Who owns your customer experience? That’s a big question, and one that continues to stump businesses today. Apparently, there is no consensus on the answer. According to 451 Research, half of businesses believe one department is responsible for the customer experience, while the other half feel it is not a single department’s responsibility.
And of those who feel it’s a single department’s responsibility, they’re not on the same page about which department that is. IT is the most selected answer, followed by customer service, marketing and sales.
A few weeks ago, Evergage hosted The Personalization & CDP Summit, the theme of which was “Connecting in the Age of Machine Learning.” One thing I heard brought up again and again at this year’s event was cross-company collaboration in the customer experience. Speakers often highlighted why collaboration is important, how to loop in appropriate team members and garner buy-in from across the organization, and where to find the data sources from across the organization needed to deliver more personalized experiences.
While businesses today are split on who owns the customer experience, coming out of The Personalization & CDP Summit, it’s clear that forward-looking businesses recognize the customer experience is a shared responsibility — and they’re striving toward better collaboration. I’ll explain more about this in this post.
Shared Ownership of the Customer Experience
The data points I referenced above come from one of the summit’s keynote speakers, Sheryl Kingstone of 451 Research. In her presentation, “Being Data-Driven in the Experience Economy: Predicting the Future of CDPs,” she explained that key customer experience technology investments span the customer journey, including social engagement, mobile applications, intelligent personalization, conversational tools and customer loyalty. In other words, the customer experience touches multiple areas of the company and must be a shared responsibility.
Other speakers throughout the event echoed this sentiment. Many weighed in on how they have worked hard to build cross-functional teams to manage their personalization initiatives and ensure personalization remains a key component of the customer experience. Terry Kincheloe from UMB Financial Corporation says his company calls its team a PMT (personalization management team), which meets every other week to discuss personalization initiatives and keep everyone in the loop.
Emily Lukasik’s team from Abercrombie & Fitch is called a “personalization pod” — which incorporates team members from across different teams in the organization. In A&F’s large corporate campus, this pod sits together to more efficiently collaborate, while each member still works with his or her “business as usual” teams.
Gary Williams from Matalan has a full process for managing personalization, led by the product management team (of which Gary is a part). That team sets the personalization roadmap and strategy, and works directly with other teams such as marketing, traffic and loyalty teams to get their feedback and flesh out that strategy. Together, those teams determine the personalization campaigns they’d like to launch, and pass those ideas to the UX and development teams to build out. Then, they continue to test and optimize across teams.
Luci Geraci from CIEE cautions that to be truly customer-centric, you have to look across the full customer journey. Her team got very excited in the beginning of their personalization journey and started launching campaign after campaign — but they didn’t stop to think about the role each campaign played in the total experience. Now, her team meets on a bi-weekly basis to share learnings and analyze the full customer experience.
Clearly, there’s no single way to organize internally for effective personalization. But collaboration is the constant across each of these stories.
Evergage Enables Cross-Functional Collaboration
At Evergage, we agree that the customer experience is a shared responsibility. As such, personalization can’t be managed by a single person or team, and the technology you use to power your customer experiences should facilitate collaboration. The Evergage Gears Marketplace — the big announcement coming out of the summit — aims to do just that. The marketplace is a library of easily installable components (or “Gears”), including connectors, extensions, templates and more, that enhance the functionality and value of Evergage’s personalization and customer data platform (CDP), while satisfying the requirements of users across departments including IT.
Ultimately, Evergage Gears allow different areas of the organization (IT/developers and business users) to work together efficiently to achieve their shared goals around the customer experience. In the marketplace, businesses can find the starting point to more easily connect Evergage with external data sources, analyze and generate insights from their data, activate audiences and personalize in more channels, and generally extend the power and applications of the Evergage platform. Then, developers can make any modifications to those Gears to make them work for the unique demands of their business.
And, of course, developers can code their own Gears as well.
With the Gears Marketplace, we hope to give businesses the tools they need to make the customer experience a full company responsibility.
To learn more about Evergage Gears, request a demo today.