“If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn’t. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.”—Oscar Wilde
Optimism, or at least the outward expression of it, was the hallmark of our recent view into the state of customer experience in North America. During the second and third quarters of 2014, the CMO Council and SAP took a hard look at where and how marketers were advancing the goals and mandates of customer centricity. From all outward appearances, marketers were confident that their organizations were demonstrating a focus on their customers.
From the ability to address issues quickly and effectively to the ability to deliver the services and products that are most important to their customers, marketers feel they are—quite simply—doing just fine, and they believe their customers would agree. So what is missing in this picture? Sadly, beyond the self-congratulatory ratings, marketers admit that they lack a single view of customer truth.
How did we come to this conclusion? It would stand to reason that we should take marketing executives at their word. If they say they are doing a good job, who are we to say they aren’t?
It is simple: When asked key questions around the ability to listen and respond to customer needs, the ability for technology systems to back up and deliver on marketing promises, and the ability leverage data to create more personalized and engaging experiences, marketers fell woefully short.
- Only 10 percent of senior marketers are highly satisfied with their organizations’ ability to listen and respond to customer needs.
- Only 18 percent of respondents believe that their back-office technology platforms have the ability to deliver on marketing promises.
- Only 10 percent of brands are highly confident in their ability to leverage data.
- Only 20 percent of respondents have a comprehensive view of all touchpoints that make up the customer experience.
- Only 28 percent are personalizing experiences across both online and offline engagements.
When you consider how few marketers expressed faith in their back-office systems, it would be easy to blame technology for the gaps between the goals of the customer experience strategy and the delivery of customer experience engagements. Because this is a blog post, I can pause the seriousness for a moment to admit something to you: We were pretty sure that marketers would blame the technology because it is easy to blame technology. But we were wrong…so very, very wrong!
When asked what posed the greatest challenge to delivering an optimal customer experience, 52 percent of marketers said it was a combination of gaps with people, processes and platforms. In fact, upon closer inspection, technology actually followed key issues around people and processes.
The top issues were actually:
- Establishing a customer-centric culture
- Aligning cross-functional teams to work together
- Establishing processes to track success
- Prioritizing customer experience as a strategy
- Hiring the right talent to execute
So where do marketers want to go with all of this? In reality, the market and customers are driving that. Marketers who are looking to lead in customer experience are looking to adopt a strategy to deliver adaptive customer engagements. Customers are looking for experiences that meet their needs in the channel they want to use at the moment that is most convenient and most relevant to them. Gone are the days of campaign-initiated relationships. Instead, brands must adapt to the changing needs of the customer. So say goodbye campaign-centric experiences, and say hello to the customer. Better yet, let’s stop saying hello and start engaging with our customers in the way they are defining.
Interested in learning more about the research? Download the complimentary white paper, Mastering Adaptive Customer Engagements (registration required).Comments