Customer Experience: The Latest Buzzword or a Lasting Trend?

Have You Heard the Buzz?

Business buzzwords come and go constantly.  Today’s “growth hacking” quickly becomes tomorrow’s “net-net.” And while the same is usually true of C-suite titles, there is a relatively new role that is buzzing in small businesses on up to Fortune 100 companies and may be here to stay. The Chief Customer Officer (CCO) is responsible for ensuring that the organization provides a unified and seamless customer journey/experience across all customer channels and guides the adoption and dissemination of CX practices and technologies.

Some companies also call this role the Chief Experience Officer, but the words are not as important as the function. There is a reason why organizations have developed entire positions centered around customer experience. Customers and their needs change. So should your experience. In the COVID world, we’ve seen many changes. Perhaps one of the biggest has been the push to go digital and remote working. Unfortunately, this push has caused many organizations to put the proverbial “cart before the horse.” Organizations have implemented digital tools before even thinking about strategy. Before any tools come into play, the heart of an organization’s digital transformation should be a customer experience strategy. If your organization has started with tools first, don’t worry, it’s not too late. Here are a few tips that can help you craft a digital strategy that can potentially link your existing tools and approach to an enhanced customer experience.

CCOs Prioritize Experience over Sales

Everyone would agree that if you went to a car dealer looking to buy a sport coupe and the salesperson only showed you minivans, it would not be a good experience. More than likely, you wouldn’t go back because your needs weren’t met, and the pushy salesperson focused more on his commission than your experience. When company leaders prioritize the bottom line and a quippy sales pitch, it’s clear that the needs of their customers aren’t part of their thought process. There is no question that you need to employ effective sales tactics, but rather than lead with a sales focus, your sales and marketing efforts should be partners in crafting an ideal customer experience. Experience is everything, and it is the type of paradigm shift needed for businesses like yours. The role of a CCO can provide that perspective and help guide the implementation of an effective strategy.

CCOs Focus on the Right Customers

A CCO can also help give perspective on the “right” customers, saving valuable time and marketing dollars. Companies need a clear 360-degree view of their current and potential customers, so they can understand, attract, and serve the right people at the right time. To do that you must know who your customers are and the experiences they have during each step of their relationship with your company.

This new understanding will take time but adhere to the long view. A positive customer experience correlates to loyalty, and that requires sales, marketing, and internal processes to work in tandem. So focus on ironing out effective marketing and sales processes for your customers and you’ll grease the wheel for the next sale and the many after it.

CCOs Let the Data Guide Them

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming you already know your customers’ experiences well.  Also, don’t assume that customers will be honest when you ask them about their experience either, as they may not know how to effectively describe it.  That’s why having tools that provide clear, actionable insight into actual customer behavior is so important. When this data is combined with customer feedback, you can truly understand how to best serve your customers.

So how much data can you capture about your customers? Perhaps better questions are, what do need to collect and what do you do with the data? Once you know who your customers are and what actions they take really drive your business, you can adapt your experience strategy to reinforce those buying decisions. CRM systems, like Salesforce, are great at capturing data, but organizations many times miss out on the next step, which is putting that data into action. A great CRM allows you to construct a quality experience through real-time data and the flexibility to evolve the experience based upon the data.

CCOs Need the Right Tech

So, how do you tie the teams, strategy, and processes together? A great CCO needs to pick the best tools. The good news is, once you have decided to focus on customer experience, the implementation part is easier. According to Salesforce, these three steps are key.

  • First, you need to get your experiences to market fast — and then be able to update them even faster to adapt to what’s changing with your business or market trends.
  • Second, customer interactions need to be personalized and actionable — which is only possible when connected to CRM data and business processes that empower customers to take action.
  • And finally, every single one of these touchpoints needs to be consistent across a multichannel customer journey. The moment a customer feels like they left your ecosystem, they are highly unlikely to come back.

CCOs Should Use Salesforce’s Experience Cloud

Fortunately, Salesforce’s Experience Cloud (formerly known as Community Cloud) is a great tool that can help with this process. Experience Cloud can help CCOs create engagement with customers and quickly adapt the experience based on actionable insights on tools such as websites, portals, mobile apps, and many other touchpoints. The best part is it is integrated with Salesforce’s powerful Customer360 platform, making it easy to integrate every part of your business into the customer experience to keep your customers happy and coming back to you.

Conclusion

It’s never too late to adopt a customer experience mindset. Don’t let another day go by without reaching your best customers with an experience that will bring them back again and again.

So if you’re the CCO of your firm or you are a senior leader looking to refocus your company on the customer experience and you want a deeper dive into Experience Cloud, one of our consultants would be happy to speak with you during one of our FREE, no-obligation assessments. And, if you are looking to fill a CCO position, our staffing division can also help find the perfect candidate that fits your team and your culture.

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