Creating the Connected Customer Journey
The scale, complexity and diversity involved in managing all the channels and touchpoints belonging to a single organisation is mushrooming. In 2015, the Delivery Experience (DX) survey from Forrester found that companies of enterprise-size now manage an average of 268 customer-facing websites each. And that number doesn’t take into account other engagement channels like apps, social media platforms, chatbots and the more traditional interaction points such as email, SMS and phone.
This same report went further and said that these international organisations can have as many as 10,000 individual content creators and approved users managing these sites in some way.
As the array of brand and transaction channels grows exponentially, the teams running them need to deliver increasingly sophisticated and intuitive digital experiences to customers. Each digital asset must simultaneously incorporate diverse elements to appeal to different audiences and comply with the rules and regulations within specific markets and countries.
There are also clear security and cost challenges involved in the scale of the operations being run. But, customers don’t ‘see’ the security infrastructure or costs involved. They only find out about it when digital assets are hacked or crash due to lack of investment. Instead, it’s the consistency of – or lack of – digital experiences that directly influence their perception of the brand.
A good example of this is a customer of a mobile provider. This is often a fairly long-standing relationship which centres around the customer paying a bill each month. But, there are many other potential touchpoints, for example a customer phones the call centre with an issue, walks into a store, uses online livechat, sees some advertising, checks their account in an app or follows the company on Twitter. The explosion of channels available to customers has happened in a short space of time. Very few of these channels are integrated to enable brands to understand how each customer behaves in each interaction so that data is visible and actionable when the same customer next pops up on another channel. And the bottom line is that even the existence of a long relationship doesn’t prevent an unhappy customer from very, very easily switching suppliers.
I really empathise with those responsible for the range of channels. I hear from many who feel overwhelmed and who have a sobering realisation that their digital architecture is too complex, too expensive and unsuited to the needs of their organisation today. The multiple sites and touchpoints have probably been built in siloes over time and are likely running on more than one CMS (content management system). At Acquia, we believe that managing and implementing changes, security needs and governance requirements is a lot easier, quicker and cleaner with a cloud-based, multi-site environment that eliminates siloes. Working in this way can also be cheaper – production costs can be reduced by as much as 60% – and improve stability to boot. Crucially, this multi-site approach is also the foundation of a multi-touchpoint strategy.
Today, there is a global mobile operator that leverages our suite of solutions to deliver all the content and assets that appear on its in-store displays, websites and all other digital channels, giving its business and customers consistency. That first stage is part of a broader vision to connect all of the operator’s channels, including call centres, stores, websites, apps and so on – to deliver one connected journey for each customer. For example, if a customer has an issue with their phone and they’re on the website looking for an answer, a new option of resolving the problem could be booking an in-store appointment at the nearest location. When the customer arrives, a staff member books them in and offers the appropriate solution, perhaps an in-store or off-site repair, or a replacement phone. Once the customer chooses an option, they can go back onto the website and, once logged in, they’ll see information about setting up the new phone.
In the end, I think it boils down to enterprise organisations building advanced profiles of all their customers and ensuring they can communicate with them – and vice versa – through any one of the channels in operation. Customers are individuals, each with their own needs, and they deserve to have outstanding and consistent experiences that make them feel that way.
 "The State Of Digital Experience Delivery, 2015,"By Anjali Yakkundi with Ted Schadler, Danielle Geoffroy, April 2015."