Channel markets

Every $1 Spent on Customer Experience Delivers a $3 Return

Author: Avanade CMO Stella Goulet
Author: Avanade CMO Stella Goulet

The topic of customer experience is near and dear to my heart and something I’ve written about before. Providing a great experience across all the touchpoints is critical for a company’s success. According to research from Avanade and Sitecore, for every $1 spent on developing a customer experience strategy, organizations see a $3 return.

Take the CX Trek

But delivering great customer experiences isn’t easy. It takes a vision and a plan to get there. The digital elements of your strategy are key to providing those positive experiences. To help address that, Avanade developed a maturity model that we use with clients called the “Customer Experience (CX) Trek.”

The trek encompasses three phases:
1. Getting Started: Digital Foundation
2. Increasing Momentum: Digital Empowerment
3. Leading the Market: Digital Innovation

Applying the model to ourselves

I was interested in applying the model to our own marketing activities to help us improve the experience we provide to our clients through our digital channels. At Avanade, we’ve done a lot of work to build our digital foundation. We developed a vision of the client experience we wanted to deliver through our digital channels. Then we spent time on initiatives like building our digital marketing strategy and business case, and implementing a marketing automation system and reporting dashboards.

We faced challenges along the way. For example, with so many martech systems and tools available, it was difficult to decide which ones to bring into our ecosystem. It took careful thought and planning to ensure we were selecting technologies that would help us achieve our objectives and integrate with our other systems.

We also took a big step by moving to a new CX platform with Sitecore on Microsoft Azure, together with Microsoft Dynamics and Marketo. And we redesigned our website using a design thinking approach. This was a major milestone for us and essential to driving momentum for other aspects of our digital marketing strategy, such as improving our social media presence, tracking and reporting capabilities.

These foundational elements have enabled us to take advantage of our data to do things like A/B testing for campaign landing pages and to deliver more personalized content. And that, in turn, helps us provide a more relevant experience to our clients and prospective clients.

Becoming digitally empowered

This foundation has helped us drive momentum along our CX Trek, as we develop a data-driven culture to help us better understand the needs of our clients. For example, within our marketing organization we’re enhancing our analytics capabilities with social listening platforms such as Synthesio and data visualization tools like Microsoft Power BI.

These tools help marketers use data to gain insights to make better decisions and deliver better customer experiences. For instance, having your data house in order allows you to use advanced analytics like predictive modeling. We’re starting to leverage predictive capabilities to drive initiatives like our new “always-on” digital advertising and social campaign.

While we’re improving our use of data and building out our digital capabilities, we aren’t replacing everything physical with digital. The key is finding the right combination of what’s being called “phygital.” To that end, we’re using physical events and conferences to demonstrate emerging technologies like HoloLens and other immersive experiences. In other words, we’re bringing digital with us. A good example is our Digital Retail Lab, which we brought to the recent National Retail Federation annual convention and expo to showcase solutions like voice-enabled shopping bots and mixed-reality experiences.

Don’t forget the employee experience

Although the CX Trek model focuses on the customer experience, the employee experience shouldn’t be ignored. Companies often underestimate the role of employees in delivering great customer experiences. A survey by MIT Center for Information Systems Research found that employee experience predicts business performance, including doubling the customer satisfaction.

Having the right information and workplace tools at their fingertips is important for our teams. We’re using tools from the Microsoft Office 365 suite, like Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, for better communication and collaboration. And we’re using Visual Studio to support our agile marketing approach to help us work faster, more iteratively and more efficiently. The launch of our new brand identity last year is a good example of how we put agile into action.

Just one piece of the CX puzzle

It’s important to remember that while the digital aspects of your customer experience are critical, they’re only one piece of the puzzle. The key is to ensure that your digital CX Trek is part of your company’s overall strategy to provide great experiences for your customers all long their journey.

Find out where you are on your own CX Trek.

Stella Goulet is chief marketing officer at Avanade. Read more Avanade blogs here.