"Improving customer experience may be more a product of increasing collaboration between functional silos, or breaking them up completely to align with the customer journey."
That quote comes from an article yesterday on the Econsultancy blog by Ben Davis titled, Does Customer Experience Need Its Own Department? Econsultancy conducted a survey last year to find out what is preventing a better understanding of the customer journey. Here are the top seven answers:
- Complexity of the customer experience - 44%
- Difficulty unifying different sources of data – 34%
- Silo-based organizational structure – 34%
- Lack of sharing between departments – 28%
- IT bottlenecks – 26% (OPIS CEO Brian Crotty said solving this proved to be one of the true keys to their growth)
- Lack of leadership – 21%
- Lack of processes/workflow – 19%
"At the root of many of these problems is the lack of collaboration between teams," Davis wrote. "Marketing ops teams may be formed to prioritize work and alleviate IT bottlenecks, with a customer-based/design-led approach to marketing requiring cross-functional teams.
"Though culture isn't a big issue (10%) and understanding the customer journey seems to be on the agenda (only 9% say it is a low business priority), there's notable mention of lack of leadership (21%) and lack of processes (19%), which again point to the need for marketing transformation."
On the customer side, a survey last summer by Accenture Strategy—and reported in eMarketer—asked what the greatest influence is from a company to gain brand loyalty in a customer. Here are the top seven answers:
- Being trustworthy with personal information – 85%
- Being there when needed them but respecting customers' time – 81%
- A thanks or acknowledgment by the company – 69%
- Giving out small gifts, cards, offers – 59%
- Providing easy interaction with them – 51% ("Chat now" boxes are becoming more popular but can be frustrating if not available)
- Offering the most up-to-date products and services – 51%
- Engaging with customer so the product/service is more relevant – 44%
This shows how much of a balance is needed today to succeed. Data can be a huge new revenue center for publishers but you have to guard personal information. You have to be available at all times for customers but be wary of their time. Showing your love to customers is essential in some form, but you can't give everything away.
As for the customer journey, it's surprising to see that only 44% of customers want to be engaged for the product/service design. Perhaps this is because it can seem like a big time commitment. And I believe this survey included B2C where there may be less of an investment by the customer. Still, engaging customers in this way can present an even greater challenge—yes, you want their input but it can't be too intrusive or time-consuming.
Finally, if you can navigate all this, then the benefits are plentiful. According to October 2015 research from Wunderman, 65% of customers demonstrate loyalty by doing more business with a company, and 61% recommend the company to people they know. Four in 10 said they sign up for a loyalty or rewards program to show their devotion to a brand, and 15% promote the company's products on social media. Given it's a year-plus later, then that 15% has surely gone up.