5 Tips to Ensure Your CX Success

October 11, 2018

By Ernan Roman


In a Retail Info Systems study, executives were asked, "Who does personalization best?" The highest-ranking answer? "No one!"

This is consistent with findings from more than 16,000 hours of in-depth research our firm, ERDM Corp., conducted with customers and prospects of clients, including IBM, Microsoft, QVC, Gilt, Shinola, and 10X Genomics. The interviews uncovered three universal customer experience (CX) truths:

  • There is a dangerous chasm between the CX fantasy of brands versus the disappointing reality that people experience.
  • Millennial and generation Z consumers have unprecedented expectations when it comes to CX. When the reality fails to meet expectations, they move on to find it with another company.
  • In spite of privacy concerns, customers are willing to provide deep explicit preference data to get improved CX.

To help marketers get it right regarding CX, we created the whitepaper, 24 Tips for CX Innovation. All the action-oriented tips are based on findings from our Voice of Consumer (VoC) research. Following are a few highlights.

1. How customers define "customer experiences:"

  • Customers expect high-value experiences across every point of contact with an organization.
  • These experiences must apply to all elements of the media mix and all departments in the organization.
  • High-quality experiences must be maintained throughout the relationship, "not just when you are selling or renewing."
  • Customer experiences must be driven by the customer's individual preferences regarding: key needs, message, timing, frequency, and media mix.
  • Preferences must drive high-quality personalization of communications and experiences. Privacy of preference information is essential.

2. Given GDPR requirements, obtaining and honoring preferences is mandatory. Marketers must shift from implicit data to explicit data:

  • Per VoC Research, customers (especially millennials) want unprecedented explicit control of their CX and personalization.
  • Marketers must enrich and build upon traditional implicit data with explicit, opt-in, self-profiled data.

3. Reciprocity of value equation:

  • B2B and B2C consumers recognize that to receive or access increasingly relevant information, they must provide information regarding their preferences.
  • If they trust the brand and receive a compelling value proposition, consumers will opt-in to sharing increasingly detailed preference information in exchange for the marketer's promise to deliver relevant information and offers.
  • This reframes data privacy concerns and complies with GDPR!
  • Reciprocity is seen as a valuable exchange of information that improves the customer experience. This information will constantly change, grow, and be enriched through ongoing interactions with consumers.
  • As a result of these preference–based interactions, consumers are more willing to respond to communications and offers.
  • This customer-driven information exchange results in uniquely accurate databases.

4. Five requirements for engaging customers to provide their preferences during onboarding:

  1. Consumers trust that the company will adequately safeguard their information and use it in a responsible way.
  2. "Responsible." Consumers believe that their information will not be rented or sold to third parties.
  3. "Honor my preferences." They expect that their "opt-in" self-profiled preferences will be used to drive increasingly targeted communications and offers … and suppress those that are not relevant.
  4. The value consumers receive in exchange for providing in-depth information must be obvious and compelling. If the value is not obvious, they will assume the brand betrayed their trust.
  5. Consumers must see proof that the company will be able to deliver on requirements one through four, not just once, but consistently over time.

5. Preference centers are critical for capturing preference information for driving deeper engagement. Yet, they are deeply disappointing:

  • Per VoC research, Preference Centers are not providing sufficient value:
    • "Misleading — they are obviously focused on what the company wants to sell."
    • "They're not focused on my preferences. The focus is on them, not on learning about the needs of my business."
  • Additionally, many Preference Centers don't provide a resource that is:
    • Customer-focused.
    • Comprehensive across different product lines and channels.
    • Easy to find, use, and update as customers' needs change, (progressive profiling).

More tips to help ensure CX success can be found in the 24 Tips for CX Innovation whitepaper.


Ernan Roman is the president at ERDM Corp. and author of Voice of the Customer Marketing.


The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

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