Here’s everything you need to know about what a connected experience is, why it’s important, and how to achieve a connected experience for customers that drives successful outcomes.
One of the biggest consumer behavior trends we’ve seen is the rise of omnichannel customer journeys. Customers interact with brands in a variety of ways — in-person, online and in-app, over social media, and by communicating with the contact center over the phone and via email, chat, and SMS. But instead of getting seamless, cohesive, and connected experiences, the customer often encounters disconnected, siloed experiences that can lead to dissatisfaction and churn.
We know why this happens: because of siloed organizational structures. The digital team owns the online and app experience. The contact center owns email, phone, live chat, and SMS support channels. Marketing owns social media. Operations owns the in-person experience. On and on it goes. Each team is optimizing for their own KPIs, but no one is seeing the full picture — nobody but the customer, that is.
For the customer, the overall brand experience is made up of each and every one of these points of interaction in their customer journey. Brands that manage to bring together their systems, people, and tools to orchestrate the full, end-to-end customer journey are able to deliver smooth, connected experiences — the kind that help businesses drive revenue, reduce costs, and improve their organizational cultures.
As the name suggests, connected experiences are customer experiences that result when businesses provide a thoughtfully- and purposefully-designed experience that’s consistent throughout each and every one of a customer’s interactions with a brand, whether that’s via the brand’s app or website, via a customer support chat or phone call, or in-person.
To make connected experiences happen takes coordination on the back-end, behind the scenes. Businesses need to bring together the right people, technology, and processes and align on everything encompassed within the customer journey horizontally across the business.
Defining connected experience:
Connecting experiences across every team, technology, and touchpoint is an essential capability for driving revenue growth, profitability, and talent retention.
Researchers have found that most consumers (85%) expect consistent experiences when interacting with teams across departments; however, more than half (60%) feel like they’re communicating with separate departments, not a single, cohesive company.
The same research found that the vast majority of customers (83%) say they’re more loyal to businesses that offer consistent experiences across the organization.
When companies execute on and measure customer experiences in silos — across disconnected teams within the enterprise, such as the contact center, digital channels, and in-person locations — they tend to have more technology systems in play. This often means greater risks and costs, given the complexity of compliance and resources involved in managing these systems and keeping them secure and up to date. Data silos also lead to greater time to insights, which can add up to even more costs for the business.
As CEOs and the boardroom are more focused on driving revenue, reducing costs, and enhancing organizational cultures, breaking down silos, aligning teams, eliminating points of friction in customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX), and reducing operational inefficiencies by creating one unified customer experience supported by connected internal teams, systems, and processes are more important than ever.
When companies fail to connect customer experiences it’s often because no one owns the entire end-to-end experience, leadership is unclear about what efforts to prioritize, and businesses lack alignment around who’s doing what.
In many cases, the catalyst for turning things around is the chief experience officer (CXO), however anyone within the C-suite or the organization’s most senior CX leader can take this on.
One of the very first things this champion will need to do is conduct an internal audit on the state of customer experience within the company. Start by finding out which departments are involved in the process, which customer experience technologies are being used, what types of customer experience data exists, and where it lives. As you gather these insights, begin meeting with key C-suite members to understand what each C-level leader is trying to achieve and explain how connected customer experiences will help them deliver results.
From there, the final step — a process that should be ongoing and iterative — is to assemble a cross-functional team that regularly meets to discuss experience initiatives, uncover the biggest opportunities for improvement, and build and execute on a connected experiences strategy that delivers results.
To get further guidance on how to achieve connected experiences within your organization, check out From Customer Experience to Connected Experience: The Executive’s Guide to Breaking Down Silos and Delivering Business Results.