Monday, 16 July 2012

Customer Experience - The New Conversation

Every customer experience or touchpoint is an Ask, Listen and Learn Opportunity

The Wikipedia entry defines customer experience as
'the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. From awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. It can also be used to mean an individual experience over one transaction; the distinction is usually clear in context.'

And to be honest I'm not going to argue with that. That seems to cover all the aspects of actually communicating with the company, the buying experience, using the product, service across all channels both off and on line.

Where I slightly disagree with the article is that it seems to suggest that Customer Experience (CX), seems to be at odds with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) which is defined as

'a widely implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service.Customer relationship management describes a company-wide business strategy including customer-interface departments as well as other departments.Measuring and valuing customer relationships is critical to implementing this strategy'

Phew! Quite a mouthful

This contrasts with the definition I have been using recently with my clients. that CRM is

'CRM is a business philosophy to strengthen the connection between the brand and the consumer. The relationship has to be mutually beneficial and consumers shape how they want to engage.

This to me is closer to the truth. In particular the area around being 'mutually beneficial'. And combining this with the definition of CX we start to get back to basics. This is all about Marketing.

In the Good? Bad ? old days we used to look at Marketing as being all about the 4 P's ( I know sometimes it's 6 or 7)

The 4 P's of Marketing

These consist of the following:
  • Product - A product is seen as an item that satisfies what a consumer needs or wants. It is a tangible good or an intangible service. and we want to sell it
  • Price – The price is the amount a customer pays for the product and we are willing to sell at.
  • Promotion - represents all of the methods of communication that a marketer may use to provide information to different parties about the product. 
  • Place - refers to providing the product at a place which is convenient for consumers to access. 

The 4 P's are still with us, it's just that they are a little more complicated in today's interactive, socially charged, real time world.

  • Product - Is now more often than not more than the tangible product itself but the whole customer experience around it
  • Price – The price is less of a constant than it used to be. With consumers today being able to in most cases get it cheaper elsewhere what differentiates a brand is the customer experience
  • Promotion -It's not longer just brand to consumer messaging but also consumer to consumer and even manufacturer to consumer
  • Place - Well that can now mean anytime anyplace anytime anyhow

CRM and Customer Experience run hand in hand with each other to deliver the 4 P's today

Ask Listen Learn 

Whats important to us as Marketers hoping to influence the 4 P's ( we do want to do that don't we?), is that actually every customer touch-point and experience is an opportunity to Ask, Listen and Learn, with a view to improving the customer experience

Of course I don't mean actually ask, but everything we present to a customer - email, price, shelf layout - is actually a question ' do you like what you see?'

Which obviously means that every reaction from the customer should be listened too and observed, with a view to learning what works and what doesn't.

It really isn't more complicated than understanding that interaction, engagement..or conversation

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