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Customer Experience (CX) is a wide term that is often used interchangeably to cover customer journeys and processes, contact centre and customer services, cross-channel contact strategies, brand, marketing and more. In reality, it is an umbrella term that catches all the ways a customer experiences a company at any point in their lifecycle.

The Coeus view is therefore that it is best to differentiate their purpose, and the goals that are trying to be achieved, – as there are different technologies and interventions for these. For example:

  • Brand Experience – Marketing & consistency of UX and UI across different channels
  • Customer Journey – Processes For Order to Cash, Problem to Fix, Complaint to Resolution, Query to Resolve
  • Customer Relationship Management - The coveted ‘Single Customer View’ or ‘Customer 360’ that provides a record of relationship, cases, and interactions with an individual customer
  • Cross-Channel Management - Ability of customer to switch between channels to interact, and have their context and information follow them
  • Customer Services Management – Supporting the operational elements of customer experience management such as contact centres, online support and so on

While joined-up thinking is vital, each of the areas above require different owners and intervention. However, the Coeus view is that there are two common technology-related threads that are foundational to success; strong data management and the capabilities offered by a modern CRM platform such as the various Salesforce offerings or those from Microsoft Dynamics.

From a marketing standpoint, with the rise of multiple data sources (such as social, internet cookies, customer history) that relate to a customer as well as ways to make sense of that data (big data, analytics, AI), organisations can now uniquely tailor services to smaller and smaller customer sets based on an ever-more complex set of metrics.

Customers increasingly understand how their data will be used and many are increasingly happy to accept trading a certain level of their privacy for rewards in terms of tailored products and focussed offers - but only if companies grasp the nettle in terms of understanding, managing and disseminating the data that they hold about customers in a structured and consistent way. The marketing capabilities afforded by CRM platforms then enable this data to be monetised effectively.

Customers also expect that the interactions that they have with companies that know them will be driven by their personalised context and information. CRM platforms are designed to be able to provide the contextual information across channels and are increasingly becoming a necessity rather than an option in most sectors that have any need to meaningfully interact with end customers. The integrations possible with these platforms also enable them to manage common journeys and interact with back-end systems while orchestrating end to end processes that are consistent across the operation.

For those companies willing to invest carefully, the potential here is limitless in refining offerings that delight customers by seamlessly managing all of their interactions and delivering products or services that are aligned to customer preferences – both those that are explicitly provided and those that can be inferred by looking at other data points about the customer and their behaviours.

The ultimate expression of this expectation is loyalty, or the lack of it – and conversely customers are prepared to take their custom elsewhere if they feel frustrated by the way they can interact with the organisation, or by an apparently limited understanding of their situation or needs.

Coeus, for example, worked with a financial services company to define key customer journeys across different products and channels, and advised on the right technology that would aid in tracking the efficacy of each channel, so that that the most appropriate way of interacting with each customer could be driven automatically.

Effectively managing the gamut of customer experience is no longer an option in the digital age, and whatever products are offered, a strategy around how the customer edge will be managed is strongly advised. Such a strategy is far from one-size-fits-all.

Organisations must take into account their product set, product and customer lifecycles, typical decision points, competition, social influencers and many other factors to ensure that their strategy will drive the right customer behaviour, at the right cost for the organisation. At all times organisations must also remain highly cognisant of data ownership.

Coeus recommends taking into account the following key considerations:

  • Be clear on the areas of customer experience that need addressing – are they related to brand, marketing, the order journey, customer services, or a multiple of these
  • Develop consistent capture and understanding of rich/diverse data on prospects and customers that can be provided to whoever needs to interact
  • Leverage the latest data and customer technology platforms (e.g. CRM), matching the functional capabilities as required to the value cases that need to be driven
  • Develop seamless omni-channel experiences, across different devices, where context and information is shared between channels. This is vital for joined up customer services experience
  • Ensure that data and preferences of current customers is of a high quality, and properly and securely stored and referenced
  • Segment customers carefully to apply different and relevant contact and product strategies that are personalised to the customer needs and wants
  • Measure the effectiveness of different strategies – for example using customer satisfaction, revenue, NPS, complaints analysis, or other agreed metrics – and then tailor approaches accordingly

In addition, obviously suitable training needs to be provided wherever there is to be agent interactions. Whilst technology plays a huge role in nearly all interactions, this can be undermined by not getting the basics correct should the human touch be needed.