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Plutarch: Thoughts on People Management

Move Over Marketing; Here Comes Customer Experience

Thursday 8th November 2018

Large B2C corporates with complicated infrastructures were among the first organisations to engage with what it means to be truly customer facing. Those that faced up to this challenge best were often led by outstandingly talented executives, who had progressed their careers through customer-oriented roles – i.e. marketing – to become the best CEOs of their generation.

These businesses embraced ‘digital’ (web, mobile, and email) as a marketing tool, reporting through commercial. Sitting here, this new function was fully integrated with all other forms of marketing communication.

Life and business however have progressed! Seamless customer experience is king, particularly in subscription businesses and retail.

The customer must, after all, be able to move smoothly from digital, to chat, to voice, to physical interaction. This is a requirement that cuts across internal business functions and renders them increasingly artificial: acquisition, retention/cross sell and customer services all have to be on the same page.

The most structurally efficient way to drive customer experience is therefore to see digital as a route to market that encompasses all customer interactions – moving from a way to speak to customers to being a way to speak with them.

The increasing dominance of digital channels in the eyes of consumers, and the corporate understanding that this route to market sits at the heart of the whole business means that increasingly products, propositions, analytics and brand are there to support the digital experience rather than to dictate it.

But some businesses have still not reflected this in their structures. For businesses in financial services, services, travel and retail, it will be those that are set up to allow (cross-channel) customer experience to dictate that will flourish.

And from a talent perspective, it will be those with a more digital background that will increasingly be promoted to the Chief Customer Officer and indeed CEO role.

Plutarch in no way claims to offer comprehensive statistical reports – the absence of numbers reveals that much, and individual confidentially remains his priority. Nonetheless Hunter-Miller's vast network offers compelling anecdotal evidence, and some occasionally interesting insights.

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