The Next Step in Customer Interaction

When we hit rock bottom during the recession, we, the consumers of the world, were willing to allow companies to let customer service slide in a few areas. We all recognized that the companies we solicit were more concerned with keeping the lights on than keeping customers overjoyed with their experience. Fast forward a few years, and consumers again are demanding a leading customer experience. Those companies that see what their consumers want, and are acting on it, are finding a competitive differentiation.

Many of those leading companies are even going so far as putting in place a Customer Experience Manager (CXM) to lead the charge in delivering a differentiated customer experience. And it's working for many. 

In a recent article in CIO magazine, Why CXM Is the Next Step in Customer Interaction, author Jennifer Lonoff Schiff (@JenniferLSchiff), polled a number of industry experts for their viewpoint on this emerging area of customer experience management. Our very own Mariann McDonagh was one of those experts, and following are a few things she had to say about it: 

Continually strive to understand your customers from their perspective. "Often companies make the mistake of looking to automate what's painful for the company instead of looking at what is painful for the customers," says Mariann McDonagh, chief marketing officer with cloud software provider inContact. Instead, firms should "learn what customers really care about and remember that they demand the same experience regardless of what channel—call center, social media, chat, etc.—they use."

Learn what customer touchpoints (i.e., interactions) matter the most and harmonize them. "Have someone own responsibility for the success or failure of each channel and work together as a team with other channel owners to create a seamless experience," says McDonagh.

Make CXM an enterprise, not just a departmental, goal. "Customer experience should be a total enterprise goal, not just the purview of the customer service team," she adds. "Sales, finance, product development and other teams should all have a role in collecting customer feedback and closing the loop with customers."

Be flexible. "Don't build a customer experience strategy that is rigid and inflexible, but instead approach it as a process that is organic and responsive to changing customer needs and expectations," McDonagh says.

Let us know what you think of this emerging area of customer experience management and how you see it being built into leading companies today!