Marketers get it — delivering great customer experiences is critical to a brand’s success. Over the last 12 months, ADMA and Which-50 separately and collaboratively have managed multiple roundtable discussions with senior marketing and analytics executives around Australia on the topic of customer experience.
While the importance of CX is recognised, managers are frustrated by the impediments they face — and those impediments are remarkably consistent.
We have identified the five most common problems CMOs raise with us, when the subject of delivering great experiences turns to a discussion about the problems that get in the way. We also have some insights into how some CMOs have tackled these problems.
Problem: Organisational silos. Often, different managers are responsible for different data sets. Getting buy-in from those managers and their subordinates is difficult. Sometimes office politics can be a problem. Or perhaps as CX project might not get the engagement from other stakeholders it needs as they are distracted by competing priorities.
Solution: Engagement. The project sponsor and project manager need to ensure all the stakeholders are engaged early and understand how their contribution affects the project.
Problem: Technological silos. Data might reside in incompatible systems, or be stored in inconsistent ways. The IT team is responsible for overcoming this problem, but will often have many competing calls on its time.
Solution: Timeliness. Ensure that IT is engaged in the project as early as possible so the team can identify the systems and data required, and that the CX project is approved and in the CIO’s queue.
Problem: Misaligned incentives. Customers expect companies to remove friction from interactions with the brand, but often different teams inside companies — and even different people inside teams — have key performance indicators unrelated to the CX project. In some cases, incentives are potentially in conflict with the project.
Solution: C-level buy-in. The best projects will have very senior sponsors who can ensure that everyone’s KPIs align around the overall outcome the company is seeking, and around the steps the company needs to take to achieve the outcome.
Problem: Skills. One of the most common complaints from marketers is that companies will sign off on the software, but will not spend money either bringing in new staff or skilling up existing staff.
Solution: Thorough planning. Ensure that senior managers who need to sign off on the budget understand the ongoing cost implications. If key staff are going to be seconded for a significant period of time, make sure you budget to back-fill their positions.
Problem: Company culture. No-one goes to work wanting to give the customer a bad experience, but the reality is that many people are set in their ways at work and do not like change. Culture is often cited as the biggest impediment that marketers need to overcome.
Solution: Plan for change. CX is often about much more than simply providing new tools to customers — it also requires changes to the way companies and people work. Make sure you have a robust change program in place, and that you understand who will be affected by the changes.
Marketers often express frustration at all of these problems, and can’t understand why it is so hard to get senior leadership buy-in. The message from successful C-level executives is that it’s time for marketers to stop complaining and take ownership of the problem.