The term customer experience is sometimes perceived as a buzzword, tossed around without much context or understanding. But marketing leaders have long known that everything we do has to be about the customer, and that creating a positive experience when customers interact with us will dramatically increase sales, revenue, and customer retention. 


That belief has been amplified over the past several years as organizations have seen the ROI from investing in customer experience. Research confirms those results--and the potential negative impact from poor brand experiences. 
 
  • Customers who have a positive experience are likely to spend 140% more than those who have a negative experience. (Deloitte)
  • Companies that focus on customer experience have 4-8% higher revenue than others in their industries. (Bain)
  • 87% of customers will make another purchase from the company when they have a great experience. (Qualtrics)
  • When customers have a positive experience, they tell an average of nine people; they tell 16 people about a negative experience. (Deloitte)
  • Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers. (Deloitte and Touche)

The strength of those kinds of numbers doesn’t mean that creating a cohesive customer experience is a given. Marketers often find their efforts to define and develop that experience diverted as they address the priorities of multiple internal stakeholders. 

So how do marketers in the real world build a cohesive customer experience? And how can you learn from them to take ownership of the customer experience in your company?
 

Fulfilling the Promise: Building the Customer Experience Together

Establishing ownership of the customer experience is one of the core tenets of marketing’s mandate; however, it’s not possible to build and support that customer experience without the agreement and participation of other stakeholders across your organization. 

Marketers provide the first touch for customers, provide the information they need in their discovery phase, and give them their first look at products and services. We tell the story of our company and its values—and show them customers how we solve their problems and why they should choose us.
 
But what happens when those customers are handed off to another department? If they don’t get the same promises, information, and level of attention and care, they may question whether they’ll be getting the value and service they were initially promised. 

Marketing leaders have a mission to bring that full customer experience story together and keep that promise. To accomplish that mission—and keep the customer top of mind for everyone—they must build supportive relationships with internal stakeholders and outside partners. 
 

Tips from the Customer Experience Leaders: Open Up the Conversation

For practical examples of how to solidify and centralize the management of customer experience, we looked to the marketing professionals on our peer perspectives website Modern Marketing Leader. There, we found some practical tips for moving the customer experience effort forward. 
 

First, open the channels of communication inside your organization.

To be sure you’re creating marketing materials and assets that will truly match the customer’s experience with your company, it’s essential to tap into one of your most valuable resources: your internal teams. 

Interview your salespeople, account managers, and the teams who deliver your products and services. Have long conversations with the people who work every day with your customers. Ask them about the customer onboarding process, the support they provide and the common questions they answer, the concerns that customers bring to them, and the problems they solve.

Bud Voss, President and CEO of Enbala Power Networks, talks about the importance of leveraging the knowledge of his customer success representatives.


 

At every touchpoint, speak the customer’s language. 

It might seem obvious that a customer-centric experience would come from the customer’s point of view, addressing their needs and pains, showcasing the benefits they need, and using the language they use.
 
However, maintaining that point of view isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Customer needs change, customers are demanding, and customers can see through a superficial message and detect when you don’t really get them. 

Larry Goldman, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Spinnaker Support, describes how he captures customer language and perspective and keeps that language consistent throughout his company’s communications. 


 

Keep the consistent customer experience top of mind.

Even the most mature customer experience strategies can quickly fall apart without the continuous support of all teams and departments in your organization.

Creating a strong experience isn’t something that marketing can put in place and expect to just work. It’s essential to bring teams together regularly to provide input and feedback on materials and campaigns, discuss issues and solutions, and address customers’ changing needs.

Claudia Randall, Executive Director of the Obesity Medicine Association, talks about how to create a culture of communication to support a seamless customer experience across all departments.


 

Addressing the Complexity of Customer Experience

One of the toughest challenges with creating a superior customer experience is that an “experience” can touch any or all areas of your company. It’s important to take the time to think through that experience from start to finish, including:
 
  • Digital ads, promotions, events, and social engagement 
  • Website design, navigation, content, and interactive elements
  • Blog and content asset publishing, promotions, and use
  • Media content including video, infographics, slideshows, webinars, and podcasts
  • Technical tools, calculators, and information resources
  • Contact modes including chat, forms, portals, email, and phone
  • Product or service delivery and follow-up
  • Ongoing nurture and support programs
  • Re-engagement and additional sales support
  • Resources, tools, and content assets for sales and customer support teams

Creating that unified vision and getting all the elements of all your programs to support it can be a bit overwhelming. For many organizations, the perspective of an outside partner can be invaluable for breaking down this complexity.

An agency or consultant can give you insights you might never see and help you: 
 
  • develop a focused strategy for improving your customer experience;
  • prioritize the tactics you will need to execute; and
  • implement a process for bringing your vision to life.

Your partner can also help you present your vision to management and be a bridge of communication with your internal stakeholders.

Today’s marketing leaders are the owners of the customer experience, and by extension, the drivers of company revenue and growth. Forming supportive relationships across the organization will help ensure success for all parties involved.
 

Ready for a Better Experience?

Whether your company is addressing a single aspect of the customer experience or looking for a way to redefine the entire customer relationship, marketing needs to lead the charge. Take time to visit Modern Marketing Leader and get inspired. When you’re ready to take that leadership role in your own organization, contact us.

Please also visit and connect with our partners, who contributed their time and resources to make Modern Marketing Leader happen.

The Marketing Alliance
AMA Colorado
Progress Software