State of the Customer Experience Industry
Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to interact with diverse industry experts to talk about what it takes to deliver great customer experience (CX). Throughout my conversations, three lessons continue to emerge, which companies committed to CX need to consider if they expect to compete successfully and win long-term customer loyalty.
- Executive support & product quality standards are simply not enough.
Yes, both of these aspects are critical to customer experience and essential components of the company’s foundation. However, on their own, these are simply not enough to differentiate a brand or win the hearts or wallets of your customers. This message was emphasized through my conversations with 8 individual analysts at EMC World. The analysts definitely appreciate that EMC utilizes an 11-point quality scorecard to maintain consistency across our broad technology portfolio and that senior leaders are held accountable for Net Promoter Score metrics, but reminded us that these elements are increasingly expected and not enough to stand out from the pack.
- Customer experience data needs to be personalized, consumable and governed.
Data is only as good as what you do with it and how you share it. All too often, companies let individual metrics fool them into thinking they have a complete customer view. To be effective, CX programs need to include a diverse set of metrics along the customer journey to provide a holistic picture of the individual customer, as well as offer relevant benchmarks/context to understand how the customer compares to similar peers. Furthermore, how you choose to display data is important—it needs to be easy and intuitive. EMC’s End-to-End Dashboard uses visualization software (Tableau) and shows key data points, including revenue, customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score, product quality and industry trends, to help field teams deeply understand a specific customer profile and target their conversations and actions accordingly.
As companies continue to explore and integrate internal and external data sources, they need to develop a governance strategy to drive consistency, accuracy and cross-functional collaboration. Informatica is heralding our time as the age of engagement. This means leveraging resources across a company, not just in its silos, and enabling them to engage freely.
- If you are not investing in predictive analytics, you should be.
In thinking about what CX will entail in the coming months and years, predictive analytics certainly top the list. The industry has been aware that predictive capabilities will be a game changer for some time.
One of the common use cases for predictive capabilities is how marketing and sales teams use “propensity to buy” models to deliver the right offer to the right customer at the right time. In the consumer space, this allows companies such as Amazon to plan for peaks in holiday package shipments based on an individual consumer’s likelihood to purchase certain products. In the business-to-business space, companies (including EMC) can target the right person within a complex organization at the most optimal time to help improve sales conversation rates.
Predictive analytics also has relevance later on in the CX lifecycle—the customer service experience. By leveraging an advanced algorithm and statistical model, companies can actually determine whether a customer is likely to be dissatisfied with the service experience without directly hearing from him/her. EMC is currently rolling out a global effort focused on predictive customer service. The early results of the initiative have indicated significant increases in customer satisfaction and company perception, which validate why this investment is so integral to EMC’s long-term CX strategy.
Although there is no magic formula to achieve CX success, it is clear that what was considered unique yesterday will not suffice in tomorrow’s landscape. Based on feedback from analysts across the industry, companies who expect to deliver a truly differentiated experience need to ensure that they have a comprehensive customer-centric program in place—starting with a foundation of product quality and Executive support, then adding a more organized and personalized approach to data, and finally investing in future capabilities that will help predict what customer need or feel.
The next challenge for EMC and the industry is to predict potential customer activities even before we know they exist. It may sound impossible but consider this. In 2012 Forrester research found that “B2B buyers will find three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece that marketing can publish or sales can deliver”. With the explosion of social media, what do you think that ratio is today? Predictive analytics has the potential to inform our go to market strategies. The most customer centric companies will be developing the products customers need through the channels they want based on data. That is a future I can get excited about.