A funny thing happened on the way to present CX Research findings!

During the 1st quarter of 2018, Phoenix Marketing International and Direct Choice collaborated to conduct a consumer research study to better understand which major US brands were delivering the best and the worst Customer Experiences (CX) and the leading reasons for consumer sentiment behind each brand’s experience delivery.

Numerous compelling facts came out of our CX research including how the leading competitors in each of 32industries stacked up against each other in the delivery of CX.

Upon meeting with executives and senior managers of some of the top 300 U.S. Brands to discuss the CX research findings, one of our hypotheses was proven to be significantly flawed…

We expected that our CX research findings would be of the most interest to the COO, the CMO and leadership of certain functional areas including “customer-facing” operations (store operations, e-commerce operations, customer loyalty, brand strategy, etc.). Instead, we found that in over 50% of our meetings, neither the CMO nor the senior marketing management attended or had much interest in the CX findings for their brand and their competitors.

A few examples:

A major home improvement retailer — The CX function resided under the COO’s leadership and the functional leaders of store operations and merchandising were the ones most involved and interested in how their brand was performing compared to their major competitors. Marketing had no representation in the review of the CX industry research results whatsoever – not even the folks responsible for customer loyalty, CRM, or brand management.

A major health insurance organization — The CX function was led by a Vice President of Member Experience who reported to the COO. Neither CMO nor any marketing management were involved in reviewing the CX industry research or strategizing around how to gain competitive advantages from improved CX delivery.

A major regional bank — The CX function was managed by a new CX team which had pulled in senior managers from branch management, HR, and IT. The team reported up to the CCO (Chief Customer Officer). Once again, neither the CMO nor any marketing management were involved in reviewing the CX industry research or strategy.

Our takeaways:

Although some of the top 300 brands had CMOs or senior marketing managers involved in CX strategy and in leveraging CX data as a springboard for marketing and CRM communications, we were surprised that over 75% of companies with whom we’ve discussed this research had little to no involvement from Marketing.

How can Marketing Executives directly strengthen their brand’s CX performance?

One strategy is that all CX feedback deserve a response from the company. Customers who have made the effort to tell you that your organization is terrific or horrible deserve communications back that says, “Thank you, we listened, and we love you.”

– For positive CX responders, communicate and provide an additional surprise and delight to fully knock their socks off. After that, engage them further to transform them into official brand advocates.

–  For negative CX responders, fall on your sword, apologize, and ask them to try you again with some “comeback sauce” sprinkled on top. That term was coined by Mary Lucas, who we recently had the pleasure of seeing as the Keynote Speaker at a recent conference. In addition to being a captivating speaker, her book “Lunchmeat and Life Lessons” discusses the power of “comeback sauce” which every great CMO should leverage to strengthen their CX performance. We highly recommend her book and her advice.

If you’d like to discuss how your marketing team can directly improve your brand’s CX performance, please send me an e-mail at smorrison@directchoiceinc.com or call me at (610) 995-8208.

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