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10 Top Customer Experience Takeaways from Gartner Customer 360

While there were more than 100, perhaps more than 1000, top takeaways from the recent 2014 Gartner Customer 360 Summit, here are 10 terrific insights shared by key Gartner customer service and experience analysts during the Summit including Michael Maoz, Ed Thompson, Gene Alvarez and Jenny Sussin:

1. Customer Experience Defined: Gartner defines customer experience as "the customer's perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier's employees, channels, systems, or products."

Gartner defines customer experience management as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions in order to meet or exceed customer expectations and to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy."

2. Top Customer Initiative Challenges: According to a Gartner survey, the top 10 challenges facing customer initiatives, in order, are (1) multiple sets of customer data and information existing in disparate systems, (2) organizational change, (3) creating a customer experience vision, (4) getting a grip on customer data and information, (5) understanding the extent to which IT is/should be responsible for customer initiatives, (6) developing a CRM strategy, (7) CRM technology deployment, (8) process definition, (9) poor or inconsistent understanding of strategy, and (10) getting marketing, IT and customer service to collaborate on customer programs.

3. How to Create a Customer-Driven Culture: Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst Michael Maoz recommends (1) have strong leadership in place, (2) formalize and communicate the message, (3) find evangelists, (4) state company values as behaviors, (5) socialize and reinforce throughout the company to embed it in the culture, (6) provide recognition and build incentives tied to strategy, (7) use stories to communicate messages, (8) make the culture transparent to the customer, (9) make responsibilities and rewards clear, (10) provide training and education, (11) recruit differently, (12) recognize that it takes commitment and time.

4. Real vs. Poser Customer-Driven Organizations: In real organizations, leadership communicates and lives the values of the customer; in poser organizations, there is a sign in the lobby, but nothing behind the words. Real organizations actually do something and communicate to customers based on metrics; poser organization make changes based on internal performance improvements.

5. Seven Secrets of a Successful Customer Service Agent: (1) delivers personalized responses, knows the customer's context; (2) is informed, has accurate knowledge and content to address the customer issue; (3) has access to the social context of the customer (4) is empowered; (5) is motivated, likes what they do and is self-driven to perform at his/her highest level; (6) is goal-aware, understands the role that the service process plays in the overall CRM strategy; (7) understands how they are measured and why.

6. Customer Engagement Must Focus Not Just on a 360° View of the Customer, but Providing the Customer a 360° View: This includes showing customers what they have purchased and are now considering; the channels they used last time; their satisfaction score; the facts they want and need to know about the business; connections with other customers like them; products they are waiting for and services they have hoped for; things they need to know, but didn’t even know that they needed.  

7. Make Customer Experience Data the Most Read Document in Your Company: (1) create a Chief Customer Officer role (more than 800 companies have); (2) encourage “customer whining” and learn from your mistakes; (3) organize customer experience information so that it easily consumable; (4) be transparent with the information and share with every employee; (5) target who feels what and why, and get to root cause.

8. Key Brand Capabilities for Customer Engagement: social as another channel, consistent all-channel dialogue is possible, content/knowledge management, open application design, strong sentiment analysis, SaaS model & scalability, flexible business modeling capability, decision support capability; analytic reporting, good extensibility to reach the mobile consumer.

9. Mobile Customer Service and Engagement Must be a Focus: 96% of mobile apps currently lack in-line service (Gartner Research 2014). The majority of consumers are disappointed with mobile application support:  66% report they do not feel that enterprise mobile service and support is effective (Accenture). Through 2016, all revenue generated through mobile marketing will be erased because of poor customer experience and inconsistent support (Gartner).

By 2015, at least 60% of the Internet users will opt for mobile customer service applications as their first option. There’s no time to waste in getting your mobile support and engagement act together.

10. Social Customer Service is Much More than Just Listening and Response: It is peer-to-peer support, gathering customer service feedback, enabling self-service via social, solving customer service problems, building relationships, developing knowledge, sharing consumer alerts and gathering data to enhance contact lists.

What does it accomplish? Decreases customer service calls and support costs, increases customer retention and satisfaction, actively engages influencers, crafts the customer experience, identifies opportunities and builds brand loyalty.

Parature and Microsoft, along with Parature customer, were glad to be part of this year’s Gartner Customer 360 Summit and to share some of the insights featured there. We hope to see you at next year’s event!