How To Rebuild Your Customer Experience One Step At A Time

The foundation of the new customer experience management is better data about each customer, not just about segments of customers. The key to effective CX implementation is not to get caught up in paralysis by data analysis. Rather than holding out for a finalised “360-degree view of the customer” companies can build on the foundation of social data to better the customer experience. This is done by a step-by-step process of digital alignment.

What is the value of social media?

Up until now in most organisations the measures of  social media value have been metrics such as reach and engagement and for example the notion of brand awareness. That has been social media’s “value”.

In our experience few organisations have stitched together customer profiles across web commerce, social, goal-completion and marketing, let alone social care. There is no technical impediment to doing this, with the right choice of platforms e.g. SAP plus Sprinklr. The impediment has been more a restricted vision of social resulting in siloed settings whose purpose was defined by the narrow metrics which are mostly the domain of the marketing function. Sometimes the domain of the support teams – but those independently of marketing.

“Traditionally” the marketing department has been the “custodian” of the customer experience. That remit is no longer sustainable for a number of reasons, two key ones being:

  1. Trends: Customer expectations aren’t oriented towards the marketing department, they are oriented towards sales and service, and towards those being as closely aligned physically and digitally as possible.
  2. Data: What marketing knows about a customer is not only limited compared to what the whole organisation knows, but is also often siloed and unavailable at the “moments of truth”.

The value of social media is in complementing available data to bring about actionable insights to improve the customer experience.

Social care is the new marketing – social share is the new commerce

I’ve directly experienced the disjoint customer experience brought about by the current state, in a very simple interaction.

Here is the story:

I retweeted a tweet from the ANZ Bank, to which I received a “thanks for the retweet, we’d love to have you as a customer”. My reply? “Thanks for the invitation. I’ve been a customer for more than 20 years”.

Instead of feeling engaged by the bank’s response I felt undervalued as a long-standing customer. I also “felt” the weight and cost of the bureaucracy which kept the left hand from knowing what the right hand was doing. Their TV ads – “marketing” – represented a mockery of the reality. The social care certainly became the marketing – and failed through no fault of their own.

What would my social share be? In fact I didn’t share on this occasion but if I had of it would not have been a recommendation to buy. The “commerce” of my share could have been to buy elsewhere.

That’s today’s reality of why “social care is the new marketing and social share is the new commerce”.

Support outweighs sales in determining CLV

All companies want to build engaging trusted long-term relationships with their customers – driven by the bottom-line desire to increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

This being the case then it also stands to reason that provided the buying experience is fit-for-purpose and delivers on expectations that the key to retention and satisfaction is in all the support and service interactions. It’s just another reason that social care is the new marketing.

The number of the support interactions will generally far outweigh the purchase interactions.

Think about your telephone company – typically one purchase each 2 years, followed by many horrendous support experiences repeating yourself over and over again and answering Net Promoter Score questions over and over again, and being left with a half solved problem. The support nightmare relentlessly chipping away brand equity and CLV.

That’s why social care is not just rapidly becoming the new marketing, but also the new brand equity.

How do you rebuild your Customer Experience – how do you get there?

Getting from silos and disparate data is no easy task. It’s often a key focus of “digital transformation”. In simple terms this means rebuilding the culture and infrastructure to be capable of delivering data-driven consequential moments of truth for customers.

Many companies have taken the big bang approach, with unsurprising results. The unsurprising results include paralysis by analysis, massive system implementations which make things worse for quite a while, and generally integrated social data and engagement being bolted on as the last element of the “transformation” years down the track.

Instead of boiling the ocean to achieve the utopian 360 degree view of the customer start in simpler steps! If you are company born data-driven then fine you can relatively easily stitch in social data. Otherwise an incremental process will deliver short term gains – while perhaps “suboptimal” which will nevertheless bring about the knowledge, understanding and internal support to keep moving.

The FOUR INCREMENTS FOR SUCCESS in getting started to build out your CX are:

  1. Ask “what is the key question we want answered” about a specific customer segment – a specific audience you choose as the starting point with specific business outcomes;
  2. Determine in what part of the customer journey you are most likely to have the best initial information to answer that question, for now;
  3. Start with that department, be it marketing, support or commerce, and unify the touch points related to the customer journey which are specifically related to being able to answer the question; then,
  4. Stitch together other customer data needed to answer the question by integrating the relevant systems of record e.g. the enterprise social media management platform.  This depends on having the right enterprise technology suite so that ultimately this step-by step approach can be repeated across the organisation. Even the incremental approach cannot be built on systems of record which are a house of cards.

This approach is not so much building an “omnichannel” experience as a digital alignment throughout the organisation and with the customer. The alignment is the platform for the customer experience.

The incremental approach gradually extends the digital alignment of data, culture, customers and systems.


The world has now changed, and the enterprise purpose of social is now all about improving the customer experience through digital alignment. This is perfectly possible with existing platforms, the biggest challenge is in unifying the organisation around the vision of digital alignment and a seamless customer experience.

PS Three tips for thinking about “what is the key question we want answered”

  1. Clarify the question – use The Six Why’s;
  2. Be very specific about what actions you would take if you knew the answer to the question and the value – perhaps it is just a nice-to-have so find a better question to answer; and,
  3. Be clinically clear about the ability of the organisation to act upon the answer if you succeeded in being able to answer the question. Is the organisation really in a state to be able to act, or would the action be stifled by the current state? If so, find another question.

Resources: PDF from Altimeter Group The Customer Experience Cloud download

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—– Walter Adamson

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