Friday, August 7, 2020

Executive Education

The Convergence towards Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction

It isn’t uncommon for the different decision makers within an organization to have their own agenda and their view of the world. A decision maker in marketing and a decision maker in technology both have different business challenges and different goals. But digital marketing technology and the convergence towards customer satisfaction means these decision makers now need to reach common ground to achieve customer experience goals.

Digital technology plays a key role for brands looking to differentiate their customer experience impacting both sets of decision makers.  While a marketing decision maker, for instance, may examine different scenarios where technology can help engage customers,  a decision maker in technology may be more concerned with the timeline and practicalities.

The concept of the converging marketing and technology together is not something that is new. In fact, this convergence has been a gradual process which has been happening over the years. The intricacies involved in the evolution of marketing technology makes it unwieldy and cumbersome to navigate with boundless variances in the software choices and offerings. The discontinuity between these different technologies, along with different approaches to characterise the experience of the customer, creates a number of variables in an already complicated world.

What is also lacking between the marketing and technology functions is the actual interaction with the customer. While organizations may have the data, analytics and reporting around the outcomes of their efforts, what lacks is the insight into the interactions between on ground teams and the customers on a day-to-day basis. The frequent customer service practice is missing from the overall customer experience equation.

To further elaborate, consider an example in the travel and hospitality sector. As travel generally implies a total break and leisure, guests look for experiences that they can hold on to – something that they treasure for a long time. Such tangible and real experiences are what help brands  create a deeper relationship with the customer. A warm message of welcome to the guest is contact. An exclusive offer on the stay or trip is contact. A warm personalised drink at the time of check-in is contact. Just a single attempt towards this contact would not suffice towards generating that customer experience. The convergence of all these experiences in harmony is what results in the bond or the link between the customer and the brand.

The question then arises: What are we doing in order to create a truly unified customer experience? How can we shift ideas, views and breakdown traditional norms to create a sense of responsibility within and across the organization? The move towards this is not something that can change overnight. However, focusing on a few key areas can help in achieving customer experience goals.

An organizational culture should be developed wherein, the senior management and their departments are accountable to each other and to the customer.  It is important to understand the entire journey from a customer’s point of view. Departments that understand how the customer’s journey plays out will have an easier time collaborating on a unified experience. Thus, an individual in the marketing department would be able to understand how customers tangibly interact with the brand and receive feedback from the customer service department as well. As a result, technology becomes the linchpin in building an infrastructure, that ensures the customer experience transcends online and offline efforts.

This piece becomes a shout out to the CEO and other decision makers, to realize the importance of these disciplines working harmoniously towards achieving the company’s goals. Would a world, which is customer-centric, outline the need for a Chief Experience Officer, who would understand the link between the different departments? Will the structure of the organization evolve the need to bridge in the Chief Marketing, Technology and Operations officer, under the roof of the Chief Experience Officer?

The new world of customer experience is the confluence and continuous evolution of these factors.

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Written by: Prabhu Kannan, Vice President Technology at Epsilon.

Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj
CEO and editorial director of the CEOWORLD magazine, an extensively kudized author, noted journalist, syndicated columnist, and ostensible entrepreneur. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or connect on LinkedIn.