1. CRM is a core strategy, not just technology

Despite the proliferation of online digital media and transactional self-services now available to the general public, customer-facing businesses simply do not achieve their optimal business potential. Now more than ever, organisations of all shapes and sizes need to think even harder about new or different ways of digitally working in an always-connected, virtual world.

Whilst Customer Relationship Management (CRM) historically is a well-established approach to manage customers, international research has shown that many organisations have stated that they are unable to realise, or measure effectively, their return on CRM investment. The focus should be on cohesive business integration of the full customer experience – a continuous synchronisation along the lines of:
“A strategy to learn about customers personalised needs and aspirations, leading to the proactive management of the holistic customer lifecycle at every single touchpoint. Its goal is to add tangible value by continually driving customer growth, retention and advocacy.”

2. Motivators & Hygiene Factors - Beware Customer Fickleness

Customers can be choosy, changeable and demanding. Being ‘ok’ alone does not develop sustainable customer loyalty. Take a common digital transaction - ordering a product online that is delivered on time. Fine! In this case, all went to plan. However, delivering what is expected of you is not a motivator for customers to become loyal or an advocate. It is purely a transaction that was fulfilled to the minimum requirement - as per the customers' reasonable expectations. As such the transaction merely performs as a hygiene factor.

Conversely, what would be the case of getting one or more elements of getting the customer journey wrong? Ultimately, the cost of poor or indifferent customer experiences leads to customer disaffection, defection and negative market reputation.

Aim for 'Done in One’ - simplified, seamless customer journeys at every single touchpoint throughout the full customer lifecycle. Your goal is to make it effortless for customers to do business with you. When it comes to service performance, ask less of “how did we do?” and repeatedly more of “how can we do better?” Customers expect to be made to feel welcomed, wanted and valued.

3. Harnessing the Power of Intelligence

‘Big Data’ is a term often referred to, but how about moving the rhetoric towards ‘Smart Intelligence’. Unless companies have the right capabilities to interpret data in a way that provides valuable insight, it could remain merely a reactive reporting and measuring tool. Digital transformation should enable data to be analysed in an outcome-focussed, timely, unambiguous, secure and actionable way. Its end game is to inform evidence-based decisions to ever-improve the organisation’s proposition and keep ahead of the game. If companies are serious about migrating from reaction to a continually learning pro-active organisation, data and wider digital transformation should engender a change of mindset for the whole organisation.

It is critical that strategies around customer insight, omnichannel contact management, cloud services, managed services and delivery agencies need to be managed at a senior leadership level. Guardianship, assurance, compliance and governance of the company brand becomes ever more imperative, irrespective of the operational model. A cohesive customer data strategy incorporating a single version of the customer data and the increased risk of cyber-security threats makes the need for an overarching Data Business Unit ever-more essential.

If you really want to stay ahead of the game and be in command of a modern, always-connected world, you need a winning digital customer experience strategy. One that enables you to digitally serve your customers better, leaner, and smarter.