JP Saunders, Senior Director, Strategy, Oracle, discussed what it means to a build a modern, successful customer experience (CX) strategy in his presentation to Argyle's CX membership at the 2016 Chief Experience Forum in Denver on Oct. 20. In his presentation, "The Oracle Roadmap to Modern Customer Experience," Saunders outlined the connection between CX and customer service.
According to Saunders, CX is no longer a marketing initiative only. Instead, many departments can work together within a business to drive positive CX, and the benefits can be substantial for both a company and its customers.
"In customer experience, it's all about you guys growing your business," Saunders said. "Customer experience went through an evolution where it stopped focusing so much on the buying cycle being owned by marketing and started to be embraced by the owning cycle."
Saunders also pointed out CX involves an emphasis on "sustainable growth" – something that has become exceedingly important for companies of all sizes.
By finding ways to maintain growth over an extended period of time, a company is better equipped to handle future business challenges.
Furthermore, a company that targets sustainable growth as part of its CX efforts may be able to differentiate from its rivals, lowers its acquisition costs and ensure its customers are fully supported at all times.
"Customer experience is about sustainable business growth. [It's not just about] business growth for the next year and then we lose that growth, because it's so hard to differentiate and win," Saunders noted. "What we're actually trying to do is reduce our acquisition costs and have an ongoing sustainable growth model for our businesses."
Recent studies have shown that many businesses' CX efforts are unsuccessful for a number of reasons.
"From a customer outside-in perspective, the number of engagements that customers are having with your brand is disproportionately placed on the owning cycle versus the buying cycle."
For instance, 90 percent of the funds for CX often go toward marketing or sales efforts, Saunders said. But this "legacy behavior" may cause long-term damage to a company, especially if the business fails to dedicate the time and resources to understand its customers and provide them with positive experiences.
"Businesses, just like people, cling to legacy behavior," Saunders said. "In historical customer experience, it came from marketing, and we focused just on the marketing. We focused on the buying cycle and not enough on the owning cycle. We've got to evolve, not revolve, and that requires change."
Ultimately, how a business allocates its resources may dictate its short- and long-term CX successes.
Having the ability to take a customer service-centric approach to CX improvements may make a world of difference for companies. In fact, these businesses could enjoy positive customer interactions if they allocate the majority of their budgets to fostering engagements with customers, Saunders said.
"From a customer outside-in perspective, the number of engagements that customers are having with your brand is disproportionately placed on the owning cycle versus the buying cycle," he pointed out. "Yet, you follow the customer experience funds, and we find the [majority] of the budget is going toward 25 percent of the interaction."
In many instances, about 75 percent of a business' customer interactions are funded with only 10 percent of a company's CX budget. This imbalance can create challenges for companies of all sizes, particularly for those who want to develop and foster long-lasting partnerships with customers.
"We cut your customer service budget to fund out new marketing campaign around how much we love our customers," Saunders said. "We love them so much that we've taken away from the experience – 75 percent of their interactions – to fund 25 percent of their interactions. It's wonky."
How companies approached CX challenges in the past differs from how businesses need to evaluate such issues today.
"In historical customer experience, it came from marketing, and we focused just on the marketing. We focused on the buying cycle and not enough on the owning cycle. We've got to evolve, not revolve, and that requires change."
Saunders stated a positive CX involves delivering on a brand promise, one that revolves around the idea that a company will do everything possible to understand a customer and provide him or her with consistent support.
Failure to take the initiative, learn about a customer and work toward building a relationship with him or her could be problematic for a business that ignores the link between customer service and CX.
"It's the delivery of the promise," Saunders said. "You can't solve our problems with the same thinking we use to create them."
Going forward, companies may consider many strategies as part of their efforts to boost their CX levels.
With a customer service-oriented approach, businesses may be able to identify the root cause of CX failures and resolve such issues quickly. Plus, companies could find ways to enhance their CX efforts day after day if they allocate the necessary time and resources to understand their customers and fulfill their requests.
In his current capacity, JP drives the go-to-market initiatives for the Oracle CX for Service Cloud offering. As recognized thought leader, innovator and strategist, JP has over 15 years experience in SaaS, Customer Service, Customer Experience and CRM application development. JP joined Oracle through the RightNow acquisition where he lead the Global Product Marketing team. Prior to that JP lead Product Management for a Social CRM startup that was part of the Oracle Inner Circle partner program for Oracle CRM Ondemand.