As consumers continue to develop cross-channel shopping behaviors and preferences, it is vital that retailers create a compelling and consistent brand experience. However, many merchants are struggling to remove communication silos, and in turn are implementing fragmented messaging and marketing strategies online and in stores. These industry pain points encouraged the inception of the Customer Experience Professionals Association(CXPA) in April 2011.
The CXPA was developed to provide retailers with educational resources and best practices to optimize the customer experience. Technology advancements and shopping behaviors are evolving at a rapid pace, making it imperative for merchants to understand new trends and apply them to their businesses to meet customer expectations, according to Jeanne Bliss, Co-Founder of CXPA and Owner of Customer Bliss.
“There are a lot of organizations, especially retailers, really trying to tackle the customer experience and journey, and are taking several different approaches to it,” Bliss told Retail TouchPoints. “The goal of the CXPA is to be inclusive, not competitive, with all the various offerings and companies that address the customer experience so we can build a community of practitioners and provide a learning forum, as well as a place for peers to communicate with one another.”
The international non-profit organization helps guide and enhance the growth occurring within the customer experience management field via educational tools and seminars, such as webinars, special events, awards and other networking activities.
“The CXPA wants to provide very practical information; not just an array of articles and other fragmented resources,” Bliss said. “We want to offer a practitioner-to-practitioner method of educating and learning, and remove the mystery about what the customer experience is and how organizations can optimize it.” Leveraging Data Best Practices To Remove Silos In The Customer Experience With the continual prevalence of cross-channel shopping behaviors, retailers are faced with an influx of customer data. Although this wealth of information is seemingly within merchants’ reach, many organizations are struggling to streamline customer information and create a consistent brand experience across channels.
“We know that today’s consumers don’t only shop through one channel, but go across channels at will, and during all times of the day,” Bliss said. “In retailing, there is a separation of channels, along with back-end silos. One of the important characteristics of a united customer experience is assuring that as shoppers go across channels, they’re united and connected, and don’t feel like they’re interacting with a different company in each channel.”
Retailers can optimize data collection and analysis to obtain a 360-degree view of customers by focusing less on “boiling the ocean,” and more on developing a focused and streamlined process across channels, according to Bliss.
“Retailers are trying to gather data from every level and obtain that 360-degree of the customer,” Bliss said. “If retailers get more focused on the customer experience and understanding what they need to deliver to customers, they can prioritize key touch points then establish a finite set of data vital to connecting every channel and silo.”
Upcoming CXPA Events Currently touting a member base of more than 1,200 executives and customer experience professionals, the CXPA has announced plans for a networking event in Toronto on April 10, 2012, as well as additional meetings for members worldwide, including in New York, Boston and San Francisco.
These activities lead up to the CXPA’s second annual Members Insight Exchange meeting, which will take place June 19-20, 2012, in San Diego. During the two-day conference, members will receive in-depth best practices, listen to real-life case studies, and define and prioritize future CXPA initiatives. The CXPA Innovation Awards also will take place during a lunch ceremony, which will spotlight CXPA members leading the pack in customer experience management.
“We want to teach competencies, build communities and inspire innovation,” Bliss reported. “In our upcoming conference, we’ll be holding awards to spotlight specific organizations that have gone above and beyond in the area of customer engagement. Eventually organizations will get past the hard part of tackling the ‘customer experience’ concept; they’ll extend past developing reliable experiences to innovating and creating experiences that exceed traditional expectations.”
The CXPA’s growing roster of new members include The Cable Center, Clearworks, Farland Group, Hyland Software, Inc., QuestBack, and SatisfYd. SAS is the newest Gold-level sponsor for the organization. Other Gold Sponsors include Adobe, Confirmit, RightNow Technologies and Tealeaf Technology. CXPA Silver Sponsors include Clarabridge, Inc., Corsential, Mattersight Corporation and ResponseTek.