The Digital Century Business

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND DIGITAL ARE INTEGRATED.

For customer experience (CX) to thrive, collaboration with marketing is key — This was the thinking in the yesterday years. Organizations used to have “Customer Service, Marketing, Sales, IT and Operations” as separate, siloed functions for years for convenience. About 15-20 years ago, CX did not even surface on the agenda of CEOs — all they cared for their customers was “after-sales-service,”reasonable pricing, and delivery.

The customer has changed, business dynamics have changed, and the very “customer experience” (CX) has become a competitive battlefield, yet Marketing refused to accept that CX is integral to their existence. Then came “digital,” a force to reckon with.

The traditional definition of “digital” is Signal transmission that conveys information through a series of coded pulses representing 1s and 0s (binary code). Virtuos defines “Digital” as an era where everyone (people, vendors, suppliers, etc.) have access to information by virtue of internet, an array of technologies — smartphones, devices, IOT, Cloud, e-commerce and ecosystems — Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Twitter, TripAdvisor, etc. to take better decisions and conduct themselves in an experience economy.

Then there’s digitalization — the use of “digital” technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to digital business. Digitalization can’t be construed as “digital transformation.” Digitalization is a necessity to remain in the current business landscape, and this is an existential decision.

Digital Business — it’s the creation of new business designs by blurring the digital and physical worlds. It promises to usher in an unprecedented convergence of people, business and things that disrupts existing business models - even those born of the Internet and e-business eras.

Then there’s Digital Century Business — It’s an autonomous “digital business” self-correcting and adjusting to the micro and macro changes continuously, for centuries. Businesses must consider “change” as a continuous process than a one-off exercise.

There are many other “Digitals” like Digital Marketing, Digital Asset Management, Digital Commerce, Digital Health, Digital Banking, etc. Everything that has prefix or suffix as digital is to transcend from ebusiness, internet days to new era.

Why does Marketing refuse to have CX in its fold?

Marketing departments always considered that their role was to generate new business, and feed sales with leads, and increase brand value. Marketing departments were given budgets to spend on advertisements, promotions, events, and other campaigns to attract more customers, and create brand awareness. With Google in the play, marketing departments have received more budgets to spend on social media marketing, search ads, and content marketing. Their focus was always on the buying cycle driving many common marketing metrics, such as traffic, conversion rates, leads, and sales.

Further, marketing always considered Customer Service as “transactional, operational activity with overwhelming complexities” and any of their direct engagement with customer service will derail the marketing strategy affecting revenue and profits.

The customer is in control.

In the digital era, the customer is at the center of everything we do in sales, service, marketing or operations. Customer journeys are more self-directed, diverse and influenced by “digital” than ever before. The customer is in full control, and the sum of their discrete experiences across channels, and devices can lift your brand's retention and word of mouth, improving marketing spend efficiency. By contrast, poor, disjointed channel experiences can do the opposite — increase customer churn, diminish reputation and threaten the brand health and business outcomes.

Customers are connected!

Your existing customers and prospects are connected digitally, and they have a complete view of your brand and its reputation in the market. With digital ecosystems, they are even better informed about your brand and its customer experiences than yourself as a marketer. Their customer journey touches countless and transient business moments through “digital” means.

The customer journey features three connected cycles: buy, own and advocate. From discovering your product to recommending it to friends, every step customer takes while engaged with your brand comprises their whole CX. As referred above, marketing always portrayed "buy" cycle.

But today’s “Buy” is profoundly influenced by the digital environment where your existing customers, employees, and other ecosystems constantly give feedback, opinions, and reviews about your products and services.

However strong your marketing message will be it can’t beat the voice of the customer (VoC).

Few brands effectively move customers to the second juncture, which is love. In the own cycle, businesses must deliver on the expectations created during the buying cycle using efforts that lift satisfaction. Support, product, delivery, packaging, onboarding and company policies play an outsized role in moving customers from purchase to love — from mere customer to loyal. But, these levers are primarily outside the control of marketing leaders and thus require cross-functional integration — not just collaboration.

Does Marketing own CX or CX Owns Marketing?

It’s like asking does husband own wife or wife owns husband. They are unified and integrated as one, and there’s no question of who held the other.

Will there be two leaders assuming responsibilities of CX and Marketing, and according to Virtuos, most definitely “yes.” CMOs have been reluctant to own full responsibilities of CX Operations for strategic reasons. CXOs (Customer Experience Officers) or CCOs (Chief Customer Officers) do not want to understand marketing.

Both CMOs and CXO are parallels reporting to CEOs, and it’s a marriage built on trust, transparency and explicit governance model.

The importance of customer experience is on the rise, and marketing is on the hook. Almost 60% of marketing leaders surveyed by Gartner say that the marketing department owns the budget to support the customer experience.

Marketing owns CX

The emergence of new tools: Experience Cloud

Traditional Digital Marketing and Customer Experience Suites have been functioning in silos for years, and there’s an emergence of new cloud — Experience Cloud that’s being jointly used by both CMOs and CCO/CXOs to deliver holistic, integrated signature customer experience. These Five Trends are shaping the future of Customer Experience in 2018. Experience Cloud will change the face of Customer Experience by integrating every department that touches the customer.

Look for more information and updates on Experience Cloud.