Don’t let technology undermine customer experience
The concept of customer experience is on everyone’s lips these days, being renewed and redefined constantly. Much is driven by marketing’s newfound love of data & technology - but where does it leave the brand? Now, more than ever, it is vital to keep your eye on the ball and put your brand first.
- By: mikkel Bach-Andersen
- Published: 15-08-2016
Customer experience is inarguably a current hot topic in business, and the most recent darling among marketers. Yet the concept of customer experience takes many shapes and forms depending on the eye of the beholder. Everything from small scale initiatives, such as marketing-automation, social media interaction, and personalisation on websites, to larger, more strategic initiatives, such as service design, are called out as “customer experience”. Yet the practical application of the concept often stands unanswered.
Welcome to the tech-utopia for marketers
Much of the perplexity surrounding customer experience can be explained by the radical and speedy transformation of the technological landscape and hence the flocking of technologists to the marketing space. Their “customer experience pitch” has typically tackled how the customer-company relationship could be digitalised, personalised, automated, scaled, and streamlined. The tech-utopia for marketers.
However, speaking in ones and zeros, these technologists often team up with specialist departments within the organisation, such as digital marketing, CRM or even back office divisions such as the IT department. Consequently, the customer experience initiative becomes isolated to a single division that generally only deals with a few consumer touch-points. What’s worse, this practice often creates misalignment between the digital platforms and the interactions with the customers that are happening in the physical world.
So, while the benefits of much new technological evolution are real; Our experience is that many customer experience initiatives take an ill-advised starting point.
Empty bits and bites
Maslow wisely stated, “If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail”. Accordingly, you can’t really blame technologists for their “technology-first” approach in terms of achieving a more streamlined customer experience initiative - the problem is that this approach often comes with the cost of turning the experience bland and generic at best, and fragmented at worst.
As the area of customer experience continues to mature, we’re beginning to observe competing brands often basing their initiatives on similar data, insights, and advice. They map the same customer journey, use similar tools and operate on the same platforms. This tendency turns customer experience into a paradoxical game of catch, where the uniqueness that used to drive and define individual companies gets lost in the quest to react instead of lead.
The paradox lies in that many...
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Mikkel Bach Andersen
Mikkel is Group Account Director at Kunde & Co. For more than 5 years he has helped primarily international companies use marketing and branding as business drivers.