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Everyone is an Experience Champion

By Patricia (Tricia) Houston, COO & Founder of The ExperienceBuilt Group

Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) have long been the torchbearers of building brands, but their jobs face extinction.

They’re being replaced by roles held more accountable for translating brand equity into revenue and margin growth.

These new roles — such as Chief Experience Officer (CXO), Chief Customer Officer (CCO), Chief Brand Officer (CBO), and Chief Growth Officer (CGO) — are emerging as critical c-suite members. But, more than just the buzzwords-of-the-moment (and a confusing mix of alphabet soup), they signal a new experience paradigm.

This shift is taking the traditional concept of brand marketing to a whole new level — one that relies on personalized, humanized brand experiences as revenue drivers. And the stakes are high for companies that do not adapt. Experience can define an organization, and a poor one can readily spell disaster.

According to data from Vision Critical, more than half (51 percent) of customers say they have switched companies as a result of a poor experience, and 81 percent say the company would have stopped them from leaving. Unhappy customers cost businesses $537 billion a year, according to some estimates.

But rather than ponder the problem, organizations should jump into action.

The Experience Economy 2.0

In the new paradigm, “experience” means everything. The experience economy, first detailed by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore more than 20 years ago, now commands champions at organizations’ highest levels to identify, anticipate, and respond to consumer demands.

The Experience Economy 2.0 has become table stakes, and organizations not collaborating from within to embrace it fall behind. To win, every level of an organization — not just the c-suite — must deliver on the promise of an exceptional emotional connection with each customer interaction.

There are six organizational and operational truths when it comes to CX:

  • People drive connections. When fully embraced, CX is owned by an entire organization. Customer-centric strategies must be activated by all employees.

  • No one owns the customer experience, but someone always owns the moment. What are you doing to make sure every moment matters in your customer’s end-to-end experience?

  • The customer is at the center. All organizational functions, capabilities, incentives, and brand efforts must be aligned around the customer to deliver exceptional experiences.

  • Customer service is now customer engagement, and it is a precursor to raving fandom, the ultimate goal of so many organizations.

  • Customers will always go where they feel valued and appreciated. Without the systems and processes to deliver personalized interactions across all channels, including the feedback loop, then they may go elsewhere.

  • A solid experience strategy is a must-have. The payoff for brands is an exceptional customer experience that comes from a well planned and executed experience strategy.

Next Steps

Brands typically don’t move down the experience path successfully without full buy-in from the organization. You can have the best widget with the best technology behind it, but if the experience of obtaining it, the experience using it, or the messaging you hear about it is not relevant to you; then the product or service is not going to make money for the organization.

Everything has to work in harmony, and it needs to create a positive experience for the customer for revenue to drop to the bottom line.

How can we take this movement forward?

First, let’s challenge the term “Chief Experience Officer.” This role, frankly, is much more “Chief Collaboration Officer.”

In many cases, these roles are driving organizational change. CX influencers aren’t limited to the sales, marketing, or brand teams. Operations and IT often play the most significant roles since they are the frontline connections to consumers.

Second, simplify and humanize the feedback loop. Organizations less experienced with growing CX often think of it as complicated.

We disagree! Frankly, it comes down to talking to people and understanding their emotional responses.

Apply the best practices of marketing research and experiential principles, and you can operationalize the results to improve the overall experience and capture a more significant wallet share.


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