There isn’t a successful company out there that hasn’t made customer experience a priority. According to Forrester: “Customer-obsessed strategies are a shared agenda for business and technology leaders—requiring a common view of what is happening in the market and how best to respond.”
In other words, before a company can even start thinking about offering top-notch customer experience, it must first construct the framework that makes CX innovation possible.
“We work with a lot of companies that are focused on customer experience and digital transformation,” said Loni Stark, senior director, strategy and product marketing, at Adobe. “We’ve begun to see a pattern in terms of how companies are setting themselves up and laying a foundation for CX success. For example, you need a digital foundation first, before you can even really talk about customer experience.”
Indeed, a strong digital foundation is one of three framework fundamentals, according to CX experts. The other two: a data-informed content strategy and internal cultural alignment.
Strong Digital Foundation
Enterprises must understand “a critical paradigm” as they begin this technical and digital journey, according to Craig Gorsline, president of ThoughtWorks.
“The drivers of the world they are existing in are so different,” he told CMO by Adobe. “Speed, scope, and impact are all operating at a different velocity than they did even 10 years ago. And enterprises, more than ever, are really having to face the stark reality that they need to not just augment legacy technology, but they need to really rewire the entire enterprise.”
Carl Madaffari, Epsilon’s senior VP of marketing and innovation, said companies need to have the “technology chops” necessary to understand the current customer experience and determine where improvement is needed.
At the forefront is the need for strong analytics to guide real-time decisions, making “one view” of the customer more important than ever before. Beyond analytics, content management, listening tools, and personalization technology are key to creating a strong digital foundation.
“If you look at the way we function as human beings, if you and I are talking, I’m listening to what you are saying and I first need to process what you’ve said before I can respond,” Adobe’s Stark said. “Companies should be striving to build out a digital foundation that mimics our real-world interactions, where they listen, process what’s been said, and only then react.”
Marketers must have a digital foundation that allows them to study the customer journey, where it hums, where there’s friction, and where it’s completely broken down, said Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group, and author of “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design.” “This is the low-hanging fruit to iteration,” he told CMO by Adobe. “Innovation comes later.”
Additionally, companies must be able to identify their traditional customers, connected customers, and desired customers, and organize them by behaviors, preferences, and values—not demographics, Solis said. Take note of what they value and why and how they spend their hard-earned money, he suggested. This will set the foundation to modernize the brand for a new generation of customers.
Building out a strong digital foundation, Solis added, also means bringing in social scientists to humanize today’s—and tomorrow’s—customers to the business, and to explain what it takes to be culturally and technologically relevant in their world.