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It's easy to say you're customer centric, but you have to show it.
'Customer experience is king' was the key message I took away from Retail Week Live 2017. Here are some of the highlights from the brands that presented.
Company silos. That least poetic of business metaphors is not going away anytime soon.
For all the articles about cross-functional teams and iterative ways of working, 40% of marketers admit that they are not adequately supported by other members of the organisation and that different departments have their own agenda.
Some companies have customer experience managers or departments, and others do not. Why is that?
Who should own customer experience and what does that entail?
Joining up marketing channels is not a new concept - Econsultancy used to run an event called JUMP based on exactly this theme (first held back in 2012).
The idea of providing a consistent and connected customer experience across marketing touchpoints has been mainstream for at least five years.
However, recent research from Econsultancy shows that 70% of marketers in Asia Pacific have either little management across touchpoints or completely siloed delivery.
Indian marketers think internal collaboration will be the most important factor within their organisations when improving customer experience.
This is one of the findings of Econsultancy's Customer Experience Maturity in India survey report, in association with Epsilon.
The most important tenet of service design is working with user stories in mind.
This obsession with user centricity is creeping across business - is there any company exec that hasn't expounded to the press that "the customer is at the heart of everything we do"?
Thankfully, there's a renewed focus on the customer among marketers, too.
Jeremy Waite, Evangelist at IBM Watson, kicked off speaking at a recent DMA event by highlighting the fact that by 2019 there will be 1m new devices coming online every hour.
With so much smart tech in the hands of consumers, will we end up marketing to machines or algorithms?
He asked the audience to think about how we can use AI to create more meaningful relationships with our customers and use the power of marketing to make a difference.
Online shopping is eating into physical store visits - that much is obvious if you watch any news bulletin about Black Friday.
Footfall for Black Friday 2016 in the UK was down 0.7% on 2015, according to IPSOS.
Look at the latest ONS retail sales figures (for November 2016), and you'll see that in the UK, online sales made up 15.8% of total retail sales. That's almost 25% year-on-year growth.
Mapping the customer journey is not exactly a science.
It can be, but more often that not it's a collaborative exercise that draws on some data and some qualitative and anecdotal insight from customers and staff.
The objective is to encourage customer-led and design-led thinking in a group, using the results to prioritise challenges and opportunities.
Digital technology has increased the pace of change in consumer and patient expectations, but most pharma and healthcare organisations haven’t moved quickly in response.
Consumers are taking control over their own healthcare and driving change, preferring a more convenient way to get medical services and access information.
By focusing on the customer experience rather than sales, smaller brands and retailers can effectively compete with their largest competitors.
A great example of this comes from flower delivery service UrbanStems.
Customer experience has arguably been the marketing buzz phrase of 2015/2016.
But the interest in the term reflects marketing's increasing influence across the organisation, in a time when business models are changing.
At Syzygy's Digital Innovation Day, I listened to marketers from Lufthansa, Zalando and Consorsbank who discussed CX.