More and more brands find themselves in an uncomfortable reality where their customers’ business and loyalty are harder to win and maintain. New competitors play by different rules and cherry pick the best customers. This situation reflects an underlying challenge—customers have shifted their focus away from products and services to their experiences when using products to attain outcomes. Chief Customer Officers are increasingly hired by CEOs and boards to improve customer experience holistically, across all enterprise touchpoints.
Providers have always competed for business, but the battleground has changed, from brand and product to empowering customer outcomes.
Customer Experience and Social Media
Digital has been reverberating throughout business and society since the mid nineties, when the Web achieved mass adoption. Twenty years on, smartphones, tablets, wearables, and all kinds of “smart” devices (IoT) add to the list of channels and interfaces used by customers when they’re interacting with organizations, and their holistic impression of their interactions is “customer experience” (CX). It’s important to realize that organizations don’t create CX—customers do—but organizations often have a major impact on it. Providing seamless experience for customers to use is very difficult for organizations to deliver, but it’s increasingly table stakes.
Moreover, CX is a new world for teams that have been focused on their firms and products for generations. Organizations usually have very superficial knowledge of their customers’ outcomes, which limits their ability to empathize and serve—and retain their customers (and other stakeholders like employees, partners, and communities). Customers increasingly realize that they are in the driver’s seat.
Practically speaking, though, where does this leave large organizations? As described in more detail in The Social Channel, the economics of the Industrial Economy organization have broken down—because efficient organization spontaneously coalesces everywhere now, so the organization’s efficiency competitive advantage is evaporating. The good news: organizations that pivot to Knowledge Economy thinking will enjoy even higher profits.
What About “Customer Success?”
Customer success is an exciting trend that’s being largely driven by forward-thinking hightech firms whose investors and executives have started practicing what CMOs and CSOs have said for decades—keeping a customer is more efficient that onboarding a new customer. Finally, customer success software platforms are sophisticated and easy-to-use enough to make it practical to refocus the firm on focusing on customers’ outcomes (“success”). In most firms, customer success is embedded at the middle management layer of the company.
Business Drivers for Customer Experience and CCOs
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