Power has shifted from business to customers as digital technology lowers brand switching costs and pushes experience expectations sky high.
However, few organisations are able to deliver exceptional customer experience and those that can are threatening to gobble up the market.
A Forrester report, Drive Marketing And CX Convergence With Modern Technology Solutions, suggest the usual suspect of siloed departmental structures is to blame for the CX gap.
“Different silos — disconnected teams that manage CX differently, with minimal coordination or collaboration — lead to fragmented, unsatisfactory, and broken experiences,” the report said.
The silo problem is a longstanding one but customer experience management technology and the collaboration of marketing and CX managers is proving an effective solution, according to the report.
Forrester tested a hypothesis that many organisations have long suspected: Uncoordinated technology management is stifling customer experience and marketing efforts as separate business units, hamstrung by legacy technology, fail to agree on a common platform.
Over 500 senior business decision makers were polled on the issue with the results revealing CX remains a top strategic priority but how organisations achieve it is changing.
CX is changing
CX quality improvement now sits alongside innovation and revenue growth as a top three strategic priority, according to the report.
But the strategies are interlinked and, subsequently, require a collaborative approach, one that is well worth the effort.
The research found CX quality and revenue growth are closely linked in particular. Nearly 70 per cent of those surveyed said CX efforts have been “extremely or very effective” in increasing revenues.
While 60 per cent said CX improvements had helped achieve strategic goals.
Of course, improving CX and reaping the revenue rewards is easier said than done and the goal posts are always shifting.
The Forrester research suggests “demanding and digitally savvy” customers now control when and how they interact with brands across an increasingly diverse ecosystem.
The analysts advise organisations strive to engage customers and employees with data and technology to keep up with newly empowered customers.
Marketing and CX converge
But technology is no silver bullet and effective CX also requires involvement from several business departments, according to the report.
“The overarching goals of marketing executives and their CX peers have much in common,” the authors write.
“To consciously avoid brand and CX dissonance, organisations are embracing complete alignment between their CX visions and brand promises.”
James Walford, Strategic Director of Digital and Innovation for Genesys says, “Many brands attempt to keep up with technology advancements and digital transformation by focusing on their current technical limitations and adhering to technological trends. This is often to the detriment of the customer experience.”
He continues noting organisations really need to focus on their business drivers and CX strategy, aligning any new technology to this strategy.
“Far too many companies are looking for a quick fix rather than for mid- to long-term innovation, which causes silos between departments and technology solutions.
“The only way to increase sales and maintain good CX throughout the customer journey is to use a technology platform that can share data and context between marketing, sales, and service, maximising the potential of every customer engagement.”
The research found over half of marketing executives are responsible for setting CX strategy, defining CX requirements, setting budgets, and other CX initiatives.
That finding suggests modern marketers are now intertwining CX with more traditional objectives like brand, leveraging their ability to understand and measure customer engagement.
However, merging the two worlds creates a potential culture clash. The report found nearly 78 per cent of respondents see cultural transformation as a critical or high priority for their CX strategy over the next 12 months.
The silo challenge remains
While the CX imperative is clear and technology and collaboration is helping, a constant bugbear remains. According to the report, organisational and technology silos are undermining CX efforts, and the problem could get worse as “customer experience responsibilities spill over to several functional teams across the organisation”.
Over a third of organisations still cannot consolidate data into a single view of the customer, hamstringing any attempts to coordinate customer engagements across teams, according to the report.
Failing to master these and other data basics manifests in an inability to engage with customers and employees.
For example, 59 per cent of organisations cannot route sales and customer service calls resulting from marketing campaigns, while more than a quarter of employees reported low levels of engagement and collaboration with IT teams as a barrier to CX improvements.
Walford says ownership and accountability are the biggest reasons silos still exist.
He says, “The technology is available now to streamline operations across Marketing, Sales, and Service, but organisations’ hierarchical business structure is often an inhibitor.
“Brands that have a strategic head of CX are able to easily share data between departments and channels. Without a clear owner of your overall CX strategy, it becomes impossible to break down silos due to conflicting KPIs between business units.”
The challenge is also slowing down strategic change. The report found, “Over half of marketing and CX professionals report that their tech organisations delayed the purchase and implementation of CX technologies”.
The report concludes with the advice that organisations should develop a CX strategy, inventory its current CX technology and then expand CX capabilities.
“Identify and short-list technology vendors that enable your organisation to be more customer-centric with fewer resources.
“Implement solutions that support technologies such as journey analytics, workforce management, and predictive artificial intelligence to align cross-functional teams, optimise operations, and facilitate a consistent customer experience.”
About this author
Joseph Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, of which Genesys is a corporate member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.