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CX 2020: Jeremy Watkin Weighs in on the Changing Landscape of MarTech
“Digital 2.0 is the next phase, where the plain and simple customer experience of old will make space for intuitive, contextual and practical engagement across different customer touchpoints.” -Sonali Datta, MarTech Advisor
Sans crystal ball, how do you determine what trends are going to drive marketing success in 2020? The short answer: look to the experts, look to the market, and look to your competitors.
Jeremy Dreams of CX
In contemporary business, Customer Experience (CX) has emerged as a field of it’s own. Building a successful customer experience is still predicated on tech, finance, and operations, but the idea of ‘CX’ is being recognized as its own, distinctive discipline.
When asked which areas in MarTech hold the most promise for improving customer success, 8x8 Product Marketing Manager and micro influencer, Jeremy Watkins, told me an anecdote about a recent business trip of his.
“I showed up at my hotel at the end of a long day, turned on the television, and right there on my screen was ‘Welcome, Jeremy Watkin.’ That level of personalization seems so simple that you might wonder why it would stand out as an extraordinary experience. The fact of the matter is that very few companies personalize the customer experience at all. CRM isn’t a new thing, but getting the CRM to talk to the television in a hotel room and a variety of other systems that can personalize and even proactively address customer issues, takes customer success to the next level.”
On a technical level, nothing in Jeremy’s experience was that spectacular.This sophisticated degree of personalization, which is currently being utilized by a number of tech forward companies, will soon become an expectation rather than a surprise. The real ‘wow factor’ was that the company cared enough to deliver this degree of personalization. The tech industry is filled with marketing software, with some solutions composed of several parts digital snake oil. Identify the correct solution for your business and committing the resources needed to implement it is where the challenge comes in.
Properly implementing a new software solution requires significant investment from a company, not just monetarily, but in time and effort as well.The foundation for hyper-personalization is a tech solution that provides a singular point to access all necessary information about a consumer. It’s critical that this access is unobstructed by technological and institutional silos. It must be a software that demonstrates powerful integrative and automated capabilities.
What actually is CX?
A big obstacle for the way companies manage CX is all the misinformation circulating about the customer experience. For a lot of companies, CX is just another buzzword. They’re happy to throw it around and relabel everything as CX, without really understanding what it means. Jeremy hopes 2020 will bring greater clarity to the discipline.
The funny thing about CX right now is that we see so much misuse of the term — especially in job titles. Many companies think customer experience can be used interchangeably with customer service, marketing, product, etc. As awareness continues to grow about what CX truly is, you’ll see more and more folks keep their traditional job title and instead become more concerned about how their role contributes to their company’s overall CX. That being said, it’s still not a bad idea to have a true CX role within the organization to champion this effort and get all groups to work well together.
Not Worth the Investment
When it comes to the customer experience discussion, it can be difficult to cut through the clutter. There’s a lot of great discussions focused on powerful new MarTech, customer first business processes, and rapidly evolving ethics in the digital age. There’s also a lot of overhyped trends, cheesy sales pitches, and nonsensical buzzwords being carelessly thrown about. In trying to sort out legitimate discourse from digital snake oil, I asked Jeremy which market trends he thinks are overhyped.
“Chatbots continue to get a ton of hype but I think leaders are beginning to wise up to the overly optimistic sales pitches. Does significantly automating customer service mean significant cost savings for companies? Absolutely. Do customers desire to do business with companies while exerting the minimal amount of effort? Without a doubt. But to think that a one-size-fits-all chatbot is the answer is flawed logic. The risk to any business of providing customers with solutions that aren’t perfectly tailored to their individual needs is too great. Any efforts to automate must be done with extreme care and caution.”
When crafting a marketing automation plan, it’s important that you don’t accidentally isolate the customer. Chatbots are a classic example of how over-automating can depersonalize and ultimately damage your customer experience. Sinking all of your resources into a solution which misses the mark is a huge risk for any small business. Automation should be used to minimize the amount of time spent doing repetitive tasks, freeing up more time to personally interact with your customers. Automation used correctly enhances the customer experience with knowledgeable insights, a personable experience and minimal effort.
A possible pitfall for any MarTech stack is the creation of silos. Unmanaged institutional and technological silos can be detrimental to a company’s success.
isolate (one system, process, department, etc.) from others.
"most companies have expensive IT systems they have developed over the years, but they are siloed"
The need to address silos has led to extensive debates within the marketing community. Jeremy’s unique and insightful view of silos (technological or institutional), takes a lukewarm approach to a potentially disruptive institution. When asked whether he thought silos impeded efficiency, Jeremy commented,
“Yes and no. Take your legal team for example. Given the sheer volume of work they probably handle day in and day out, silos help others in the company not become inundated with mass amounts of irrelevant email, meetings, and other stuff. But imagine that the legal team is rewriting your terms and conditions and, as a CX leader you want to make these easier for customers to digest. If the legal team is heavily siloed it can be nearly impossible to influence this process. In a perfect world, each group in the organization should have a clear understanding and comfort in working cross functionally with other groups on any initiative that impacts the customer experience.”
Jeremy thinks that preventing over-communication is a silver lining to the existence of institutional silos. A company without proper separation between departments would lack the specialization needed to operate efficiently. But technologically speaking, having less silos could also help solve the over-communication issue. Investing in a Complete CRM means you can guarantee that the right people are being delivered the right data, at the right time. Complete CRM allows your entire team access to the same system at the same time, but using varying shared access permissions to only allow each team member access the data appropriate for their respective position.
When I asked Jeremy how he would recommend companies go about deconstructing silos, he told me that,
“Education and empathy are two great places to start. In general, people in groups don’t work together because they don’t know how to or they don’t understand the work the other group does and how it impacts the customer experience. I recommend creating cross functional groups, whether it’s for simple dialog or to work together to complete a project. This exercise allows them to get to know one another and begin to appreciate the unique skills, abilities and perspectives they each bring to the table. Furthermore, this lays the essential groundwork for employees to empathize with those in other silos, building deeper sensitivity to each other’s needs as they attempt to better work together.”
Metrics for 2020
As the customer experience evolves and we begin communicating to our audience through previously unimagined mediums, we need to re-evaluate the metrics used to gauge customer success.
To circle back to my conversation with Jeremy, I had asked which key performance indicators he thought would be most relevant in the near future.
“I wish I had a magic bullet, single metric that spans all organizations and industries, but I don’t. From my roots in the contact center, I think there will always be value to asking customers about their experiences — and this could be through surveys like Customer Satisfaction, Net Promoter Score, and Customer Effort Score. Or take it to the next level and use Speech Analytics to more closely listen to what customers are saying during interactions with sales and customer service. The real magic happens when we use this information to dialog with customers, often closing the loop after a positive or negative experience, to understand what matters most and then translate that into real improvement to the customer experience.”
*For those who don’t know, Net Promoter Score is predicated on responses to a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague? The scoring for this answer is typically on a 0 to 10 scale. Customers who respond with a score of 9 to 10 are ‘Promoters’, and are considered likely to exhibit value-creating behaviors, such as buying more, remaining customers for longer, and making more positive referrals to other potential customers. Those who respond with a score of 0 to 6 are labeled ‘Detractors’, and they are believed to be less likely to exhibit the value-creating behaviors. Responses of 7 and 8 are labeled Passives. NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters. Passives count toward the total number of respondents, thus decreasing the percentage of detractors and promoters and pushing the net score toward 0.
**You’ve probably contributed to a customer effort survey and just didn’t know it.
Ex. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement:
The company made it easy for me to handle my issue.
Special thank you to Jeremy for his amazing insight and for taking the time to conduct this interview. If you’d like to know about CX Pro and influencer Jeremy Watkin (which you should), check out the short bio at the bottom of this page. If you’d like to learn more about CX in 2020 download our full ebook from the link below. It’s filled with actionable insights and a whole lot of commentary from CX pros like Jeremy.
GreenRope is a Complete CRM which utilizes marketing automation and a whole host of sales and operational tools to simplify your business. By minimizing the time and effort you spend on internal processes, GreenRope frees up time for you to focus on what you do best. Our platform’s wide ranging features and powerful integrative capabilities takes away the headache of managing a messy patchwork of marketing solutions.
Jeremy Watkin Bio
Jeremy Watkin is a Product Marketing Manager at 8x8. He has more than 19 years of experience as a customer service professional leading high performing teams in the contact center. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis. Be sure to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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