How to deliver great customer experience? Easy...decide to.

“You know what kiddo? In the old days we did the news well. You know how? We just decided to.” Charlie Skinner, ACN, The Newsroom

The first episode of The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s excellent TV show documenting the news division at fictional US television network Atlantis Cable News, aired on June 24th, 2012.

After bringing in the right people, establishing new goals and building better processes to rescue a once-great news programme that has lost its shine, veteran news director Charlie Skinner reveals the secret behind succeeding at just about anything.

You want to do something well? Just decide to.

Customer experience is a case in point. Customer experience is not a new business idea.

Customer experience was identified by some as “the next key battleground for business” years ago. As editor of Marketing Week I dedicated an entire edition of the magazine to saying so in November 2011 and I was by no means the first.

Since then however, few organizations have succeeded in delivering true customer experience. This may simply be because they haven’t genuinely decided to.

The problem with deciding to take customer experience seriously, especially if you’re a mature business born before the digital customer era that we live in, is that it requires some work.

QubitCORoundtable

 

At a recent roundtable event held to launch a Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper commissioned by Qubit, an executive from a very large and well-known consumer-facing business spoke frankly.

“We have all the bits we need to create brilliant digital experiences,” he said. “We have an incredible amount of data and sophisticated platforms behind our digital operations and apps.

“Its all there but with one thing missing. There is a lack of will within the company to bring it all together. The objectives aren’t there.

“We are fixed on traditional ways of doing things. Our data people are in marketing - they are all about stitching data together to send a letter, they aren’t trained to put data together to do something amazing.”

Andrew Robb, COO of online boutique luxury fashion retailer Farfetch, was present as a guest speaker. Robb, a leader of a billion-dollar business seen as an exemplary of customer experience, said: “We’ve worked really hard on the data and technology platform. If you have legacy systems or whatever, spending one or two years to fix that is worth it.

 “But whether your technology is in-house or outsourced, the processes and the people are also vital to get right. Best practice is to spend 90 per cent on people and 10 per cent on technology. Most companies do the reverse: 10 per cent on people and 90 per cent on technology.”

In the report (which is available as a free download here), Optimizing The Digital Customer Experience: Marketers Must Adopt And Embrace Continuous Optimization, Forrester surveyed 150 Enterprise decision-makers around the globe to benchmark various industries and hear their plans to improve digital experience delivery.

To put your customer at the heart of your business, becoming a properly customer-centric organization in the way that most customers already expect you to be, takes more than just saying it out loud. It actually requires change.

Customer expectations are evolving faster than business processes are. Somehow brands have to figure out a way of constantly evolving and improving their experience delivery.

This makes customer experience too big to be part-owned by teams or departments in silos. It needs to be understood and owned by everyone. It’s not just about technology, but about your people, your processes and your data too.

At Qubit, we view Continuous Optimization as the model by which truly customer-centric brands will ensure that their customer experience remains a powerful point of differentiation in a constantly shifting market.

Forrester defines Continuous Optimization as ‘a strategic analytics-driven approach that leverages customer insights and is focused on constantly learning from and optimizing every customer engagement to enhance the overall customer experience’.

Today’s leading ecommerce brands have already started to explore some form of Continuous Optimization in order to create a single, actionable customer data workflow around the business.

They’ve changed their way of working from one that suits their business to to an approach that enables and empowers their customers because they know they’ll reap the benefits of both short-term revenues and greater customer lifetime value.

In other words, they’ve decided to.

 

To learn more about Continuous Optimization, sign up to take part in our live conversation featuring Forrester Senior Analyst James McCormick, Farfetch Optimization Analyst, Joane Nakamura and Qubit CEO, Graham Cooke.