Marketers Aren’t the De Facto Owners of Customer Experience

As much as all the buzz around customer experience makes it seem as though marketers shoulder all the responsibility for it, some beg to differ: “Marketers aren’t the de facto owners of customer experience,” Scott Liewehr, president and principal analyst of Digital Clarity Group, said during his session at the Sitecore Symposium 2014.

Liewehr defines customer experience (CX) as “a customer’s holistic perception of a company and its offerings based on all of the customer’s interactions with the company.” That means consistency across the organization is essential. “Any failed interaction is a threat to the customer experience,” he said, adding that 89% of consumers say they’ve switch providers based on a poor customer experience. For this reason CX has to be an organization-wide approach to business. “Customer experience can’t be solely driven by marketing or you’re actually a threat to the business,”Liewehr warned.

The reason fingers point at marketing so often for the ups and down of customer experience? “Marketing,” Liewehr said, “is the expectation for customer experience.” However, he added,

customers’ perceived expectations don’t always equal their expected experience, and when that happens customer satisfaction suffers. So marketers must evangelize CX internally. Because marketing creates and communications the brand promise, they must also help to ensure that the brand promise is fulfilled—or all of their work may be for naught.

To get started on the CX journey, Liewehr recommended embracing three essential components of customer experience:

1. Holistic. Marketers must realize and communicate that CX is an organization-wide transformation and approach to business.
2. Value.
All employees must commit to ensuring that everything they do delivers value to customers, which will then translate into value for the business.
3. Consistency.
Any failed interaction, as well as inconsistency in communications or experiences across channels, can harm the customer experience and cost a company customers. The key is integration across the organization, both technology-wise and team-wise.

Then, Liewehr said, take these three steps:

1. Get started. Don’t be afraid to jump in. Select one area of CX to focus on, gain successes, and grow from there.
2. Get smart.
This is not about the lowest common denominator. Think about where CX will have the greatest impact.
3. Get going. Don’t be a victim of analysis paralysis. Try something, iterate, and be agile.

“Your customers don’t want to engage with you,” Liewehr said. “Seeking out engagement is a false priority. Customers have other things to do.” They do, however, want to get insight and service. So businesses need to be there at that moment of truth, while balancing the need to give customers space. “They don’t want to engage with you how much you want to engage with them,” Liewehr added. “And they’ll be quick to disegage based on poor customer experience.”

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