The customer is always right, right? At a time when consumers are connected and empowered like never before, that maxim has become even more relevant and important to follow. Nearly 90% of companies believe that customer experience is the primary basis for competition in today’s landscape.
To get a sense of what brands need to know (and do) in order to compete in this new world, we spoke with a group of leading marketing experts about the future of customer experience.
Here’s what they had to say.
“CX is (and will continue to grow as) the connective tissue between, sales, service, and marketing. It is the common denominator and the common language shared between groups with very different taxonomies and processes.” Lauren Vargas – Head of Marketing Technology and Operations at Aetna.
“The most important factor [for brand-customer relationships] will be how well organizations are able to integrate disparate sources of data to piece together fluid, real-time customer journeys, and how well they extract insights from this data to inform continuous improvements to micro-journeys.” Lauren Vargas – Head of Marketing Technology and Operations at Aetna.
“I see social media becoming a much more significant revenue channel versus its historic role as a marketing and customer service channel. With commerce capabilities embedded into the native experience on channels like Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, shopping will become even more seamless for consumers. This does, however, mean that retailers will have to figure out how to compete in an environment where they don’t own the digital experience.” Johann Wrede – Global VP at SAP
“Beware of becoming too invested in your own customer journey development because as you are visualizing a pretty picture, the consumer is forging their own path.” Lauren Vargas – Head of Marketing Technology and Operations at Aetna.
“In the coming year, marketers need to choose which battle they’re in at any given moment. There’s fighting friction, fixing touchpoints and making things work intelligently. And then there’s using transformational digital thinking to solve things in completely new ways. We’d do well to fuel progress on all fronts.” Mat Zucker – Partner at Prophet
“A simple interaction using context in the moment is far more powerful than a fancy, flashy experience that is not tailored to me.” Johann Wrede – Global VP at SAP
“Beyond just acquiring tech knowledge, companies are evolving into customer-centric organizations in greater numbers, using technology across all functions to interact with consumers. We are in the post-advertising age, and companies are becoming digital-first out of necessity. This requires an actual transformation, in which marketers are using technology, data, and analytics to reach their target audiences across all devices to deliver the relevant offer or call to action in the moment.” Ed See – Principal at Deloitte Digital
“The idea is to capture both implicit and explicit customer signals to understand not only the historical information and the future propensities, but most importantly the current real-time customer intent, combine them together to provide the best insights into customer contexts and the analytics to decide on the best treatment for the customer. And can do this on-the-fly, so that you can identify the key customer moments and respond to them in real-time.” Bernard Chung – Senior Director at SAP
“In the next year, companies will focus on turning customer data into context in order to make experiences more personal and relevant. They will also focus on more ways to converge channels, especially digital and physical channels. I expect to see more in-person experiences in which IoT contributes significantly to the outcome as well as some deeper forays into using VR to bring physical experiences into the digital world.” Johann Wrede – Global VP at SAP
“One could argue that a company delivering on the promise it’s made to consumers, which is often inextricably linked to the customer experience, is the single most dominant metric for a business to focus on, as it weighs heavily on a customer’s willingness to recommend the brand to someone else.” Scott Davis – Chief Growth Officer at Prophet
“”Incredible” is a loaded word since consumer expectations are rising fast. One kind of “incredible” for brands is simply catching up to how the world should be able to work and what other brands in other categories are already doing.
But the truly incredible customer experiences are what we at Prophet call signature experiences — iconic, inspired, immersive, relevant, ground-shifting experiences that consumers talk about, recommend and become addicted to. Although marketers should still focus on the fix-the-basic experiences, they should also strive to have at least one signature experience that differentiates them from the rest of the pack.” Mat Zucker – Partner at Prophet
“The most important factor [in the brand-customer relationship] will be the ability to deliver consistency in experience across the entire customer journey. Many brands have one or more parts of the experience worked out, but few have the whole experience from awareness to advocacy nailed.” Johann Wrede – Global VP at SAP
“Every year Watermark consulting authors a report where they look at the performance of stock portfolios based on the best and worst performers in the Forrester Customer Experience Index (we aren’t affiliated with this research or Watermark’s analysis). For the last six years the results have borne out a simple conclusion: the better your customer experience, the more valuable your business – and by extension, your brand.” Johann Wrede – Global VP at SAP
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