Marketers' Breakfast: Customer Experience

3rd July 2017
Wednesday 28th June
The Anthologist, 58 Gresham Street, London

We were delighted to welcome marketing leaders from industry and academia to our June edition of the Amigo breakfast series. This month’s topic was “customer experience,” something that is becoming less clear and more complex as it grows in importance.

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Frederic kicked things off by asking our guests for some examples of good CX.

“AO have done a fantastic job of creating a joined-up customer experience,” Claire Faltyn, Head of CX, Dixons Carphone  Click to Tweet!
“Argos have set the bar in terms of the multi-channel customer journey,” Kamal Bal, Director of Digital Customer Experience, Avon Click to Tweet!
“Ticketmaster have created an incredible offline experience that complements the online experience,” Phil Ley, Founder, Branded Click to Tweet!
“Netflix have built their product around customer insights; the experience of restarting a movie where you left off, on any device, makes all the difference,” James Donovan, Account Director, Edelman
Click to Tweet!
“Ocado’s investment in great people makes their food delivery experience a delight.” Gabrielle Hase, CEO, CatDogFish Click to Tweet!
“Slack have managed to create unforgettable customer experiences and have a wonderful tone of voice which makes you want to be associated with the brand,” Abbey Mills, Client Services Director, Born Social
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Ice broken, we launched into a lively and wide-ranging discussion of customer experience. Below we’ve identified some recurring themes of the conversation and picked out some highlights.

How can marketers know how to improve customer experience?

Customer data obviously came up a lot in our discussion, for example:

  • Which data do marketers require to know how and where to improve CX?
  • How should they use the customer data they already have?
  • And how can we be more precise about metrics and give context to data?
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Claire raised the problem of legacy IT standing in the way of great CX because siloed data prevented marketers from knowing where and how to improve.

Google’s Stewart Stanbury pitched in with some insights about page speed and Gabrielle raised some issues with page load testing. For example, as a marketer, does the data in your dashboard show you what your customers are actually seeing, or when everything on a page has loaded? Customers viewing a webpage will be concerned with how long it takes for copy & images to load on your site, not how long it takes for analytical tags in the background to load.

Kamal Bal echoed that he had faced similar issues with some of the ecommerce retailers he has worked with during his career. He suggested building an in-house tag which allows you to recognise when copy & images have loaded on a page, to provide true insight into what your customers are experiencing. Crucially, this focussed the discussion on the need for marketers to see brands from their customers’ perspectives.

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To illustrate the importance of giving the proper context to data, James told us how he had recently clicked a popup five times while trying to close it, growing increasingly annoyed with the brand in question and being aware that somewhere a marketing manager was probably imagining they were getting great CTR (click through rate).

How can marketers see CX from the customer’s perspective?

“Online commerce is a challenge as you have to cater for two audiences: one wants to discover products and as a marketer you have to generate demand; and the other knows what they want and you have to fulfil demand.” – Gabrielle Hase, CEO, CatDogFish

Phil regaled us with the story of Sega’s “child board,” where they closed the information gap between their board and their customers through a panel of Sega-playing kids, and Stewart had a similar story of working with a major video game company and putting 3 customers (with a combined social media reach of >1 million) in front of the board to achieve much the same effect.

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In tech terms, Kamal mentioned IBM’S Tealeaf, which gives marketers the ability to spot some CX issues automatically and Abbey made a strong argument about the need for brands to respond to what customers are actually telling them via social listening

Tim reminded us that marketers need to use their own experience as customers too, telling us how he had identified an improvement Wahaca could make to their own CX involving their mobile site’s ability to tell you where your closest restaurant is using location data rather than asking for a postcode.

Kate Nightingale of Style Psychology also enlightened us with ways marketers might optimise CX with behavioural science, such as studies showing the optimal number of choices for decision-making or concepts like Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs.’

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Therefore, if marketers want to produce great CX by seeing from the customer’s perspective, they must:

  • Optimise their use of data
  • Actively seek feedback from customers and transmit it to a senior level of the company
  • Use their own experiences
  • Apply some science

However, if marketers want to deliver on their ideas for CX improvements, they’ll need to convince their bosses. This requires seeing CX not just from the customer’s perspective but also from the CEO’s.

How can marketers get buy-in for their CX projects?

Seeing as CX can be vague, it can be difficult to secure investment for projects. As Kamal noted, “customer experience is the easiest thing to kick out of the window in the spirit of hitting short term profits.”

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Claire advised focussing on the quick wins to get initial internal buy-in and then using those successes to demonstrate the need for a bigger endeavour. For example, she recalled that using NPS data in conjunction with churn rates had initially convinced the CEO of the importance of exploring CX improvement projects more widely. 

Kamal agreed that it was by offering low-risk projects that could scale that would enable marketers to succeed in getting internal buy-in and he also recommended that marketers estimate losses caused by bad CX, such as checkout issues in ecommerce.

Kate’s interventions also suggested that marketers should use behavioural science if they want a stronger evidential basis for selling CX projects internally.

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We learned a lot from such a lively, candid discussion with experts from a range of marketing perspectives, not least that, as Phil put it, marketers need to remember that they are ultimately in the customer service business.

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The Amigo Breakfast Series continues in July with a critical discussion of disruption, and whether enterprise marketers really need to “think like a start-up”.

In the meantime, you can sate your appetite by reading more about past breakfasts.

Further reading

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