When it comes to building sustainable brands today, customer experience has become as important as messaging and media planning, writes the 4A’s Chick Foxgrover. Here’s what you need to do create and measure excellence in customer experience.
Customer experience (CX) impacts many business-critical functions, from the ability to generate revenue and reducing costs, to mobilizing employees and fostering customer loyalty. As CX continues to offer advanced competitive advantages for those who prioritize what it can offer, every agency can and should gain an understanding of any client’s holistic omnichannel customer interaction ecosystem – a core capability of its strategic process and business development planning.
CX as we know it is the product of the digital transformation of business and personal life. Amid the onset of the pandemic, the field has rapidly grown in importance for all commerce and continued to evolve with feverish new visions of even more immersive virtual worlds of the metaverse and crypto-based economies.
Digital has tilted the balance of power in the customer-brand relationship toward the customer, and customer-centricity has required companies to measure and improve every interaction opportunity. While agencies and brands often understand CX is the future and invest financial and human resources into its development, many fall short of ensuring quality CX measurement, shortchanging the performance outcomes clients expect and desire.
CX creates a complicated picture
CX measurement programs often fail to standardize methods for how data is leveraged, using metrics that merely measure how customers feel about a product or brand rather than gaining insight on what aspects of CX resonate best. Therefore, meaningful advancements are hard to develop. Brands communicate with consumers digitally through every function, service and product interface. Bringing that data together to gain a holistic understanding of a brand’s performance and potential has never been more possible or important.
Indeed, CX literature and content marketing present a complicated picture including but not limited to:
Evolution omnichannel-marketing, multiplication and fragmentation of media
Increased prominence of design thinking processes that include testing and iteration
Developments in management and organization theory on the importance of employee experience (EX)
Applied organizational innovation in lean processes such as flat teams hierarchies and agile-inspired methodologies
The wide distribution of digital tools and experiences that continually re-define consumer expectations
A prioritization of human factors insights in communications and process optimization
An imperative for social responsibility, even justice, for all a brand’s stakeholders
Many of the largest companies and agency corporations, with extremely varying capabilities and scales of operations, such as Oracle, Salesforce and WPP, are pivoting their offerings to prominently include strategic design or support for CX, and related expert practices such as data management and analytics, product management, experience metrics, business intelligence and service design. And independent agencies, such as Allen & Gerritson and Barkley, are transforming their market positioning to include smaller scale CX-related capabilities such as these.
Agencies of all sizes can use this recognition to surface insights and create deeper integrations of their ideas, campaigns and media strategies with the dynamic aspects of the client’s entire customer lifecycle – and where appropriate build out stronger consultative, design and implementation practices for emerging client needs.
Brand love today is created through many kinds of experiences, ingredients, skills and preparations that hopefully lead to customer delight. If you love brand building and you can appreciate its holistic enterprise, you too can CX. And should.
Chick Foxgrover is executive vice-president of creative technologies and innovation at The 4A’s, as well as the leader behind the 4A’s CX Effect + conference next month.