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Creating a cohesive customer experience

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Developing the customer experience

TandemSeven was founded in 2001 as a consulting company that developed custom business applications, websites and portals. “Our work focused on optimizing user experiences,” says Steve Offsey, CMO of TandemSeven. “Each time we went through a user-centered design process, we would develop assets such as personas and journey maps for a particular client, and store them in desktop formats like PowerPoint or Vizio.” However, the assets could not be updated dynamically based on new research or easily shared among the different departments involved or across projects.

Being unable to find a product that could support their user experience development projects, TandemSeven decided to create one. “We needed a solution for our own work, but more importantly our clients needed one too,” Offsey says. TandemSeven developed UX360, a platform for creating and sharing user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) assets. The company continues to design custom applications for its customers but also sells UX360 as a commercial product.

As companies have become more customer-centric, CX teams needed to span multiple products and departments to provide a seamless customer experience. “We saw that customer research was being done in a silo without being communicated well to other departments that could benefit from the knowledge,” Offsey explains. In addition, different departments often were assigned pieces of the overall customer experience for individual channels such as desktop and mobile. UX360 provides a collaborative environment that places assets such as personas and journey maps in one location. It presents the entire organization with a unified view of the customer and their priorities, which is linked to the underlying research, such as the output of voice-of-the-customer analyses.

One of TandemSeven’s customers, a large global bank, wanted to create a more positive customer experience but had different lines of business that were not coordinating their efforts. “The bank used UX360 to consolidate their persona models across all the lines of business,” says Offsey. “They went through a series of collaborative workshops to create a unified set of personas, using UX360 to capture the data and set enterprise standards. The process is very similar to taxonomy reconciliation, since it produces consistency from resources that were originally very diverse.”

Offsey agrees that the terminology used to describe customer experience applications is confusing. “Vendors with all kinds of different tools and applications are now calling them customer experience solutions,” he says. “For example, Web content management systems are now being called customer experience platforms.” TandemSeven addresses a specific aspect of that market. “Our platform addresses the needs of the experience team as it conducts research on the customer, creates personas and journey maps and communicates them across the company to improve the overall customer experience,” Offsey says.

The key to good customer experience management is not necessarily doing something new, according to Gartner’s Thompson, but better coordinating what is already happening. “A typical large ($5 billion) company has over 50 different projects designed to improve the customer experience,” Thompson says, “and 80 percent of them involve technology. It’s a matter of designing, planning and measuring what works and then making improvements.”

Customer experience is a term used broadly now and not very precisely. Over time, the activities included in each phase may be described in ways that more clearly differentiate them as well as the enabling software products. A growth opportunity for the industry would be better integration of the many fragmented components of software that supports customer experience management.

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