CX chief: CMOs must have the same tangible CX metrics as CFOs

Customer experience metrics are key to shareholder buy-in, says Medallia's resident expert

CMOs looking to implement a customer experience program need to engage with shareholders with the same amount of tangibility as CFOs if they want to ensure CX as a market share growth driver and competitive advantage.  

This is the view of Medallia's VP of customer experience strategy, Dorian Stone, who is visiting Australia this week.

Medallia recently announced a Digital Partner Program bringing together voice of customer with analytics data in order to help brands and companies better understand digital customer behaviour and drive business growth. Its partner program aims to assist companies integrate Medallia for Digital with their digital technology stack, including Adobe Analytics in Adobe Experience Cloud, and most recently, Google Analytics.

Stone, previously a partner at McKinsey where he co-founded the consultancy group’s customer experience practice, is responsible for CX thought leadership, research, insights and training at Medallia. He said as every company now realises they are in the experience business, they look to CMOs to ensure those customer experiences are reinforcing the value of the brand.

This means the CMO is now facing a number of new challenges and opportunities in terms of skillset and also how to shape an agenda and drive an agenda across the leadership group.

“CMOs must understand and measure CX, and the ways it is unfolding within the operation, at new levels. Not just messages in the market, but the offers, services and processes that support people to be successful in delivering CX to customers,” Stone told CMO.

“The CMO is working with the COO and the CFO in a new way, where the skillset they have is tangentially valuable.  CMOs also need to do all this with an understanding that the decisions they are making today fit in within the CIO’s architecture, such as security, 24 months from now.”

Finding the right metrics

Alongside this is the need to ensure what metrics to set around CX, and how to tie them back to key businesses goals.

“The COO and CMO need to really think about what standards and taxonomy the company should be embracing,” Stone continued. “Nothing is more value-destroying when an organisation can’t get on the same page, even though each pocket of information might be right. The CMO is going to have to facilitate and simplify it down internally to get alignment.

“Different metrics might matter in different parts in the business, so CMOs must choose the right metric based on the right way it’s going to be used. The CMO has an advantage here, as they are great storytellers.

“But they must bring discipline to not get too excited about too many metrics, but narrow it down to an operational value and an engaging set of metrics, because with it it’s not going to move the needle for shareholders.”

Key to this is reportable and definable metrics that clearly demonstrate the value of the CX program not only to the c-suite, but also to shareholders.

“A CMO has to set the bar that within 24-36 months of setting a CX journey, it is robust and definable and deep enough in terms of impact, that it is affecting share price and the executive teams is proud to talk about it,” Stone explained.

“For example, Delta Airlines shared explicitly the CX stagey and credited its CX strategy with the price premium it was able to get on a same flight route basis with major competitors, at a shareholder conference.” 

According to Stone, the CMO is also going to need to bring great sophistication from a CX perspective to further the digital business outcomes, noting 70 per cent of all transactions are now starting online. Marketers must understand not only what’s happening, but why it’s happening at a deeper level, in real time, so the customer journey can be impacted while it is happening.

“We’ve been making a lot of investment in integration with deep analytics, Google Analytics, and systems integration with Adobe, as well as a series of capabilities to look at behaviours we’re observing while people are on a site, such as the dragging of a mouse, the hesitation of a mouse over an icon without clicking,” Stone said.

“Now the world of measuring CX gets blended with the world of better experience at the same moment. This is one of the most exciting things for a CMO now.”

With advances in artificial intelligence, Stone also saw more opportunity to draw insights from social media and comments.

“We believe this kind of feedback will be a central force for company performance, adaption and innovation, and continuous improvement, and its where we’re putting a huge amount of our R&D. AI is not just for scores, but for words and meaning,” he added.  

“But remember, the truly great technology doesn’t have to be the most complex technology, it need to be what brings greater humanity forward with less friction in the org what you had prior. It’s not about bypassing humanity, it’s about enhancing humanity.”

Medallia’s tips for better CX

  • Companies will need to embrace the customer, and think through the way people engage with, learn from, and take action on customer feedback, above and beyond measuring. “Measure is fine, it works well with backward looking metrics, like last month’s sales, but CX measures should not be treated in the same way. They should be treated as platform to engage the organisation in what’s coming next, what should be coming next, and how to get better, rather than how did we do,” Stone said.
  • Get more feedback in more people’s hands in a relevant way. Stone said just receiving feedback switches on the frontline and motivates them. In this way they become active thinkers, not passive thinkers, and the owners of their work.
  • Make it as human as possible. Go for more than just scores into what people are saying. The adjectives and nouns customers are using add meaning and context, both to motivate employees to do better, and to give the employee the right context. 

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu 

 

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