With the explosion of social media and, with it, the ability of consumers to broadcast both good and bad experiences, companies are focusing their marketing concepts much more on customer experience as a key performance indicator. The desire to satisfy consumers has led many companies to focus on specific touchpoints, those moments when a consumer interacts with a brand.
Companies then concentrate on ensuring that at each touchpoint, there is a positive interaction. But this focus on touchpoints actually loses sight of the bigger picture, which is the total customer journey. What’s more, it allows companies to invest their marketing concepts in moments, and the resulting metrics, while never really attending to the true value of investing in the total customer journey.
It may seem surprising that a recent study by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Service found that a bare majority—53 percent—believe that customer experience management provides a competitive advantage and that just 45 percent view customer experience management as an important strategic priority. In this same study, 45 percent found tying customer experience investments to business outcomes very difficult.
Yet, what leading edge companies know is that marketing concepts that maximize customer experience have a marked impact on the long-term bottom line.
According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, consumers don’t necessarily develop dissatisfaction with a company based on one interaction at one touchpoint. Rather, it stems from a cumulative effect from across multiple touchpoints. Hence, the need to manage the end-to-end journey of each customer.
This does not mean that companies should abandon marketing concepts that focus on touchpoints, for touchpoints offer important sources of insight. Instead, what industry leaders must do is embed the end-to-end customer journey in cross-functional business processes. That is, according to Harvard Business Review, “They must identify the journeys in which they need to excel, understand how they are currently performing in each, build cross-functional processes to redesign and support those journeys, and institute cultural change and continuous improvement to sustain the initiatives at scale.”
Only by viewing customer experience as an important strategic goal can companies exceed in these changing times, when customers have a great deal of influence in the social sphere. So while it may be difficult to see the bottom-line value of investing in it, companies that don’t do it risk losing out to companies that do.