Customer Experience Management Can Be Saved – and GDPR Can Help

May 15, 2018

It’s not difficult to find examples and case studies of companies achieving their customer experience goals for specific initiatives.

But when the tables are turned and consumers are the ones being asked about their experiences, virtually every survey indicates that brands aren’t making such strides, and in many cases are failing at giving them the memories or interactions they want.

So, why is there such a discrepancy in Customer Experience Management (CXM) results and how can brands fix it?

That was the topic of the Keynote speech given by Tim Walters, Ph.D., principal strategist and privacy lead at The Content Advisory, at Aprimo Sync! 2018 London, May 15-16. Walters, who’s also partner at IOOI Group, and a founding partner of Digital Clarity Group, presented “Can the GDPR Save Customer Experience Management (From Itself),” giving marketers some insights into why CXM is failing and two ways brands can reorient their processes and strategies to fix it.


Too little and too much CX?


He said CXM is failing because brands are doing both too little and too much at the same time with their CX initiatives.

They are doing too little because when they execute isolated and fragmented CXM strategies instead of approaching it in a holistic way. A lot of companies treat CXM as separate super-charged marketing strategies for their website, call center, email interactions with customers, or other types of interactions. And their KPI goals focus on the CX marketers want consumers to have within those specific touchpoints.

But because each initiative is often managed by different teams within the organization, there’s limited collaboration and concentration on the overall experience the customer receives across all the brand’s channels. For example, while a company may achieve a 95% customer satisfaction rate for each of its five CX channel initiatives, that essentially means that 25% of customers reported a bad overall experience.

“The impression that a consumer has of a company is based on all their interactions across the customer lifecycle,” Walters said.

But companies also can fail at CXM when they try to do too much, he adds.

This can happen when they try to manage every single impression of their brand that a consumer acquires from vague awareness to shopping and purchase all the way through use, issue resolution, and championing. This kind of strategy requires managing every interaction for thousands of customers over decades at a time.

Not only is this extremely difficult, because some brand impressions are really the outcome of a consumer’s current state of mind, it’s impractical. So it’s no wonder why brands are failing at managing these broad types of CX initiatives, because they are “mathematically, practically, and physiologically impossible,” Walters said.


Improve CXM by Focusing on Customer Journeys


But CXM is not a total lost cause, as there are two methods marketers can employ to improve their brand experiences, he added.

First, they need to focus on improving CX in a few specific high-value customer journey areas. There’s only a small number of these areas in every organization but they have the potential to cut across a number of customer touchpoints.

Such areas can include:

  • Onboard journeys

  • Upgrading journeys

  • Resolution journeys

“These are high-value areas because they are where organizations can achieve the greatest benefit, such as increasing revenue or decreasing churn,” he said. “But they also are high-value because they touch the areas where customers can be delighted and impressed—or irritated.”

Instead of treating CX as the responsibility of isolated teams, organizations must break off a part of their existing structure to put together teams that are solely responsible for one these customer journeys. For example, they may need to take some web designers, field technicians, finance staff—and other employees who have a stake in the journey—and put them together in a journey management team.

Each of these people then need to forget about their former role and instead focus on optimizing and improving their specific customer journey. And companies should reward them for success. This not only encourages companies to break up those former CX silos but also realize that this moment in the middle where they are all managed together can have the greatest effect.


Improve CXM with GDPR?


Marketers also can improve CXM by closing the gap between understanding what data is necessary for a great CX and getting consumers to give it to them.

To do this, they need to ensure consumers are in control of their personal information by having a communicable plan or template to help them understand exactly what they intend to do with the data, then follow through on such promises. A lot of this philosophy is what the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation addresses.

“Just when you thought GDPR would be the bane of your existence, it turns out to be your best friend,” Walters said. “You need this tool.”

Even if an organization isn’t subject to GDPR, it should still heed its provisions to better satisfy customers and prospects by putting them in control of their data. As the rule stipulates, marketers should ask consumers for their data, not just assume they are okay with offering it. They also should be upfront about why they need it.

For example, if a cable company asks customers for their cell phone number, it also should tell them it plans use it to text when a technician is within 30 minutes of arriving at their house. And then the company must be sure to deliver on that promise because customers will be able to tell if it didn’t.

Don’t over promise what you plan to do with that number or other data because if you fall short, consumers will remember and be more reluctant to share more information the next time you ask.

The GDPR states that organizations need to build trust to have access to consumer data. And by over-communicating what information you need, why, and doing what you promise to do with it, you can improve CXM and in turn fix that gap between what consumers actually desire from their experiences and what you’re actually giving them.



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