This week, I had the pleasure of going up with a team of CapTechers to Forrester's Customer Experience Forum in New York City. In addition to being in one of my favorite cities in the world, there were a lot of great talks and take-aways. Here are five noteworthy ones:
Marketing makes the promise that Customer Experience delivers on
Several speakers talked about the relationship between Marketing and Customer Experience. The basic take-away was that, its one thing for Marketing to set consumer expectation, its another thing to deliver on that those expectations. In this way, Marketing and Customer Experience are inextricably linked. You shouldn't think about one without the other.
What is the point of driving customers to a channel with a sub-optimal experience?
This goes along with the previous point but in a very practical sense. Can most enterprises say that they put as much money and effort into optimizing the experience on a particular channel (ex. web, mobile, or social) as they do driving people to those channels? Having a presence on these channels is not enough anymore. If we drive a customer to a sub-optimal experience, isn't that marketing effort counterproductive for the brand?
Experience shouldn't be captive to just one device
An overarching theme of the conference was the importance of mapping out the customer's experience with your company as they interact with you across different channels. Again, its not enough to have a presence on multiple channels, or even optimizing each of those experiences - you also have to pay attention to how those channels relate to one another. Most companies would be surprised to know how many channels a customer will leverage in a short duration of time. From laptop, to mobile, to telephone, to the in-store experience, customers are leveraging multiple channels with the expectation of a seamless experience.
People will trade privacy for convenience
In addition to a seamless multi-channel experience, design and functionality should also be anticipatory. Going forward, experience design should anticipate need based on what we know about the user. This will require knowing certain things about the user but several speakers pointed out the information we already knowingly volunteer in return for what we perceive as convenience and value. I'm not arguing this point either way but its an interesting and relevant insight.
Imitation is not innovation
Kerry Bodine gave a great talk on the second day of the conversation on what innovation is and isn't. She made a simple but revealing point that imitation is not innovation. Seeing what your competition is doing and copying that may be a business strategy but it's not innovation. Worse yet, imitation can hinder innovation because it tethers your thinking to old assumptions.
All of these insights and more factor into the brave new world we find ourselves in when we talk about digital strategy and customer experience. Technology affords us every capability to design experiences that surprise and delight the customer. Customer Experience is fast becoming not just A business strategy but THE business strategy for many companies moving forward.