CliffsNotes on Customer Experience (CX)

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Customer Experience (CX) is one of the biggest trends shaping the field of marketing today — but what is it?

I suppose the abbreviation originated to play off its fancier-sounding cousin slash mentor-discipline in the tech world, UX (user experience), while cleverly facilitating a natural extension of the company C-Suite… the CEO, the CMO, and now the CXO.

CX began building noticeable buzz around 2011, the same year the CXPA was founded and the same year the world lost a man who had become synonymous with customer-centricity. In fact, it’s the very mantra of Jobs himself, and variations by other big business mavens like Musk and Bezos, that seem to have fueled the movement.

“Start with the customer.”

Over the past few years, CX has manifested through the formalizing and operationalizing of that creed by thought leaders whose backgrounds are often in customer service or the aforementiond design field of user experience or human-computer interaction — both of course dealing with the needs of humans.

Now, what’s all this got to do with marketing? Well, everything obviously.

A Tale of Three Paradigms

Marketing has changed. It’s not what it once was. It used to be a rehearsed monologue brands delivered from a stage loudly and clearly to target audiences with attention to spare.

#1 – Always On

But today, the marketing conversation is multi-channel and multi-directional. Social media, customer reviews, online influencers — these force brands to keep on their toes every minute of every day.

#2 – Smartketing

Data mining, lead scoring, and automation have fused sales and marketing, making mass-personalization and “funnels-of-one” the growing expectation of consumers as their relationships with brands become increasingly digital.

#3 – Template-ification

With brands and media channels now crowding the marketplace, it’s harder than ever to get audience attention, and it’s easier than ever to look and sound like every other brand out there.

All About Intentionality

In my 2014 post, I mentioned that every touchpoint is an opportunity. CX is rooted in this idea, recognizing that in a crowded market and media landscape, some of the best differentiation with the greatest ROI happens during and immediately after the sale. Great customer experiences do not only drive loyalty, they also drive the kind of marketing long-known for being the most trusted in the marketplace — word of mouth.

Using data, collaboration, and communication, the CX field is unifying traditionally siloed business sectors like sales, marketing, customer service, and operations to hone all possible consumer interactions into effortless, delightful, branded experiences.

Baby Stepping Your Way To Great CX

Baby Step #1 – Read The Effortless Experience or Outside In

Baby Step #2 – Consider whether your company is really, truly standing on a strong enough brand promise or distinctive point of difference.

Baby Step #3 – Get to know your customers’ perceptions of and interactions with you — persona interviews, surveys, and journey maps are the appropriate tools here.

Baby Step #4 – Identify the most critical touchpoints you have with your consumer.

Baby Step #5 – Carefully, conscientiously craft these touchpoints into memorable moments that accentuate your brand.

About our guest blogger:
Former two term Executive Board Secretary for AMA Columbia, Will Weatherly, now sits on the membership committee and oversees new member engagement. As a consultant/ brand manager at Riggs Partners, he uncovers key customer insights and turns them into business strategies and marketing programs.

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