Customer experience management is a very hot topic because so much is in flux at the same moment. Before recent times, we managed customers as demographic segments and used focus groups and segmented lists to design and deliver the best message at the best time based on a great deal of pre-planning.
And we were usually wrong and that was OK. Single-digit open rates were acceptable losses and factored into campaign costs and goals.
Segments of one
But what happens when we no longer have to manage groups of people with best-guess messages because cloud computing power, automation, social, and mobile technology make each customer a unique marketing opportunity. We see the beginning of this with offline tracking by Facebook of users for the ostensible reason of friend discovery. That may have value for the consumer, but there’s clear marketing value in knowing where a customer is as part of delivering highly customized and location-relevant messages about online or brick-and-mortar offers.
Gartner calls it the Nexus of Forces and it brings in so many disciplines that it seems to challenge the normal analyst/technology pairings at the big firms like Gartner, Forrester and IDC. What makes the Nexus so interesting is that the crossroads is squarely where the customer is found, not the enterprise. The enterprise’s role in the Nexus is to build out the technology that surrounds the customer so that their experience with a brand or retailer is optimized.
In the old ways, how often was a communication with a brand not a call to buy something? Pretty close to never. In the new way of thinking, customer experience management is about creating trust, communication channels, relevancy and doesn’t always have a dollar (or name your currency) sign attached. The new contract with the customer means providing something more than just a coupon or call to a sale.
With so many leading-edge technologies in play, it should be no surprise that there are other technologies that are cornerstone to making these new patterns work. Integration, analytics, in-memory computing, business process management, and event processing are behind everything involved with social, mobile, data and cloud. They’re not as talked about but they can’t fall off our radar as critical to success.
They power everything else, in fact.
It will be interesting to see who moves in this new direction and who falls behind. Stories of delighting customers will be the best leading indicator of success.