Appoint a CCXO and get your CMO to report to her!

Marketing and branding are so '80s! It is now the time of CX!

I just saw a very thought-provoking ad which bore the headline, "Mobile is eating the world" with the sub-heading alluding to a mobile-first, mobile-ONLY customer experience (CX). It stopped me dead in my tracks and made me think - can Singapore, with its notoriously poor customer service levels, even think of a mobile CX plan, when it is clueless with in-person CX? Where do we start if we wanted a mobile CX revolution? And can we actually leap-frog in-person CX apathy and capture mobile CX leadership? That starting my brain whirring again...

Experience, not Service

I suppose Singapore retailers are still stuck in the past and focused on customer SERVICE, rather than EXPERIENCE. I know, the two go hand in hand; offer great service, and the customer will have a great experience. But that is very short-sighted. Customer experience encapsulates the whole journey from before they step into the store - physical or online - till long after they have left. This means that your client attraction model must be very clear, and you must build in your customer experience long before they even talk to you. Some people call this branding, but that is also a rather archaic word, and maybe even, concept. Sure, it is your brand that goes before you, and the brand experience that you build into it carries with it the customer experience. But, it is rather myopic if you viewed CX as a branding exercise. After all, branding is all about the seller - this is how I look like, this is how I speak to you, this is how I build my relationship with you - me! me! me! As the name implies, CX is all about the customer; and the customer does not want to hear about you, they want you to hear about them!

Take them on THEIR journey

Customer experience, therefore, requires that you know them intimately, and then give them what they want. This is where mobile-first CX comes in. Learn to understand them, give them opportunities to tell you what they want, let them dictate what experiences they seek, and then you give it to them - and more. This is why there are clothing websites that don't do much more than allow you to experience their designs in different colour, different cutting, and different material, superimposing those onto your picture. By allowing them to see, maybe even hear, (but not necessarily touch and taste at this point in time) how they look in these designs, customers get a chance to interact with the goods long before they actually buy them. The more they are "hooked" onto these, the better the chance of getting their customership. There are also many online services that allow you to test-drive their products for free for a limited period of time before you decide to purchase it. These are all meant, not just for you to test their wares, but for them to track what you do with them, and then give them more information to up their service to you. In effect, they are giving you information to help them on their journey.

Keep the journey on-going

We cannot view a customer as a simple transaction. If they bother to give you customership, then you should bother to keep serving them. You can do that by keeping in constant touch, offering them free and discounted services that say that you are thinking about them - there are so many ways to skin the cat, right? - and all these add to the experience. It actually means that their journey with you has not ended. You are, in fact, adding experience after experience, as you keep in constant touch. No, they don't have to buy at every touch point, but they must feel that they have been thought of. And by asking for their inputs along the way, and by tweaking your offer the next time, they will feel like they were listened to, and they will come back to you again.

Proper system

You will now realise that CX cannot be anything BUT mobile. After all, your touch points with your customers will start long before they get on board. It cannot simply be online, because if it was only an online experience, with its online solutions, you will miss more than half of your customers. According to SmartInsights.com, 51% of adults use mobile solutions versus only 42% who use desktop. Hence, you MUST have a mobile solution, one which adapts between platforms, so that you capture all 93% of adults. But having a mobile solution is not enough. There needs to be a thorough overhaul of your marketing solutions. So marketing needs to be "rebranded", so to speak, so that they now report to the Chief CX Officer, instead of the other way around. Because the whole system of client attraction, client engagement, client acquisition, and client retention fall under the larger umbrella of customer experience, your Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) must support your Chief Customer Experience Office (CCXO) to achieve a mobile-first, and perhaps, mobile-only, CX. If your company has it the other way around, or, worse still, don't even have a CCXO, then maybe it is time to re-examine your priorities and your systems?

Marketing and branding are so 1980s! It is now the time of Customer Experience! And after you have appointed your CCXO, ask her to come up with a proper mobile CX plan!

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