Most CEM practitioners and writers are concentrating their attention on the delivery stages of the customer journey that involve front line employees and processes. In many cases it is a low hanging fruit area, where a high return on relatively low efforts can be found. However, remember that customer experience management is a holistic discipline – every single function of the company affects how customers perceive the entire enterprise. Of course some functions affect customer experience more than others, but they all have an influence.
I described previously one example where a company’s financial department process change negatively impacted customer experience and, as a result, led to decline in revenue and profit growth. In this post I address a marketing function impact on customer experience.
Every purchase decision starts with a conscious or subconscious expectation, and marketing function is in the business of creation of these expectations. When consumer selection, influenced by a company promise of product performance, does not live up to the expectation created by that promise, no amount of delivery or support process improvement will increase the overall customer experience sufficiently.
Consider an example of a woman in California who chose to purchase car A over car B, based on company A’s advertised fuel economy rating. Her actual experience was at least 30% higher fuel consumption over the advertised rate, so she filed a small claim against the company (and won). I want to stress that this example is not about legal implications, but rather about creating expectations that are not likely to be met by customers.
Marketing folks, just like most of us, are very self-centered –
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“Presbyopia is an occupational hazard of the marketer” (@AriNave).
More than any other function of a company, they have to re-focus their thinking to an “outside-in” perspective.
Marketing communications is not a simple art, and it would greatly benefit its practitioners to put more effort in learning how the consumers they target communicate their experiences and expectations. That effort will pay off in messaging that resonates with their target market much more effectively to engage the right prospect with the right product. You can find more details about how to do that here.
It is a strategic imperative that operational metrics, used by a department to measure its performance, are coupled with a proper measurement of customer experience affected by their decisions. Strategic planning is very important, as long as your remember that success comes from executing your plan, not from mapping it out.
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