Digital challenges more than just traditional thinking; it also changes the way companies organize and operate. Retailers, for example, have been forced to rethink their distribution and fulfillment models to meet new expectations in shipping speed. Self-service and empowerment are critical customer experiences in financial services. And in other industries, new success metrics have been developed to reflect new realities.
Case in point: A cable TV vendor that considered removing the phone number of its call center and the click-to-chat feature from its digital platforms when it learned that its digital media, social and mobile marketing endeavors were driving traffic to its call centers—and that those call centers, rather than the digital team, were getting credit for customer conversions. Logic prevailed, however. The call center number was not removed from the digital platforms. But the company realized it needed to completely revamp its operating model, including who reported to whom and the incentive structure.
The name of the game is no longer the four “P’s” (product, price, place, promotion)—it’s customer experience design. Our research shows that references to “service design” or “experience design” have increased significantly in key publications over the past three years. And while most occur in connection with high-tech and research institutions, they are not restricted to particular industries.
CMO–CIO collaboration is indispensable to customer-experience design success. By making better customer outcomes a common goal, and by developing a consistent view of the customer through shared metrics, CMOs and CIOs can create the seamless brand experience that today’s customers demand.
But first companies need to empathize with the customer—to prioritize customers’ goals and then reverse engineer initiatives, operating models and skills to help them achieve those goals. CMOs and CIOs need to think in terms of “doing with” the customer, rather than “doing to” them, abandoning words like “target”, “capture”, “convert” and “retain” and adopting such terms as “influence”, “engage”, “stimulate” and “share”. Instead of asking whether the CIO and CMO should collaborate, or even how best to collaborate, they should be adopting a heightened customer-centric mindset and asking: how can the CIO and CMO team up to advocate for the customer?
This is the key driver for CMO/CIO collaboration and the catalyst for true transformation.