Connected Customer Experience by Design: Solving the Complex Jigsaw

Companies must begin to consider providing an integrated customer experience; here is a quick overview of the components required to integrate them seamlessly.

In the recent past, there has been a phenomenal shift in consumer behaviour and their expectation of experience during the entire purchase cycle. With increased mobility and the always-connected customer, loyalty to a brand cannot be taken for granted. They can interact with brands in multiple ways through a variety of channels. Companies need to start thinking of providing a connected customer experience.  This requires the seamless integration of strategy, data, analytics, digital and technology. In many ways, this is like a solving a complex jigsaw puzzle where different pieces need to come together seamlessly.

A good way to crack the customer experience puzzle is to think of the customer journey as a series of moments, understand the customer expectations at every moment, and then align people, processes, and technology around that. It is not just about optimizing each individual channel to work in an efficient way. A connected customer experience puts the customer right at the center and maximizes the overall experience in a consistent and unified manner.

Over the recent past, many brands that only had a physical presence have strengthened their digital offerings and have moved to a multi-channel set up. Being multi-channel is an improvement over a single channel due to the options it provides customers, but it can also be a double-edged sword. While every touch point is an opportunity to delight the customer, there are that many more opportunities to drop the ball and hamper the experience.

What are some of the critical success factors to move towards a connected customer experience?

Start from Strategy

  • What is the business objective?
  • Who is the customer?
  • What are the different customer personas and what are their expectations at different stages of the journey?
  • How will customers rate their current experience with the brand?
  • What are the current gaps?
  • What is the expected business outcome?

These are some of the questions that brands need to start with. Senior leadership alignment and complete collaboration between the CXO’s is also required.


Create the right MarTech stack

Data and Technology form the backbone for providing a connected customer experience.  Take the case of a brand wanting to personalize its communication and give a customized recommendation to its customers. This requires multiple building blocks.

  • Customer Data Platform (CDP)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Lead Management System (LMS)
  • Chat BOTS
  • Campaign Management
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Marketing Automation
  • Digital Analytics
  • Social Listening
  • Business Intelligence & Dashboards
  • Data Science and Modelling

Each company needs to come up with its own ecosystem based on their current level of maturity and business strategy.

Each component of the MarTech stack should solve a specific business problem as well as be able to integrate seamlessly with the other components by bringing complementary features. A common mistake is to start with a product purchase because it looks appealing and then trying to figure out how to leverage it. Do not fall for the shiny object syndrome. Always start with the customer strategy and then evaluate the tech stack on how it fits in the strategy.

Create an awesome team of Hedgehogs and Foxes

One of the less talked about aspects in digital transformation is the human element and how to get the people ready. This often ends up being the make or break for transformation projects. An ideal team should have a mix of hedgehogs and foxes. In simple terms, the hedgehog is a specialist, who knows only one area but knows it exceedingly well. On the other hand, the fox is a generalist, with a diverse set of skills, who can stitch the various pieces of the puzzle and create a complete solution. Both these skills are equally important.

Change Management

Change Management includes articulation of the strategy repeatedly, defining and aligning KPI’s across different functions as well as ensuring training to all stakeholders. This requires a persistent approach with empathy and a governance mechanism to monitor progress.

Experiment and Learn

Last but not the least, a culture of testing and continuous experimentation is required. It is important to track the impact of every initiative and understand the factors that have a positive or negative impact.

To summarize, providing a great connected customer experience in many ways is like solving a complex jigsaw puzzle. This requires the seamless integration of strategy, data, analytics, digital and technology.  Always start with the vision and the customer strategy. Invest in the right people, align the leadership team, set the right processes, and leverage technology as much as possible while remembering that it is just an enabler.


Neeraj Pratap Sangani

Neeraj Pratap Sangani, Chief Executive Officer, Hansa Cequity

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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