CMO Perspectives (15th Aug, 2014)

We've got some powerful articles in this week's CMO Perspectives. By now, every CMO knows that customer experience is essential to business growth, but beyond the buzz, what does that really mean and how can it be implemented?  Here is a roundup of the best thinking on this topic.

Let us know your thoughts by commenting below, or reach out on Twitter: @NICE_Enterprise.

Customer Service Is Your CMO's Blind Spot

It happens to companies of all sizes -- from Fortune 500 businesses to mom-and-pop online retailers -- you're the CMO and you have little idea what it actually feels like to be a customer of your own company. You've organized a blowout launch party and shot glossy product photos, but you have little idea what your product looks like the moment it arrives at a customer's door, or what your call center agents are actually saying to customers.

Author, Jordy Leiser says this kind of blind spot is unacceptable in the digital age. He cites Lululemon's see-through leggings fiasco and Target's credit card data breach as examples of what CMOs ought NOT to do.

Make the Most of Customer Journey Mapping

Customer journey mapping is all the buzz these days, as CMOs realize that enhancing the customer experience is central to their job description. There are a lot of great reasons to map, but once you've done so, what then?

Author, Maria Bos suggests that many companies get stuck at the point when they need to learn and apply lessons from their customer journey map. She offers tips for getting out of the rut. For instance, conducting ethnographic research on your customers (watching what they do, not just listening to what they say). Another tip is to overlay the research results with the current experience map and look for discrepancies.

How to Take Action & Improve Your Customer Experience (Tweet) 

So many companies just talk the talk, but don't actually do anything about improving customer experience. Talk can be valuable, but only if it leads to direct action.

Author, Jeannie Walters offers the following seven questions for a productive conversation.

1. Do we have any real feedback from customers to review?

2. Are we keeping in touch with existing customers?

3. Do we know why our customers are leaving for competitors?

4. What have we learned recently by listening in on social channels?

5. How does our customer retention rate compare with last month/quarter/year?

6. What are we learning from experiences in other industries?

7. How does the actual experience compare to what we would expect, based on our customer journey map?

Anticipate customer needs to build trust and loyalty

This is an inspirational TEDx Hollywood talk by entrepreneur Tina Sharkey. She describes the little moments of joy we experience each day: seeing a beautiful view, enjoying a great cup of coffee, or hearing our kids say something cute.

Sharkey says that some of these joy moments can even be experienced through brands: For instance, she describes how stressed she was one day when she needed to catch a ride to the airport. She checked the Uber app on her smartphone, which informed her that three cars were on their way and she suddenly felt a flood of relief.

Products that offer these moments of emotional response when interacting with a brand are marked by "receptional design."  She says that companies that anticipate a customer's real-time needs will experience greater loyalty and trust.

The Rebirth of the CMO

The chief marketing officer role is undergoing a renaissance, say the authors, blogging in Harvard Business Review. The reason? Digital disruption.

The last few years, they write, have seen a proliferation of C-suite titles that include a component of marketing. Some are chief customer officers, chief experience officers, chief client officers, or chief digital officers.

Because the digital world flattens barriers to entry, CMOs have to constantly innovate to stay ahead of their competitors. Products are increasingly commoditized, but the one area where a company can differentiate itself is customer experience. CMO's do this by leveraging big data, streamlining their contact centers and leading, not just following their company's change agenda.

We hope you found inspiration in this week’s edition of CMO Perspectives. Please comment below, or tweet us if you would like next week’s edition to cover any other industry-related topic of interest.

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