Just when you think you've done everything you can to keep customers happy and loyal, their expectations change. This is especially true today, thanks to some of the rapid changes in customer interaction technologies and consumer buying behaviors over the past five years. As a result, organizations must make some significant improvements to their customer experience initiatives.
Naturally, the word significant is relative to the size of the organization. In his column "Giving CE a Seat at the Table," Lior Arussy is justifiably critical of a large client, with 90,000 employees, that aims to transform its customer experiences with a budget of only $30,000 per year. "If customer experience is so critical, why aren't they obtaining better resources and funding?" he asks. His column adroitly suggests that for organizations to have a material impact on customer experiences, they have to evolve from simply making incremental customer relationship improvements to innovating, differentiating, or launching product lines. This requires a more strategic approach to customer experiences, rather than the common tactical approach of tweaking existing efforts.
Graduating from tactical thinking to strategic thinking requires changes in your organization's people, processes, and technologies. Some of the columns in this month's issue bear this out.
First, let's start with the people: Patrick Gibbons in his column, "Seven CX Jobs to Watch," reveals some emerging leadership roles that could help improve customer experiences. These newly created positions include a chief customer champion or C-level executive, a customer strategy team, and a customer intelligence advocate. "Every company is different, and every CX team will be different too. However, it's clear that the future will be shaped by these emerging roles," he writes.
Next are the processes. The column "What's Wrong with Your Sales Process?," by Yusuf Tayob, suggests that organizations must focus on the following four initiatives: integrate sales, marketing, and service; improve the customer experience at each touch point; strengthen immature sales processes; and apply more science to sales talent acquisition and development. While this isn't a complete list of all of the processes that can be improved upon, they are some of the most common ones.
As for technologies, Tayob also warns that simply investing in shiny new technologies "fails to yield the appropriate ROI." Technology investments, he argues, must be better aligned to the four process changes above, "and should be implemented with speed and agility, to harness the benefits of social, cloud, and mobile offerings."
Not surprisingly, these are the areas that many of this year's CRM Market Award recipients are focusing on. If you're considering a new CRM investment, our 12th annual CRM Market Awards issue is a good place to start. Our goal with this issue is to help you put your organization on the best technology path. When coupled with the right people and processes, the right technology investments will enable your organization to make smarter, more strategic decisions about your company and your customers.
This is a good time of year to start thinking strategically, as you'll have the opportunity to meet with and learn from some of the best customer strategists in the industry at the CRM Evolution conference. The event will be held from August 19–21, 2013, at the New York Marriott Marquis. To register, visit www.CRMevolution.com. The conference will be colocated with the Customer Service Experience (www.CustServExperience.com) and SpeechTEK (www.SpeechTEK.com) conferences.