Opinion

CX deserves a position in the boardroom, with marketers at the helm

Although CEOs know CX should be on their to do list, it can often seem like there's a lot of hurdles in the way. Pitney Bowes' Nigel Lester explains how to get there.

A 280 character Twitter post, Instagram snap or Facebook update from a disgruntled consumer has the power to destroy a brand’s long-built reputation and performance in an instant.

How do brands compete with the accessibility of social media to deliver a consistent, connected, competitive customer experience?

Source: Netflix

For CX to finally secure its position on the board agenda permanently, businesses must do two things: firstly, they must identify where the customer experience begins. And secondly, they must decide on who will drive it internally.

Where does the CX begin?

Many organisations think the CX starts at the first transaction, but I think it begins long before this – before, even, the first interaction.

For me, it starts once the customer has decided that he or she might need a product or service you can provide. “Customer experience is not just cleaning up a mess efficiently or sharing information nicely,” says Yuri Kruman in Forbes. “The journey of a customer begins in the foothills of the psyche.”

As for allocating an owner to deliver the customer experience – this isn’t as simple as it sounds. To succeed, it needs an owner to devise and execute the strategy. Research has found that one third of senior leaders are still confused as to who should own their CX strategy and delivery. Commitment to delivering an outstanding customer experience must begin at the top, become embedded in a company’s culture and present across an entire business.

Marketers have become data custodians

If businesses are to influence the experience before customers have even engaged with their organisation, they must make clever use of data and algorithms to deliver contextual, relevant, highly personalised engagement, at scale. To do this, they must turn to the company’s marketers. We have become the custodians of data.

Marketers now have access to real-time, contextual data and deep analytics. They have customer information management tools which pull together this data, to create a single customer view. They have the skills to interrogate, manage and understand the insight these actions reveal. They have the technology and talent to refine and deliver highly personalised programs and experiences around this.

They’re taking the lead in data management, in data governance and in regulatory compliance.

What’s more, marketers can combine this intelligence and insight with creative engagement strategies.

Businesses must task marketing with CX ownership

It’s no secret consumers want personalised experiences, and data and insights hold the key to delivering this. Considering marketers have evolved to be the go-to data experts, I predict Chief

Marketing officers will soon take ownership of the customer experience.

According to a recent Economist Intelligence Unit and Marketo report study, 86% of chief marketing officers and senior marketing executives believe that, by 2020, they will own the entire, end-to-end customer experience.

“If you’re still thinking of the CMO as chief megaphone officer, then you’re stuck in the ‘90s,” says CMO Jonathan Martin of Pure Storage, quoted in the study. I agree.

It’s time for marketers to get personal

In the same Economist Intelligence Unit study, respondents were asked to rate the top marketing channels which would have the biggest impact on marketing organisations by 2020. Nearly half felt this would be personalisation technologies: customers are now saying, “Show me you know me”, and expecting one-to-one conversations rather than one-to-many broadcasts.

Where previously marketing teams might have had to direct data and software requests to the IT department, powerful tools now enable them to do this themselves. The latest chatbot software, for example, allows marketers to update the solution themselves, amending it so it best fits the customer journey and ensures customer needs are met in real-time.

Like the best movies, a lasting, memorable-for-the-right-reasons experience isn’t just about the final scene. It’s about the whole journey, making the experience unforgettable and delivering a lasting impression. Marketing is best placed to deliver this – no other function comes close. Marketers have the talent, technology and toolkit to own CX end-to-end.

Nigel Lester is managing director, ANZ software solutions, Pitney Bowes.

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