Why are multiple sources predicting marketers will be taking the lead in end-to-end customer experience over the next decade? To evaluate, let’s examine the common issues organizations face with customer experience, internally (interdepartmental issues) as well as externally (client relations issues), and what the pros have to say about them.
This is an excerpt from a Harvard Business Review article, “The Truth About Customer Experience,” written in 2013:
The problem [of the entire customer onboarding process] is far more common than most organizations care to admit, and it can be difficult to spot. At the heart of the challenge is the siloed nature of service delivery and the insular cultures that flourish inside the functional groups that design and deliver service. These groups shape how the company interacts with customers.
But even as they work hard to optimize their contributions to the customer experience, they often lose sight of what customers want.
In a lot of ways, this was an early foreshadowing of the slow but steady takeover of customer experience and all that it entails by your friendly neighborhood marketing department.
Why do I say that? And how could this huge, overarching responsibility fall to marketing, of all departments?
Because marketers are the ones with the skillset that matters.
Listen again to the major faults of the departments handling this particular company’s customer onboarding: they operate in siloes, their departments naturally serve as a haven for insular cultures, and they often lose sight of what customers want. Does this resonate as true within your organization?
When we imagine the average designer or service delivery individual we know, and especially their corresponding departments in our own organizations, these complaints make sense. While designers, service and sales individuals can operate as independent islands within huge organizations, the average marketer you know is on a highly communicative team of other marketers that branches up into the C-suite and down into the trenches. Their personalities on an individual level are (generally) disposed to communicating often, and their teams on an organizational level reflect this.
Challenges in creating a seamless and pleasant customer experience are as diverse as the companies that host them (and the bloggers that try to capture them). For the most part, they fall into two categories: understanding people and understanding technology.
Not convinced marketers know what they’re doing with technology? According to Forbes, marketing trends to watch for in 2015 include: the emergence of marketing technologists, a marketing shift from globalization to personalization, as well as a growing focus on internal communications. What was happening in 2013 is starting to take full effect and become mainstream: marketers are becoming as tech-savvy as your IT department.
The technology marketers are responsible for wielding has gotten exponentially more complex in the past five years, and it is pushing marketers to develop a deep understanding of their audience. Not only are marketers the team in your organization that best understand the people you serve, with the help of technology and big data, they are growing this knowledge every day.
What is required to optimize and perfect the customer journey? Pulling from farther along in the Harvard Business Review article, improving the customer journey “requires both top-down, judgement-driven evaluations and bottom-up, data-driven analysis.” Who at your company does these things on a regular basis? If they’re operating as they should be, your marketing department does.