It seems like exhortations to “transform customer experiences” and “drive customer intimacy” are everywhere.
Search online for “Customer Experience Management”, though, and what do you find? Tools to help you improve the consistency of your online services’ user experiences. Social media monitoring tools. Web analytics tools. Marketing automation and online advertising tools. There’s a pattern here that it’s useful to pick apart.
What I’m learning as I look across my team’s enterprise research and client interactions is that what’s primarily being focused on is the domain of marketing activities, and specifically finding answers to the following questions as they’re relevant to marketing:
- How can we get an integrated view of customers, their preferences and their behaviour?
- How can we apply this customer knowledge to deliver the most appropriate experience?
To my mind, what this boils down to is an attempt to answer the question “how can we make our promises to customers and prospects more compelling?“
That’s fine. But what use are extravagant promises if you can’t keep them?
Let me put it this way. How would you feel if someone you know in passing suddenly started taking a lot more interest in what you’re doing, and made a promise to help you with something … and then completely failed to deliver on that promise?
Finding out ways to make more compelling promises is all well and good, but you have to be confident that your business can actually deliver on those promises. This takes more effort than you might think.
Here’s a model I use to help people understand the true scope and scale of what it means to embrace the concept of ‘customer intimacy’.
Really getting to grips with customer experience excellence means being able to share knowledge and co-ordinate work, at scale, across marketing, sales, operations and service teams. It means not only being able to maintain an integrated view of customers, their preferences and their behaviour; it also means being able to make that knowledge available at the right place and the right time, finding ways to empower people with the right information and policies so they can make the most effective decisions in front of customers, and also addressing strategies that enable you to open up and let customers collaborate with you to shape your products and services.
Great customer experiences aren’t forged in automated promotion factories. They’re enabled by systems (in their broadest sense) that consistently encourage the right kinds of behaviour in front of your customer.
This is one of the themes that are woven into a new free report we’ll be publishing soon called The Digital Enterprise shift: why it matters, and how you can avoid being sidelined. Keep an eye out for it!