Gone are the days when a great product alone defined a company. Gartner states that by 2016, 89% of all organizations will be competing primarily on customer experience.
Research shows that improving the customer experience leads to stronger customer loyalty—meaning customers will buy more, stay longer and make recommendations to their friends.
The customer experience will define the way we do business for years to come, and there’s no one better equipped to lead the charge than CMOs. A Gartner report on CMO leadership found that leading the customer experience across all touchpoints is an important expectation CEOs have for marketing leadership.
That’s a tall order, so we decided to round-up some of the things CMOs can do to facilitate cross-functional relationships and improve the customer experience.
1. Make the customer the center of your world
Creating a customer-focused culture isn’t easy, but it’s essential to facilitating a seamless customer experience across the organization.
Start by demonstrating the value that a great customer experience provides to everyone in your company—not just those in marketing.
If you can come to a consensus with your colleagues about how you measure the success (or failure) of your customer experience efforts (like measuring revenue, brand awareness/association, advocacy, etc.) you’ll be well on your way to putting customers at the center of your decision-making process.
Bringing leaders together on a regular basis from sales, customer service, finance, product development and other functions that manage the customer experience can also help align efforts by increasing communication and coordination among these typically siloed groups.
You should also take some time to map out the customer experience as you see it today, and regularly compare that map against your customers’ feedback to understand which gaps need to be filled.
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2. Adapt your employee values and incentives
When employees are measured against outcomes limited to their little corner of the organization, it’s hard to make them understand the value of having a customer-focused culture.
Rather than provide compensation around short-term goals that are focused on one functional area, tie performance to the larger goals of the customer-centric company.
Ask employees “What have you done for the customer to improve the customer experience today? This month? This quarter? This year?”
It’s also important to find out what motivates your employees beyond financial rewards. Smalls gifts and public recognition for top notch service will motivate them to keep the customer top of mind.
With your peers on the executive team, develop customer-centric value statements that you and your employees can get behind. Then, communicate those values and set expectations around how employees at all levels, and in all types of roles— including the C-suite—can embody them.
3. Get a grip on your data
72% of CMOs say their biggest challenge is managing the ever-growing avalanche of customer data. To tame the chaos, CMOs need to buddy up with their CIO and other department leaders so they can leverage data from across the organization to create a unified view of the customer.
One way to accomplish this is by connecting marketing data with lead management, sales pipeline and customer relationship management systems to measure the value marketing campaigns generate for sales, and how messages can be optimized in the future to better reach customers.
CMOs should also leverage marketing data by combining it with product usage statistics, NPS and customer satisfaction numbers, customer behavior and feedback, or funnel stage progression.
By encouraging and facilitating data sharing across units, CMOs can position the marketing organization as one that provides a valuable service to the rest of the company through customer insights and other essential analytics.
Aligning your organization around the customer experience can open up a wealth of opportunity. By breaking down silos, providing the right incentives and using data to make more informed decisions, you’ll provide customers with the ultimate experience that will keep them loyal for the long haul.