The concept of ‘customer experience’ has been such a hot topic of conversation for so long, you’d think that every brand and retailer is prioritizing customer-centric activities and investments above all else. Further, you’d think top brands are proud of the customer experiences they deliver. Recent insights from Salesforce suggest a different story. They surveyed 550 traditional retail, pure play, consumer goods, and branded manufacturing leaders about their approach to consumer experience. You may be able to relate to the findings.
The Consumer Experience is Disconnected
Global brands are attempting to get back to the basics and put consumers in the center of their business strategies. If you attend any industry conference, you’re sure to hear plenty of this customer-centricity chatter. But look under the hood of most organizations and you’ll discover that the reality is far different. The challenges of achieving a truly seamless and delightful customer experience are numerous:
- Functions and departments lack alignment.
- Information systems aren’t properly governed.
- Performance metrics vary widely.
- Data is scattered and often far from actionable.
Despite the holy grail status placed on consumer experience, it’s often over promised and under delivered. And it’s especially disconnected at the top of the funnel: brands rated the biggest challenge as engagement and discovery (32%), followed by awareness and acquisition (24%). These two top-of-funnel areas collectively represent more than half of the areas that need the most improvement.
Prioritizing Product Over Experience
Salesforce’s survey, nearly 60% of brand leaders said their company’s unique value proposition is product quality or uniqueness — compared to 14% for service, 11% for price and 6% for convenience. It’s true that product is key for brands feeling competitive pressure from online marketplaces. But what about focusing on service and convenience to provide differentiated customer experience? Brands may be missing this key opportunity to not only attract consumers, but sustain shopper satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
Who Owns the Consumer Experience?
Perhaps one of the most surprising insights from Salesforce’s report is that brand leaders don’t have a common blueprint on who owns the customer experience. In their survey, no single role or department emerged that owns this strategy and execution. Results ranged from 34% for the CEO to 12% for customer care and service to 8% for analytics/data intelligence. But no matter who’s accountable, consumer experience success relies on alignment, communication, and equally as important, data management and governance. In fact, Salesforce found that elite performers (brands whose revenue increased more than 10% in the past fiscal year) focus on data at nearly 2x higher rates than underperformers. Data is the road to success.
What’s the secret sauce to achieving a better customer experience?
We work with big brands every day to help solve their challenges of delivering truly delightful customer experiences, enabled by various connected technologies. We approach these challenges with an interdisciplinary team made up of strategists, UX/design and technology. Our approach is how you get there:
Look past the project at hand: You might be responsible for only one element of the digital customer experience in a larger ecosystem, but consider all the other digital touchpoints and experiences. If you build out that roadmap holistically, you’ll find that you speed time to market for everyone and get more bang out of each budget buck.
Define owners and stakeholders: its important to understand who owns what portions of the customer experience and how they are connected. Collaboration is key to delivering a seamless customer experience.
Look for a simple, efficient and lightweight solutions: This saves time and money both on the original implementation and on ongoing maintenance and enhancements. Think of ways to automate content across digital properties and touchpoints, regardless of presentation or styling.
Interested in an assessment of your customer experience and what you can do to raise your game? Get in touch with us. From Sitecore to Salesforce, we know the technology and how to translate that to deliver delightful and friction-free customer experiences.