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Why It’s All About Customer Experience

I write a lot about customer experience, and that customers are smarter now and are in control of the conversation.

I was happy to read a similar opinion from Brett Adamson, co-author of The Challenger Sale, who gave the opening keynote at Content2Conversion Conference last week. A recap of his talk is nicely presented in Eloqua’s blog. He posits that “we need to disrupt the learning journey and we have to show customers along the journey that they’ve missed something, and show them the ways they failed to learn on their own. That’s what we’re competing against – the customer and her ability to learn.”

The prospective buyer is very smart and is doing the research on their own. In fact, the buyer has done more than two-thirds of the research prior to contacting us. That’s why it is so vital that we do the work to get to know our audience and provide the content they want that will resonate with them and result in their wanting to engage with us. Then, we have to nurture those buyers and give them the best experience possible so they want to become a customer. And, after they become our customer, we have to give them the best experience possible so they will become our lifetime customer, fan and advocate.

What it comes down to is that it is all about the experience. And we need to invest in whatever ways possible to understand our audience and ensure they have a wonderful experience.

The biggest mistake a marketer can make is to not understand the audience and not give them what they want. If this happens, a prospect will bolt for your competitor or worse, your existing customer will bolt for your competitor.

So, what can you do?

Thanks to social media, we have things right at our finger tips. We must listen to, engage with, help and then promote – in that order – to our social media networks and online communities. We need to know what people want, why they want it, how they want it and when they want it. Social listening and engagement are going to help us help our prospects and customers. Then, we are going to create a content strategy and after implementing a combination of content creation and curation tactics, we are going to distribute our content to help drive people to our website. We are going to continue to be in a test and refinement mode through using Google Analytics and social measurement tools, and revise our content so we continue to nurture these individuals and enable engagement so we create a great experience for them and they want to be our customers. If prospects trust we understand and will help them, they will become a customer.

At this point, many companies stop nurturing their customers and forget about servicing them, which is the reason why, according to the US Chamber of Commerce, almost 70% of first year customers leave for the competition.

To keep customers for life, you must focus on the experience.

However, companies are being met with challenges in their ability to produce effective customer experiences.

In their 2013 white paper, “Destination 2017: Preparing to Meet Tomorrow’s Customer Experience Expectations”, CMO Council noted that in a Forrester 2010 customer experience survey, only 43 percent of marketers surveyed felt they were able to satisfy customers researching products at least 75 percent of the time via online channels; only 38 percent felt they satisfied customers who were buying products online; and only 33 percent felt they satisfied customers when providing support online. In 2013, CMO Council’s own research indicated only 14.5 percent of marketers were tracking word of mouth on the Internet, and only 13 percent had deployed real-time systems to collect, analyze and distribute customer intelligence and feedback.

Marketers share a common frustration: building and developing a connected customer experience requires a truly connected and robust view of the customer. This view is constantly being blocked by silos that prevent critical customer voice, insight and intelligence from being shared across an organization. But customers expect a seamless, relevant and personalized experience that the customer controls.

CMS.wire’s post and accompanying infographic about a recent customer experience survey Consero conducted confirms that a great customer experience hinges on effective use of social media and the Internet, and companies will need access to a wide range of tools to help manage the customer retention and experience processes. According to the survey, even though staff sizes are on the rise, 61 percent of CX executives say they still lack the resources to manage their departments well. And, 84 percent say they have no accurate way to measure the return on investment (ROI) of their social media policies.

The CMO Council report, looking ahead to 2017, indicated that “next-generation CXM will be proactive and engage the entire organization. It will strive to understand what customers are thinking about them before they seek to buy their products and services. It will seek to provide a consistent brand experience in any and all channels that a customer prefers. Customers will be able to use whatever channel they like—whenever they like—to interact with the brand, regardless of the service or ecosystem, and they will enjoy a richness of experience through any channel”.

I hope we see this in the mainstream in 2015.

What do you think are the next steps for CXM? Let us know in the comments.

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