What constitutes “customer experience” if it’s subject to different interpretations like a Rorschach inkblot test? Or as a colleague pointed out: “If customer experience is everything, it risks being nothing.”
My aha moment about “customer experience” came during an MBA class team project. Our task: Develop the technology and marketing plans for a massive open online education program. As we discussed each feature, one team member – whose day job is technical lead at Google – questioned what impact each decision would have on the customer experience. This exercise drove home the points:
- Attention to the customer experience must be a consideration in every idea, every decision
- It takes extreme discipline to stay focused on the customer when faced with deadlines, internal politics and external competition or distractions
- A commitment to the customer experience must be baked into a company’s DNA
We as marketers have an opportunity to influence change and expand our purview even though we do not control every touchpoint in the customer journey.
In addition, we can deliver customer experience enhancements with both small and big ideas.
The small ideas include incremental changes on a web or mobile site, reducing steps for a customer to complete a task.
The big ideas? My colleague Augie Ray is exploring ways that marketers are innovating in the customer experience. The rise of augmented reality, virtual reality and machine learning means there’s more CX tools than ever in the marketer’s toolkit.
However, marketing leaders must first ensure CX leaders lay a foundation to collect essential customer data and understand the entire customer journey before moving ahead to the big ideas. And if you’re not thinking about the customer with every decision and idea, you can end up disillusioned about what it takes to become a truly customer-centric organization.