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2014 Top Initiatives in Customer Experience (CX)

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2013 was a year that accelerated Customer Experience (CX) as a major focus for every customer-facing organization.  Some “eye popping” statistics and trends that support my five top CX initiatives for 2014:

  • 66% of companies lack an understanding of their customers
  • Over two-thirds of companies are unable to provide a cross channel, mobile integrated strategy; 4.5 billion people are social, mobile connected
  • 70% of customers perform digital research prior to buying a product or service
  • 80% of companies want CX as a form of competitive differentiation
  • 75% of all company interactions with its customers are with customer service

Here are my top five initiatives and goals for CX in 2014:

  1. Perform detailed journey mapping.
    Gaining an updated understanding of who are your customers and how do they interact with you.
    How many personas do you have? Who is your favorite persona? Who will not be a persona in the future? What is the current and opportunity revenue of these personas? How do they navigate through the six gate customer journey?  What does the existing digital journey look like and what channel gaps exists?
  2. Executive Ownership.
    Any CX initiative has to originate at the top and cascade its way throughout the organization.
    Does the CIO or CMO own CX or is it a shared responsibility? Regardless, the Executives need to work in concert with establishing the companies overarching CX strategy and the initiatives to execute. Yes, the title of VP of CX or CXO will continue to gain momentum in 2014 (Yeah!), however, the CIO and CMO are critical in the collaborative effort and success of a technology enabled CX vision. Who owns CX in your Executive ranks and what is the strategy? (Hint: Everyone owns CX!)
  3. Invest in a “true” Cross Channel Digital Journey.
    Customers will define how they want to interact with our companies.

    Multi-Channel is no longer good enough. These multi-additive channels have been bolted on over time and now the need for an integrated cross channel technology layer is critical. A cross-channel means each channel (mobile, portal, voice, email, SMS, social, store front, kiosk, etc.) is now a seamless and similar experience, providing customer intelligence, historic behavior and preemption needs determination. The overwhelming need to provide better content and collaboration is critical, one of the top reasons customers site a bad experience is poor access to information, especially in a multi-channel access scenario!
  4. Heavy investment in Interaction Management (contact center technology).
    To be world-class, companies must continually invest in tools and technology.

    Now that the cross channel journey is defined, interaction management becomes key. The legacy call center technology does not suffice, and is overdue for a refresh. So many companies have legacy environments with 5 to 7 bolt on technologies trying to address an old multi-channel strategy and it doesn’t work. Over the years, we kept adding tools and technologies to address additive customer channels, supervisory capabilities, business process automation and analytics. Clients, and customers now demand more. An “all in one” contact center to manage the new cross-channel digital journey is essential; whether on premise or in the cloud. In addition, the need for new Contact Center technology is revised Customer Intelligence. This makes CRM a critical part of this contact center technology initiative. At the nucleus of every CX strategy is customer intelligence (CRM data).
  5. Investment in People.
    Ensuring an engaged workforce will make achieving your customer experience goals much easier.

    Our people create moments of truth with our customers every day. Whether it’s the marketer creating the product brochure; a salesperson interacting with a prospect for the first time; a customer service representative solving a problem; the developer that creates a robust self-service app; or the accounting person that processes a bill, we need to invest in our people through training; rewards and recognition; career pathing and effective work-life balances. Without them, achieving world-class customer experiences is simply out of our reach.

So how do your initiatives align with mine?  What are your CX goals for 2014?  What will make your company differentiate itself from the pack?  Together, we can make CX in 2014 a reality worth pursuing!

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