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Customer Experience: A train wreck more than a market.

by Michael Maoz  |  September 2, 2010  |  1 Comment

Just as seems to be at the start of a momentous transition from software provider (in a Cloud model), to an Application Platform Provider (in a Cloud model, with some applications), so the “Customer Experience” market – and process, seems to be at the beginning of a massive consolidation and change.

I’m already exploring the implications of the evolution with our clients, and you/they can read some of our upcoming research or book a call with us. But for those of you looking at the “Customer Experience” area for improvement – well, let’s try to make it more than, “Good Luck!!!”

First, as I’ve done before, I spent 45 minutes just gathering the commonly-heard terms in the industry to describe the tools and methods of engaging with customers and each other. THAT is always an eye-opener. It is good to review just like 15 minutes of light Cardio exercise in the morning:

  • Social Media Consulting 
  • External Community Platforms  
  • Social CRM: Customer Service    
  • Expertise Location and Management 
  • Social Software Suites 
  • Microblogging 
  • Social Tools for Retail Websites
  • Prediction Markets
  • Social Search 
  • Internal Community Platforms 
  • Open-Source Social Software
  • Social Bookmarking    
  • Public Virtual Worlds
  • Private Virtual Worlds
  • Immersive Learning Environments
  • Social Network Analysis  
  • Folksonomies/Social Tagging
  • Idea Management   
  • Social Media Monitors 
  • Wikis 
  • Corporate Blogging 
  • Presence
  • Blogs
  • Alumni Community Management                                                                          
  • Persona  Management    
  • Socialcasting 
  • Customer-Centric Web Strategies   
  • Social Mining and Social Intelligence   
  • Mobile Video for Social   
  • Activity-Specific Social Applications 
  • Crowdsourcing                       
  • Idea Marketplaces         
  • Social Media Marketing Platforms 
  • Social Networks for Sales    
  • Social Learning Platform  
  • Distributed Social Web         
  • Social CRM: Community Marketing 
  • Social Profiles      
  • Activity Streams    
  • Social Data Portability  

And I am SURE I missed half of the terms. NetPromoter, CRM, Social CRM, and Pattern-based Strategies come to mind.

Still there is a way. I was speaking with a client in the UK on Monday – someone involved, deeply, with CRM for the past ten years, and found myself sympathizing with his plight. He is a highly experienced “Customer Practitioner.” And now he is being asked to bring together a road map that synthesizes the still-disparate treatments that customers experience in a shop, on the web, and on the phone. Marketing basically OWNS the Web. Operations and Customer Service OWN the Contact Center. And Sales OWNS the retail operation.  His biggest hurdle? The CEO and Board both trust him to make it right, this delicately woven Cat’s Cradle, without letting it be known to the other business unit heads that cooperating/collaborating is not an optional exercise. The good news is that he knows he cannot succeed without them, and the bad news is that they have not gotten the same memo that they are one team with interconnected measurement and metrics around customer experience. Viel Glück, mein Freund. (Inside shout out.)

One path but many roads: just make sure each driver has the same map  and destination. The Customer Experience categories, the “Social” categories, and the vendor landscape are going to be wracked with change, so you’d better keep your GPS available, and your own goals clear. That will clear most roadblocks.

Category: applications  cloud  crm  customer-centric-web  innovation-and-customer-experience  leadership  saas-and-cloud-computing  sales-force-automation  sfa  social-crm  social-networking  social-software  strategic-planning  

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Customer Experience: A train wreck more than a market.

  1. Doug Hadden says:

    Agreed. This “customer experience” idea from the “single view to the customer” to all touch points have the same experience has been going on for close to 20 years. And, suffering from the “lowest common denominator” where advantages of any touch point mechanisms are not always leveraged.

    The idea has also suffered from the notion that companies can throw technology (or outsourcing, or making customers support other customers) at customer interactions to reduce costs, improve efficiency and magically increase customer satisfaction.

    No matter what customer experience witchcraft used, companies will not substantially improve customer satisfaction without a change in internal culture. For example, you can crowdsource all you want, but if you’re not listening…

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