"Customer experience" is the buzzword at Oracle and also for many of the world's C-suite executives, according to Melissa Boxer, VP of Loyalty CRM Products at Oracle. The integration of social media, marketing and loyalty must therefore centre on great customer experience.
Brands find it difficult to differentiate and compete in a profitable way; moreover, customers are fighting back and taking control of how they interact with brands. They are "always on, always sharing and always connected" and, importantly, are constantly evolving their behaviours. This means big changes in the way that businesses chat with, interface with and influence consumers.
Importantly, customers will pay more for experiences that build credibility and trust; this is the only sustainable differentiator and companies that embrace a customer-experience strategy will stand out – think of South West Airlines, Virgin, John Lewis Partnership and Tesco.
The onus is on businesses to understand and empower their customers, whilst having the agility to adapt to a dynamic, constantly evolving environment. Businesses should ask themselves "what do customers think about their journey through the customer experience lifecycle?", "how does this differ by segment?" and "how can we empower our customers along the whole cycle?" This understanding must then be cultivated so that business processes are re-defined along the whole cycle and offer a great experience. This is the best way for businesses to add value to its customers and its brand.