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There's a new C-suite role out there: customer experience officer, or CXO. This individual oversees integration of the customer view across the enterprise, works to unify customer communication across channels, integrates CRM with other in-house systems, cultivates social media interaction and gathers ongoing analytics for refining customer-centric processes.
This isn't just a matter of covering many bases. CX is, at its heart, a cultural shift. It requires not just an overhaul in processes and a series of integrations, but it also calls for a reshuffling of priorities and a realignment of upper management vision with boots-on-the-ground innovation.
Who can make this happen?
Apart from the CXO -- who needs to be not just a strong leader, but also a technologically competent veteran of customer relations -- there are several key roles to be filled on the customer experience team.
1. CX manager
CX requires top-down executive leadership, but it's even more important to see to the day-to-day details. The CX manager is a juggler, keeping a number of balls in the air at once: ongoing customer analytics review, ongoing marketing campaigns, social media monitoring, perpetual upgrades to the online enterprise presence and mobile touch. And this isn't simply management of schedules and agendas; the CX manager is expected to provide the CXO with vision support, tactical recommendations and implementation initiatives.
2. Applications manager
In a multichannel marketplace, a unified customer vision means well-synchronized applications, including mobile apps, CRM field support, online landing pages and data collection. These applications must be designed and developed within a common frame to optimize customer contact and ensure a consistent, responsive and satisfying experience. Such a person must be a business process management guru to keep these on track.
Well-crafted CX derives from data more than any other source. Survey input, apps, social media monitoring and online pages all generate copious amounts of data that capture customer profile and behavior data, and it all needs to be crunched, both for new insights and maintenance of existing models. In CX, this means more than just crunching numbers; it includes a strong understanding of business requirements, with strong talents in visualization and storytelling.
4. Marketing/sales liaison
CX started within CRM, which, in turn, began within sales and marketing. These are essential voices in crafting a CX strategy because marketing campaigns and the sales lifecycle are where most customer contact occurs.
5. IT liaison
With the multichannel nature of CRM, social media interaction and customer online behaviors, it's no surprise that IT puts in many hours implementing CX initiatives. Clear coordination of messaging and continuity of delivery is so important that CX technology strategy can -- and often does -- become an important priority in overall IT planning for the enterprise. Having a process-savvy, technologically competent coordinator to keep CX and IT in sync should be a priority.
6. Customer support manager
CX is not only an essential component of CX thinking and strategy; it may well be the most important of all, in terms of cultivating customer loyalty. With CX now as the most important discriminator between enterprise competitors in the marketplace, customer retention is key, and a strong support experience is often a deciding factor. The customer support manager is typically head of another area rather than a dedicated customer experience team member but should nonetheless be included and listened to.
CX isn't simply an executive-level expertise; it's a team sport. Good CX requires a team -- and a strong team at that.
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