Written by Monique Jansen for Buljan & Partners Consulting
Today the majority of businesses continue to be structured in a traditional manner, either through an organizational chart or a mixed approach (a combination of conventional methods and project management). On the other hand, although businesses are starting to enter the digital era, they are still very much in the process of adapting. As a result of this situation, there is a huge amount of confusion between different departments and project teams over who is the customer ‘owner’.
It’s highly likely that departments that have contact with customers will in turn have teams that take care of the digital marketing, CRM, customer experience, customer service, etc., and it’s also likely that in this scenario, it’s chaos that rules supreme when it comes to dealing with customers.
With the exception of several leading companies, there’s still room for improvement where coordination of customer impacts is concerned, since on occasion, it becomes a real drama. I’m not exaggerating: like many I’m all too familiar with the situation having experienced in from the inside (working for companies) and the outside (as a customer). The solution to the problem doesn’t lie in hiring a Chief Customer Officer, but rather firstly, it’s essential to create a base and restore order, creating a plan for customer contact/impacts with customers on a multi-channel and omni-channel level which brings real added value to the customer and the business, which requires a certain ‘magic’.
The Magic of Data Management
While in the majority of businesses, customer interactions just like sales, advertising, offers and issued invoices etc. are well integrated into the CRM, on many occasions what tends to be omitted are digital impacts and user navigational behavior – in other words, the digital footprint.
This can be seen in the impacts you receive as a customer when you surf the internet. One of the companies most guilty of this – to the point at which it becomes plain annoying – is Booking.com, having not been able to distinguish real customer interactions from its retargeting campaigns, from those of people simply browsing the internet. Personally speaking, I am bombarded with hotel offers from the very sites I’ve already visited and made a reservation on!
This doesn’t just happen when I browse the internet: I also get emails reminding me how beautiful somewhere is that I’ll have visited several days earlier. This is a major faux-pas from a customer experience stand point: you can’t send a customer an offer for services or products which they’ve already got especially if they did so using your very offer – at least not if you plan on keeping them as a customer. Another prime example is Amazon. Although top of its game in many areas, it also falls short in others, for instance, when you get an email asking you to leave a review for a product you’ve already returned.
In my experience as a customer and based on their interactions with me, I would single out Tripadvisor, ESPRIT and Apple as market leaders in this area. I have never received anything irrelevant from any of these three companies. On the contrary, I only ever receive communications that bring me value. I speak from experience. The key lies in knowing and being able to manage – within a Smart data environment – both my online browsing behavior as well as my interactions (sales, complaints, recommendations, etc.) and doing so in an integrated way.
The Magic of Internal Communication
It seems like the more technology and automation we use, the more issues in communication tend to arise. Investing in technology doesn’t mean you can simply kick back and relax when the time comes to investing in talent and training people in communication, business, project and team management skills.
The phrase ‘back when we had an excel spreadsheet with the campaign planning and we had meetings to go through it all, everything was so much better’ can often be heard. Sound familiar? Well then, your company has probably invested in marketing automation software without really knowing what to do with it, or training people properly on how to use it or how to harness technology to optimize customer processes and internal communication. Mapping a Customer Journey or an outreach strategy using the tools at your fingertips is easy and essential, but if the above isn’t something all employees can access or discuss, nor is it able to be actioned when required, then your investment will be wasted and won’t bring about the desired results.
The Magic of Self Service
We must assume that the social and emotional behavior of our customers has changed. For two decades, we have witnessed an interesting and heterogenous combination of customer profiles; active customers who are online a lot, others who are more reactive, traditional and in some cases even reluctant to embrace technology. It’s likely we will find ourselves in this situation for at least four more decades, at which point the generational transition will have occurred and we will reach saturation point in the ‘digital era’ and what’s more, there will be customers with greater or less need of human support and intervention.
Therefore, it’s essential to invest in self-service portals and to do it well, offering the scale of services the ‘active’ customer expects, and of course, to do so considering the Customer Service needs of the tradition customer.
Yes people, the world is changing and growing ever more complex. More options, more channels, more methods, more environments. More of everything. And, more investment in CX.
So How Do You Unlock This Magic?
Just drop us a line! We possess a wealth of talent and partners who can provide you with the adequate training and consultation; we can act as your consultants, trainers or mentors – whatever the capacity you desire. We are always delighted to help!
Monique Jansen is Managing Consultant at Buljan & Partners Consulting and Service line leader of Customer Centric Process Leadership. Monique is a customer centric management & engagement specialist since 1997.
More on Monique: