization
Christopher S Carter, General Manager, aLanguageBank
Are You Prepared to Create Content for the Internet of Things?