The companies leading the way in improving customer relations and customer experience are implementing new and fresh ways to gain insights and take action. But many companies are struggling to improve customer experience and CRM. Why?

That’s exactly the question asked by researchers in a new Harvard Business Review report.

It seems that data isn’t the problem. Says the report: “Most businesses said they collect mountains of information on their customers. The real obstacle to better customer experience, the research has found, is built into the way organizations share that data, analyze it, and work together.”

Related: Why chatbots matter in Customer Relations Management

Access to the right data

The problem it seems is access to the right data. Information should be collected from many different channels and integrated to form a full picture of each customer journey.

Successful companies use analytics to understand how they generate demand and the quality of the customer service they provide. To have a successful relationship with customers, you need to see what's happening to customers at all touch points and to understand how effective you are at each.

Organizational silos

The problem many organizations face is silos, that is people and teams working alone.

"These silos prevent organizations from understanding the customer's’ expectations at critical moments, and cultural resistance makes it tough to get the collaboration needed to solve the problem. As a result, respondents said the business doesn’t develop the right insights, get the information to the right people, or make the moves that could add real value," says the report.

It was found that the companies which did well with customer relations had broken down those silos. The companies had recognized how measurement and analytics could improve the customer experience. Once they began collecting and examining data, it became easy to spot patterns in consumer preference and behavior which gave clues to how to deliver a better experience to customers.

Break down these silos

It was found that top companies cited these as the barriers to customer experience improvement:

  • Cultural resistance
  • Organizational silos
  • Inflexible and outdated tech
  • Lack of leadership
  • Lack of knowledge and skills

But who is able to break down these silos and make these changes? Marketing pros, it seems. One of the biggest recent marketing trends is the increased inclusion of CRM in customer relations. The report points to a recent study by Gartner which found that improving customer experience is the number one expectation CEOs have of their marketing executives. To take charge of customer experience and steer an organization in the direction of value-adding activities, it's important that marketers broaden their scope beyond just communications. They must also abandon the traditional approach to brand management.

"The big rise of explicit mentions of the word ‘customer’ was very noticeable in the results of this year's survey," said Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner Fellow. "CEOs seem to be concerned about improving customer service, relationship and satisfaction levels.”

Real value to customers

Marketing leaders need to make the case to their bosses that breaking down silos isn’t just a marketing trend in CRM. Improving and optimizing customer experience requires the breaking down of silos and better collaboration between teams. It's important that marketers deliver real value to customers instead of just communicating with them. And it's measurement and analytics which allow brand marketing and performance marketing to complement each other for the eventual benefit of the customers. They need to be given the opportunity to act fast to give their customers what they need, when they need it. In this way, they’ll be able to deliver an outstanding customer relations service, in ways their competitors can’t.

 

If you're curious about why customer experience and CRM are important for your business, read our recent article. We explore what makes good customer experience, why better customer service means improved business and why customer relationship marketing improves the overall experience.

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