As the sudden, unexpected surge in a remote workforce took hold last year, there was concern among executives that it would result in lost productivity. The fear proved to be ungrounded. In a PwC remote work study, 52 percent of employers said that employees have been more productive working remotely. As of January, 83 percent of employers said a shift to remote work has been successful for their company, up from 73 percent since June, 2020.
The lesson learned is that preconceived notions based on little more than an adherence to tradition are not always the most efficient ways of doing things. It is analogous to a long-held belief among various enterprise business units that success metrics must be department- or channel-specific.
But with revenue growth increasingly tied to the ability to deliver a seamless customer experience (CX) across channels, it is high time for the enterprise to dislodge some entrenched beliefs in favor of a customer-centric approach, which recognizes marketing as a key partner and the driving force in orchestrating a differentiated CX. While customer experience indeed transcends marketing, because the customer looks at a relationship with a brand through the prism of an entirety of interactions, marketing must leverage their depth of customer understanding to take the lead as a single point of operational control for CX.
The reason for a customer-centric approach is that it delivers profitable results. According to research from Deloitte, customer-centric brands that imbed customer centricity into their organization’s DNA increase profitability by up to 60 percent. This goes beyond brands being “persona-centric” to truly understand customers at the individual level. From a data perspective, this requires going beyond using transactional, preference and historical data to understand customers to also looking at behavior across devices, analyzing device usage, IoT and sentiment analysis, and analyzing all data – structured, unstructured, first-party, third-party, etc. – across an entire anonymous to known customer journey.
With that as the objective, it is easy to see how conventional business and channel siloes with independent reward systems or metrics fall short of providing a seamless CX. A call center, for example, that awards bonuses based on satisfaction surveys is not incented to further enhance a customer’s journey beyond a single interaction. Furthermore, call center agents may lack the necessary data from other channels that could help further the customer relationship and lifetime value. Likewise, an email or website marketing team judged on click and open rates has no skin in the game for what happens next.
But, just as a reluctance to embrace a remote workforce took a trial by fire for minds to change, so too will it take hard data for various business units to appreciate marketing taking a leading role in crafting a personalized CX to the benefit of not just the customer – but the entire company.
For a Customer-Centric Approach, Use Customer-Centric Metrics
To convince all business functions to change metrics in adopting a customer-centric approach is difficult, but it need not be a leap of faith. Instead, proving it on a segment basis allows for a seamless transition and an eventual full switchover once the efficacy of using customer-centric metrics is proven.
One national retailer moved from management incentives that were aligned with operating margin by channel to revenue by segment, while also controlling costs by setting overall company margin targets. The reason for the change was two-fold. First, the previous operating margin by channel system reinforced channel siloes. Teams were not invested in the success of any other channel, nor in the success of the company as a whole. Second, the system inadvertently created a fractured experience for the customer, who, moving in and out of various channels, was presented with a disparate set of inconsistent interactions. The revenue by segment reward system, by contrast, is a rising tide that lifts all boats; every team is vested in creating a holistic experience for an entire segment audience.
By creating new or different segments, organizations can essentially do a/b testing at scale, comparing the segment approach to existing success metrics. An airline, for example, with standard silver/gold/platinum loyalty tiers that uses channel-based success metrics might decide to peel off a new business traveler segment, and tie rewards on how the segment performs compared against existing metrics. Instead of judging, say, how a direct mail campaign performed in each of the three loyalty tiers, a new segment might be measured against the totality of the customer journey and include every interaction – what the customer did online, a call with a booking agent, the return of a satisfaction survey, etc.
Use a Single Point of Operational Control
Limitless experimentation is possible with the right technology, along with the willingness for different business units to cede to seamless customer experiences oriented by marketing. A customer experience platform that provides marketers a single point of operational control, and with an open garden architecture, allows for the creation of endless segments and 24/7 in-line testing without disrupting operations and without requiring an unwelcome business realignment.
Leading organizations in retail, healthcare, finance, insurance and other industries use the Redpoint rgOne platform to lead digital transformation initiatives that include a crossover to a customer-centric approach. Embedded automated machine learning enables fleets of inline, self-training models to test for any business metric. Segments can be created to test any hypothesis and create personalized experiences that can then be measured on a segment basis across channels.
With an open garden architecture, rgOne connects with an existing architecture. Teams familiar working within the constraints of a single system can continue to work as they always have, with the difference being that rgOne is the single point of operational control. More than a repository for every source of customer data, its real-time decisioning engine intelligently orchestrates a next-best action for an individual customer or segment based on what a machine learning model calculates is optimized to produce the desired result.
We have outlined before that now is the time to set ambitious marketing goals. Customers engage in increasingly unpredictable, omnichannel, digital-first journeys, moving in and out of channels at will. Metrics set up to reward teams based on the performance of a specific channel, or actions taken within a channel, are mis-aligned with today’s modern customer journeys. Unfortunately, the consequences fall on the customer. Moving toward a customer-centric approach by testing new segments and using metrics tied to overall customer experience will secure enterprise buy-in and new partners in recognizing marketing’s leading role in deliver a superior CX that is proven to drive new revenue.