Last week censhare sponsored the Forrester CXEurope Summit . Its theme was how to create a better Customer Experience (CX) in what has been coined “The Age of the Customer” and the censhare team enjoyed an insightful two days amongst leading industry experts at this prestigious event.
David Truog, Vice President and Research Director at Forrester , opened the two-day expo by posing the question “Why care about CX? What is the benefit?”. The answer was clear, as according to one Forrester report , ROI on customer experience investments can be up to 61%.
So having a customer experience strategy is clearly a business imperative today and below are five things industry leaders focused on when making that happen.
#1 - Everyone Owns CX
While a customer experience strategy is driven by the management team or maybe a dedicated CX executive and supported by technology, customer experience is something that has to be owned by the entire company. From the CEO to the new hire on the customer support team, CX is as much a cultural initiative as it is a technological one. People service the customers, people service the technology which services the customers, and people make the decisions to concentrate on CX.
#2 - It’s Beyond the Buying Phase
Organizations often focus on the start of the customer’s journey, the buying phase, on attracting a customer and encouraging the purchase, and its orchestration falls under the umbrella of marketing and sales. But of course, the customer journey doesn’t end just because someone makes a purchase. As important as this part of the journey is, or as good as the product or service being provided is, the customer experience journey continues with post purchase customer service and support.
#3 - You Need a Vision
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
Rick Parish , Principal Analyst at Forrester, took the opportunity to remind us of this Chinese proverb and its profoundness in relation to a CX project. Improving CX doesn’t just happen. You can’t just tell customer service reps to be nicer on the phone and be done with it. It typically takes a new culture and the right technological infrastructure to make it happen.
This sentiment was echoed by a practical example given by Szymon Walach of Bank Polski, who spoke of the organization’s CX journey. Beginning in 2010 with a vision to complete the roll out in 2020, Bank Polski had improved enough by 2017 to be considered a leader in CX in Europe and it is now the top bank in Poland. Good CX cannot be reactionary, the strategy has to be a proactive one and it comes back to marketing effort to ensure a positive and connected CX.
#4 - You Must Mind the Gap
Your audience is everywhere. Your customers won’t come knocking on your door asking for CX, rather it has to be enacted and communicated everywhere to everyone. However, the omni-channel requirement for CX is perhaps the most challenging. As Rüdiger Pläster, Managing Director of ORT Group shared in his presentation,
CX transformation usually needs to be accompanied by a process of digital transformation. Building a customer experience to be proud of is a combination of people, processes and systems.
This thought was furthered by Ted Schadler , Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research, in his statement: "To close the customer experience gaps in performance, convenience, personalization, and trust, firms must think differently and invest differently in the technology of experience delivery".
#5 - Don’t Forget the Content
It seemed that the subject of content was a bit in the fringes of the conference, something that that got Ian Truscott worked up in his recent Tuesday 2¢ .
But as Senior Forrester Analyst, Ryan Skinner , stated in his packed session which discussed the amount of content that is needed to engage each segment at each customer journey phase within a customer experience strategy: “Content is the Hidden Cost of Personalization”.
This message was also echoed by Rüdiger Pläster when he explained that the core of his clients omni-channel customer experience is a “bullet proof CMS (you can download his presentation here ).
The “Age of the Customer” has been driven by rapid technological advances of the past couple of decades and has created a digitally enabled, hyper connected consumer who has greater choice than ever before. As Forrester has measured, leaders across many industries and markets verticals are being defined by the customer experience which they provide. Doing this requires not just technology, but a vision that drives a cultural shift and an implementation which touches every part of the organization.