The Next Evolution in Customer Experience (CX)
by Betsy Burton
I recently spoke with a large manufacturing organization that was working on a technology-enabled strategy to manage its customer experiences across their organization. The company had multiple different lines of business that were loosely related, such that larger business customers would likely be buying components or solutions across business lines. Their goal was to create a common sales and transaction experience across business lines.
Given that today their customers were having very different experiences, this was a significant step in the right direction. However, is not enough in today’s business environment for your most important customers.
In this blog, we explore the next evolution in customer engagement: context-driven customer engagement (CE).
What About All the Times They Aren’t Experiencing Your Business?
Customer engagement is focused on understanding and managing all the touch-points with the customer including sales transactions, advertising, marketing, service, on-line, in-store, reputation, etc. For most large organizations, this means your customers might be experiencing your business a few times a year.
Managing your customers’ experience when they are touching you or you are reaching out to them is clearly important. But the center of CX is your business, which leads to inside-out thinking rather than outside-in thinking.
It is not about your business—it’s about their business. If you are managing your customer experience with your organization you are only getting a limited understanding of their needs.
Don’t Just Manage Customer’s Experiences, Manage to Their Context
Context-driven customer engagement (CE) is a significant step beyond CX. It leverages AI to understand the customer’s context first and foremost and uses modeling and pattern matching of massive amounts of internal and external information to find connections (opportunities and threats) that the customer might not have even previously considered.
We specifically highlight CE because it is critical for organizations to recognize the change in perspectives (from inside-out to outside-in) and the additional need for investments in technology, information, business processes, and people to mature through this evolution.
If you just think about customer engagement, you risk missing the opportunity to think differently about your business and waste investments due to lack of vision.
Not For Every Engagement
Context-driven customer engagement is not for every business, and not for every customer. There are plenty of customers who don’t want to share their information with your business, and even if you have their information, don’t want to use it to engage with them.
But, there are also customers who will increasingly expect you to understand their personal and business context (demographic profile, location, interests, bias, responsiveness) as well as their community context (physical and virtual communities, partners, related communities and their interests, economic driver and trend influencers, etc.). These customers may include high-end investors, high value/revenue customers (such as premium travelers) and preferred partners, such as OEMs and VARs.
Think about customer engagement as an evolution of maturity in getting to know your customers more deeply; from customer relationship management (CRM) to customer experience management (CX) to context-driven engagement (CE). And that each of these levels requires additional business and technology investments.
But also recognize that most organizations will need to support all three levels of maturity concurrently for different types of customers. Your customer profile and preferences must drive the type of engagement you employ, not your internal limitations.