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How to Avoid Brand Degradation in a Multi-Channel Social Media World

By Jim Arnold
Chief Marketing Officer at MetricsBoard

As brick, click, m-mobile, and social media channels evolve and start to integrate and mature, there is a greater chance that consumers will have conflicting brand experiences at some point along the customer life cycle. Customer experiences that differ from what was expected or do not fit with your company's overall brand image can dilute your brand strength and do significant damage over time.

To solve this problem, many companies are starting to embrace the need for a customer experience management team separate from marketing. This team's key role is to have end-to-end responsibility for making sure the customer has a consistent and rewarding experience—no matter if they order online, shop at a store location, or purchase something through a Facebook app. Those who have taken the step to formalize this type of function are finding it can play an important role in creating experience-based differentiation for their companies and lead to greater long-term customer loyalty.

One of the most important benefits of having a centralized customer experience team is they can look past the typical silos that exist within most companies and focus on the customer experience at each brand touchpoint. With the right authority, resources, and budget allocated, the organization can map the customer journey across the entire customer life cycle and share a unified vision and plan that each stakeholder group can follow in order to achieve the ultimate goal of greater customer acquisition rates and higher retention.

Here are five important characteristics of a mature, successful customer experience management team:

  • Strong leadership. Because the customer experience organization needs to work through other departments within the organization, the leader must be collaborative and be able to influence other leaders to support the vision and purpose of the function.
  • Process and collaboration. To reduce resistance from others, the function needs to follow a formalized process and include key company leaders in the planning and transformation process.
  • Clear measurement. Establish clear objectives and program outcomes up front. Develop a baseline through research and customer insight to define where the starting point is, so you can measure customer results from your actions. Consider benchmarking yourself against your key competition to see where the gaps are and to exploit your customer-focused strengths.
  • Transparency. Set up regular progress reports where you review a formalized scorecard with leaders across the company and solicit feedback and recommendations on additional changes to occur as part of a roadmap.
  • Voice of the customer. Leverage the many free social media tools on the web to gain input and feedback. Monitor comments made by your customers to evaluate the perception of your brand. Add functionality to your website to make it easy for customers to provide reviews and testimonials regarding the experiences they have had with your company.

Managing the various touchpoints that customers can come in contact with is a very important function. Are you delivering the same experience no matter how they interact with your company?

As commerce and social media channels integrate, merge, and mature, the customer should have a seamless experience. To avoid inconsistencies that can degrade your brand strength, you should establish a formalized customer experience management function within your company. It can create a competitive advantage and drive long-term brand loyalty and affinity.

Jim Arnold

Jim Arnold is a marketing executive, consultant, and co-founder of MetricsBoard with more than 25 years experience in marketing, advertising, and strategic planning. He has held executive-level positions with American Airlines, Compaq, EDS, IBM, and other Fortune 500 companies. Jim has also held leadership positions with Y&R and McCann-Erickson, where he led the development of several award-winning brand campaigns. He has been a speaker for CMO Executive Summit Conferences, Forbes magazine, AMA, and other organizations. Jim is a winner of the ITSMA Gold Excellence "Sharpening Brand & Competitive Differentiation" marketing award, and he has earned honors from the BMA, AMA, and AAF-ADDY Awards.