Anyone whose job it is to improve the customer experience (unless you are a Chief Customer Officer reporting to the CEO with Board approval and support) has a tough mission. Almost an impossible one. You are playing the Role of Roscoe Arbuckle in the Keystone Cops, running about with seeming authority, sycophants in tow, but ultimately failing. The reasons are well known by consumers, but appreciated less by most corporate officers outside of a few visionary businesses. It was pretty straightforward to understand the customer when they walked into the store. It is crazily difficult to understand them when 90 percent of the time they are outside of your control when talking about your goods and services.
Where are consumers going for help? Pinterest, Path, Twitter, Facebook, Communities/Forums, Google Search, Youtube, Howcast – for starters. This is the new Hydra, and you as CIO or Marketing leader are not going to be given the chance to complete the Twelve Labors that Heracles set to when he killed the Hydra. Where do you start? What is your core job? Customer Experience? No. To quote the American Marketing Association Board of Directors, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (http://www.marketingpower.com/aboutama/pages/definitionofmarketing.aspx). Not customer experience. And what is the CIO’s core job? It is to support whatever goals that the CEO sets out, through the application of information technology. The CEO is not going to tell the CIO to support, as a primary objective, a great customer experience. OK, unless your CEO is on a par with Tony Hsieh or Chip Conley.
What is the point here? The point is that currently leaders in Digital Marketing or Social Media or the office of the CIO are being given, as a side directive, to improve the customer experience, while they are still tasked with tactical goals that are inconsistent with an understanding of the overall customer experience. They lack a comprehensive view of the customer, or an inventory of the key “make or break” processes that drive loyalty and spending. Yet despite this, it is they who have the fabulous budgets, and not the Chief Customer Officer / Experience Officer – or whatever they might be called in some enlightened businesses.
Here is a homework assignment: go find the customer experience map by which all parts of your organization navigate the business of growing a loyal and profitable customer base. When you find it, send it to me. I have one – for a company I am quite attached to – and seeing another is always great. By the way, attendance for our upcoming Customer360 Conference in San Diego (1-3 May 2013 -http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/na/customer-360/) is great – and I look forward to speaking with a lot of you! Thanks for the support. As me about a customer experience roadmap and I’ll share one with you!