CX Programs Must Look Beyond the Initial Sale
Customer experience (CX) programs that exceed management expectations are 2.3 times more likely to have CX efforts in marketing not primarily focused on the path to purchase but on the journey after acquisition, according to new data from Gartner.
But it’s a message that has yet to catch on in too many marketing departments. Thirty-one percent of marketing departments reported they end their journey maps with purchase, lead acquisition, initial transaction, or delivery of the product or service, omitting the important journey stages that follow.
“A journey map that focuses merely on the purchase funnel, and not the entire end-to-end customer journey, is not a CX journey map,” says Augie Ray, a vice president analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “Those sorts of journey maps may assist with efforts to build awareness, inbound traffic, and acquisition, but they cannot uncover the opportunities that influence customer satisfaction, loyalty, and long-term advocacy.”
That was just one of three key drivers Gartner identifies to help CX practitioners exceed management expectations.
The other two key drivers are similar and demonstrate the value of experience and maturity in CX programs. CX programs that exceeded management’s expectations were nearly twice as likely to have customer persona development initiatives in place for more than three years. They also were twice as likely to have end-to-end customer journey mapping in place for more than three years.
Still, persona development is immature in many organizations. Just 36 percent of respondents in Gartner’s survey reported their customer persona development has been in place for three years or longer, and 79 percent of respondents reported their organization struggles to use customer personas to effectively support CX efforts.
Similarly, journey-mapping processes also improve with time and experience. Just 34 percent of respondents reported they have three or more years of experience developing end-to-end journey maps, and 83 percent reported their organizations struggle to use customer journey maps to identify and prioritize CX efforts.
“In discussions with clients regarding CX efforts, the importance of time, experience, and maturity is a common theme,” Ray concludes.
Gartner’s research also found that organizations that demonstrate how customer satisfaction is associated with growth, margin, and profitability are more likely to report customer experience (CX) success and 29 percent more likely to secure higher CX budgets.
To improve customer-centric culture and enhance the CX strategy, Gartner suggests CX leaders explore the following actions:
• Consolidate inputs. Combine any voice-of-the-customer feedback with customer-level transactional data to uncover how customer satisfaction drives commercial outcomes.
• Invest in skills. Develop the team’s skills around personas and journey maps in creating the essential tools for CX success. The processes to develop these tools are strengthened with time, data, experience and iterative improvement.
• Focus on the customer. Reinforce the organization’s focus on the end-to-end customer journeys that seek to understand what drives customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy in order to acquire and retain the best customers.
“Being able to demonstrate that your most satisfied customers deliver more growth, margin, and lifetime value is important for CMOs in securing resources for CX programs,” Ray says. “By showing this positive relationship, CX teams are better positioned to prove why CX matters to financial performance and the importance of customer-centric practices to long-term brand health.”