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      3 min read

      Improving the Cross-Channel Customer Experience

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      Temkin Group recently released a report detailing the current state of customer experience management. The executive summary of the report relates that Bruce Temkin and his group surveyed more than 200 large companies and found an abundance of Customer Experience (CX) ambition and activity.

      Some of the outcomes of the report indicate that when compared with CX laggards, CX leaders have stronger financial results, enjoy better CX leadership, and implement more successful employee engagement efforts. It’s important to note that executives in companies with stronger CX competencies also tend to focus more on delighting customers and less on cutting costs.

      Temkin Group - CX Maturity 2014 Report Metric

      Other trends found in the report indicate opportunities; although almost two-thirds of respondents’ rate customer experience with phone agent as good or very good, the highest rated interaction. Less than 30% rate mobile phone and cross-channel experiences at that level.

      This low rating shows that there is a need for innovation in these channels. We are still a long way from having cracked the code on cross-channel solutions, and consumers are expecting brands to provide a better experience.

      So what can we do to improve the cross-channel experience? Let’s start by first defining what a cross-channel experience is.

      Cross-Channel Customer Experience

      In a recent Forbes post columnist Micah Solomon related that we are no longer in a Mad Men world. Time and technology have changed the ways consumers interact with businesses. Today’s shoppers hop between channels – from the web, to their mobile devices, to the store – as they venture through the browsing and buying journey.

      Traditional customer channels such as brick and mortar stores, catalogs and telephone have been extended to include online, mobile, kiosk, digital signage, express stores, social media and yes even games. As a result, your brand needs to be everywhere, with a distinctive customer experience that represents your brand anywhere your customer wants to be.

      A concrete cross-channel strategy is a requirement to ensure messaging is consistent across multiple channels. This results in consistent customer interactions and accurate inventories – whether a customer is shopping in-store, on mobile, tablet or laptop.

      Maximize Customer Experience

      To deliver a true cross-channel experience, enterprise must execute on the promise of buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere – both with cross-channel selling and fulfillment.

      In crossing channels three basic principles to keep in mind across all channels are mobilize, socialize and personalize. Yes you want a unified inventory system, yes you want the UI to be as similar as possible to facilitate uptake but the overarching concepts of these three basic concepts should be the focus of a cross-channel strategy.

      Mobilize: When asked how companies can encourage them to spend more, 61% of customers specified availability for questions, and accessibility of information prior to making a purchase.

      Brands need to reach, engage and support consumers wherever they are; making it easier for them to discover, select, use and promote your products.

      Mobilize Socialize and Personalize for Cross-Channel Customer Experience

      Socialize: 93% of customers identify word of mouth as the best, most reliable source about ideas and information on products and services. 90% of online consumers worldwide trust recommendations from people they know.

      Brands need to participate, influence and share conversations about products and brands to magnify positive word of mouth and address any issues proactively before they damage the brand.

      Personalize: Consumers listen to and act when recommendations, messages and offers are tailored and based on the user’s context including location, intentions, interests, opinions, activities, questions, connections, responses and level of satisfaction.

      Of course collecting all this information leads to a large amount of data …

      Quality of data is key to the effectiveness of a cross-channel marketing campaign. Your customer data needs to be reliable, current, well-managed, easy to analyze and not in a separate silo.

      Company data also needs to provide a complete picture of each customer's interactions across multiple channels. As customers move rapidly through various channels, stitching together data across time and events produces a clearer picture of customer behaviors.

      As enterprise brands look to cross-channel data to develop deeper insights into their customers, they must recognize that discrete event data is a much smaller piece of a more sophisticated and meaningful picture.


      Bruce Burke