Gartner: the growing role of the social customer experience

Enabling the conditions for the best customer experience and optimizing touchpoints across the customer journey in a prioritized, measured and customer-obsessed way is vital for successful marketing. It’s as simple as that. We are at last shifting to a more customer-centric marketing view.

In the age of the so-called connected and empowered consumer, with increasing demands, providing relevant information and engaging in a mutually valuable way, has become a must. Furthermore, the economic downturn, has woken up many marketers and makes them increasingly focus on optimization and thus the customer since conversion in the end still requires action. The result of doing all this is higher marketing ROI. Let’s hope these insights remain once things go better again. Because one thing is sure: the economy will improve but the consumer will not become less demanding, well on the contrary.

Effective leaders strengthen the customer experience

It’s clear that enabling a better customer experience is becoming increasingly important in organizations. This is not only the case in marketing as the battle around the customer experience starts, the whole organization is involved.

A Gartner report shows that customer experience has entered the top 10 of CIO technology priorities for 2012. Why? Because management wants it, or at least, says it does. CX is entering the board room as a priority indeed.

“The focus on the customer is increasingly important for business leaders, despite times of continued economic uncertainty and government austerity,” Gartner’s Jim Davies says.

He continues: “Effective leaders use technology to strengthen the customer experience regardless of the economic environment, and they see customers as the key factor in helping their business deliver growth and operational efficiency in 2012. They also understand that a new strategy is needed to embrace social and media trends.”

Social CRM as a new way of doing business

Customer experience is about touchpoints and touchpoints increasingly include social media and interactions. And what’s a key focus in 2012? Indeed, social. “Not as ‘just another channel’ but as a whole new way of doing business,” Gartner’s Ed Thompson adds.

The company predicts that by 2014, refusing to communicate with customers via social channels will be as harmful to the relationship as ignoring their emails or phone calls is today.

Listen to the voice of the customer and start focusing more on the customer experience.

A warning though: when looking to improve the customer experience as is done in Customer Experience Management, make sure you don’t fall in the trap of pure CRM vendors, rebranding themselves as CEM solution providers. The customer experience encompasses every business function and every touchpoint. Its is about more than marketing or CRM. It is about people.