Badge in! Conference season is in full swing
I am writing today’s blog entry on my flight to Xplor 2019 in Las Vegas, excited to kick off Conference season. Then, it’s Document Strategy Forum in Anaheim, and finally the NG Financial Services Tech Summit in Denver. Each conference this year has a different vibe. This year, we seem to be facing a challenge of establishing control over communications delivery systems in an age of the customer.
As I talk to customers and prospects, I hear a lot of overwhelmed CCM experts frustrated with coordination and tools. The frustration is experienced by almost every department in a different way. CX and Marketing professionals are frustrated that some customer engagement systems have antiquated designs and a slow rate of change. Operations and IT are frustrated that expectations increase while budgets shrink. IT is further frustrated that they are forced to provide integration and oversight to unapproved shadow IT purchases, doing more architectural work for no additional budget.
This frustration is experienced in the budgeting process, because departmental metrics differ in ways that shape the team’s approach to problem solving. Sales and Marketing are judged on top-line revenue and pipeline respectively. IT and operations are judged on how efficiently that revenue makes it to the bottom line. When a CX team shows up, the complexity multiplies, because all touchpoints are evaluated against a new set of criteria, more data is requested, and channel fluidity is demanded by clients.
During the budgeting process, the top-line people are immediately at odds with the bottom-line people. The bottom-line people see risk increasing while operating budget is decreasing. I have seen this escalate with the top-line teams turning this frustration into the purchase of single-purpose cloud-based solutions. The success of these small projects turns into demonstrations of how easy it is to communicate with clients. While that might be true for an isolated project, it will not scale.
The way to confront this obstacle is through collaboration. The CX team, aligned with sales and marketing need to discuss budget and planning with their peers in IT and operations. Then, the group can prioritize customer communications in a way that makes a top and bottom-line impact. The budget discussions should include an inventory of customer engagement systems, which are typically five or more years behind the times in terms of design and capability. Having these discussions may highlight that aligned goals can improve all of the communications, because aligning them is ultimately more efficient that separating them.
So, the theme of this conference season is the intersection of collaboration, technology and empathy. If we talk about the entire scope of customer engagement, we can better assess our skills, tools and requirements to come up with a deliberate and proactive communication portfolio.