Putting the Customer First

You’ve heard it a thousand times, in bombastic, overly emphatic tones: “Customer is King!” “Content is King!” “Cash is King!”

You can’t swing a dead cat in here without hitting a king.

But the “customer” one may have some legitimacy. That’s why we chose to focus this paper on the “the customer experience,” because… well, let’s face it—we wouldn’t get very far without them.

We’ve also been taught that creating a great customer experience is different and apart from “customer relationship management.” I guess I buy that, but I suspect it’s more brochure-speak than anything. It comes down to treating people the right way, and in the manner that suits them most.

I like the way Coveo poses it in their article (please read on later in this White Paper): “Today, the rise of online communities, social networks and the customer-driven economy—all of which empowered the customer to not only want the information, but demand it faster and better—is driving a new shift in the world of knowledge man­agement. We are moving to a world where knowledge only has value when it is being used, not when it is being prepped to store. We are moving toward an ecosystem where the customer, the company and all other interested stakeholders become part­ners in the search for better knowledge.”

Information is Everywhere; It’s Just a Matter of Finding It

The emergence of enormous information stores and the required data analytics to absorb them has driven itself into customer care in a big way. As Attivio puts it: “Gaining 360° intelligence based on every touch point of a customer with your organization will transform the way sales and marketing teams are doing business. The terms ‘big data’ and ‘big content’ are typically used to describe the scenario of extracting the mission-critical insight lying within the mass volumes of information that exist in sources both inside the enterprise as well as from external sources. Access to all this information can revolutionize the way strategic decisions are being made, and in parallel satisfy executives who are demanding more data-driven practices.”

However,” they go on to say, “the problem still remains that much of this important information is locked in siloed systems within the technology stack. That information is fragmented, comes in many different formats, and is nearly impossible to correlate, rendering it not as useful as it could be. Decisions must be made based on piecemeal analyses, each covering only a small portion of the available intelligence. The solution to this problem is having unified intelligence about what keeps customers engaged and delivering a holistic view of their behavior across every touch point for sales and marketing to analyze, build strategies around, infuse dynamic personalization into the experience and constantly iterate for optimization.”

Easy said, hard done. But there is truth in it. Information locked in repositories, unavailable for application, is of no use at all. And information uncaptured is equally useless. Listen to what IntelliResponse says about it; they correctly point out that many of the customer-response feedback tools are woefully inadequate for application in current knowledge management systems.

Capturing data is event-driven, fractured and fragmented. Data collected through traditional methods is rarely integrated into operational systems and processes. Focus groups and interviews, for example, present obvious challenges with getting verbal insights into a database.

Analyzing data is difficult and manual. Once the data is collected, marketers next encounter problems with ‘big data.’

You have the data… now what? Even when companies go to the trouble of capturing and analyzing data, many struggle with what to do with the analysis.

Time delay. Without detailed, useful analysis, no action can be taken. But it often falls on a business analyst to conduct manual analysis, meaning analysis becomes another task on someone’s already full “to do” list.

Cost. No marketer needs to be educated on the cost of focus groups and surveys. Each of these activities represents budget that could be put to better use.

Fortunately, we have reached a point in time where these problems have begun to dissipate. Enabling technologies that simplify and automate data collection and analysis have brought about change. The way companies approach voice of the customer will never be the same.”

It’s Getting More Complicated All the Time

Our friends at OpenText manage to complicate it even further, while introducing a completely new facet to be put to great advantage: new media. “In today’s business environment, where time is of the essence and the experience is what sells, your customers, partners and prospects want videos, pictures and interactive content because they want to see and hear your information—not just read about it. Fortunately, it is now easier, faster and more affordable to create rich media. As a result, there’s been a surge of rich media assets in companies across every industry.

This explosion of rich media and social feedback promises real-time intelligent marketing to digital workers. Today, everyone is a content creator and an individually targeted consumer. Realizing that marketing teams cannot, and should not, be solely responsible for the creation of all the content they need, digital marketers are turning to earned media, curating the best content from end-consumers themselves.

Engaging customers with rich media means your content must be relevant, contextual and rendered seamlessly on every device or channel. Concepts like responsive design free content creators from worrying about how the end user will view the information; the creator can see their content in real-time in multiple device renditions.”

There’s nothing easy about creating a beneficial customer experience. It takes devotion, hard work and, yep, technology, to make it happen. This White Paper is devoted to the proposition that creating a customer experience that turns your customers into friends is the basic requirement for a successful business. 

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