Companies turn up the ‘customer experience’ experts
Never before have companies so feared their customers. As countless examples have demonstrated, one furious tweet or indignant Facebook post can spark a firestorm that even the most skilled public relations team cannot contain.
Indeed, in the era of social media and increasingly vocal consumers, companies a re arguably treading more carefully than ever before. They are placing greater emphasis on ‘the customer experience’, with an eye not only on their reputations and brand equity, but also on the bottom line. Research has demonstrated that it is six to seven times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer − and that when companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers end up spending 20% to 40% more money with the company (Bain & Company).
Globally, companies have been devoting major resources to enhancing their customer engagement and services, and appointing ‘customer experience’ experts who are devoted to improving a nd maintaining t he cor porate / consumer relationship and interactions. Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, CEO of Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters, notes that while local companies have been slow to catch on, they are also beginning to recruit ‘specialists’ in the customer experience domain.
According to her, there has been a marked increase in companies seeking professionals to take on leadership roles in the area of customer experience, “due to companies recognising their failure to adequately address the changed customer engagement landscape”.
While in the recent past, professionals in charge of customer experience were picked for their ‘ soft skills’ such as marketing, communication and even sales expertise. Now, however, the job spec looks quite different.
“As we see the ‘customer experience’ role emerge at a more senior executive management l evel, t he additional skills required are largely technical, with a stronger focus on big data and technology-related transformation programmes,” explains Goodman-Bhyat.
Indeed, the emphasis on technical and analytical skills is indicative of the way in which companies are beginning to embrace Big Data and business intelligence in order to better serve their customers.
Michael Abra mow, director of strategy and insight at Oracle, highlights in Oracle’s Profit publication that “if you want to win customers, you need to know them as individuals. You need to harness and quickly analyse all of the data at your disposal, from within your organisation and beyond, to make smarter predictions about their needs and behaviours.”
Researc h has demonstrated that it is
six to seven
times more costly to
attract a ne w customer
than it is to re tain an existin g