Two discussions are occurring in the marketplace around customer experience, one is focused on how to interact, inspire and influence buyers to trust and prefer your brand. The other conversation is focused on what to do with customers post purchase. Logically, these two are part of the same conversation; one a continuation of the other.
But in reality, that’s not what is happening. Organizational silos, product-centric missions, short-term revenue obsession and company cultures are some of the factors that divide and fragment customer conversations.
To the customer it’s all one conversation regardless of where they are in the lifecycle of the relationship. They don’t care who’s responsible for the interaction, to them it’s all about consistency and continuity of value realized and the relevance of each interaction. What puzzles customers is why it’s taking brands so long to get it right.
I sat down with Rebecca Ward, CEO of Moxie Software, Inc., a real-time customer engagement software company, to understand her view on the challenge of compartmentalized customer conversations and how to re-integrate them into a valued customer experience.
What is the difference between “customer experience” and “customer success”?
“Customer success is when a customer is able to accomplish what they set out to do, easily. Customer experience describes their journey – what happened to them along the way in completing a task. Was it easy or did they struggle? Unfortunately, the latter is often the case even with the most basic of tasks. It’s no surprise that 97%-99% of people leave a brand’s website or mobile app without converting. To achieve customer success, companies need to engage with customers during the journey and “staff” the online store just as they staff a physical store.”
Why is getting multiple departments to deliver a consistent customer experiences is a major challenge for companies?
“A customer touches multiple departments and technologies throughout their customer journey. However, companies rarely have a unified strategy for consistently interacting with a customer, which creates a very fragmented experience.”
How much of the problem is culture versus technology versus organizational competences?
“Historically, each department (marketing, sales, service, etc.) has been tasked with deploying technology to achieve their specific business goals. On top of that, different aspects of the brick and mortar experience were transitioned online in different phases, which created even more of an inconsistent customer experience.
Today, organizations recognize that the customer embarks on a journey that crosses many departments. Applying consistent technology can break down these silos. For example, companies can use the same technology for chat whether selling to a customer or supporting them or use the same knowledgebase for employees internally as well as for customers externally to deliver consistent answers across the organization.
Several of Moxie’s customers are hosting internal innovation fairs where they are sharing existing technology with employees across departments to help them deliver consistent experiences across the organization. I’m excited to see happening more and more.”
As a CEO, what best practices have you implemented so understand and consistently deliver valued customer experiences?
“The most important thing for me is to build a culture that focuses on our customers’ and our employees’ expectations. Why do people buy from us? Why do employees work here? Sharing knowledge across the company is a critical component to the success of any organization, including Moxie. It is part of an ongoing process to enable customers and employees to continually share what they have learned. From a technology standpoint, we are broadening the use of our own knowledge base to ensure that best practices can be easily shared internally and externally with our customers.
Additionally, our company values spell out MOXIE to make them easy to remember.
We focus on delivering innovative products that solve a compelling market need, being a company that is easy to work with and responsive, and having a culture of open communication so we surface ideas and identify problems to continuously improve. “
Mobile is today’s preferred channel, how will the mobile application market respond to customers’ evolving channel preferences?
“Today, many companies are still largely ignoring the mobile channel even though smartphone traffic continues to increase at a rapid pace. The smartphone offers a unique opportunity to capture new customers since it is often the only device that an individual will have with him/her at all times. The digital channel engagement model needs to be designed from this perspective.
One of the key changes in a mobile world is going from what I call a “tethered and tolerant” user, one who is sitting at a desk, to one who is “mobile and multi-tasking.” The engagement model needs to change to support that. For example, on a website today, companies publish an 800 number as the only way to reach them for help. Even on websites, this is not an optimal engagement model. Why should I have to go from a computer to a telephone in order to get help?
In a mobile world, people are more comfortable messaging (texting and emailing) versus talking on the device. The mode of communication offered needs to align with the utility of the device – chatting with a company on a mobile device is a natural extension of what the device is already being used for. A consistent multi-channel experience offers seamless communication options and knowledge across the website, mobile, tablet as well as in store and kiosks. In the next 12 months, mobile apps and mobile sites will become more comprehensive as they evolve from part of a website that lacks key functionality.”
To integrate compartmentalized, fragmented customer conversations into a meaningful experience, one strategy enterprises must embrace is mobile applications built on the same framework – chat, email, knowledge, social media, and video chat – to deliver consistent experiences that customers value and seek out on all devices.