Rearchitecting the customer experience across channels, teams and journeys

Learn how CIOs are partnering with CMOs, using data, technology and operational strategies, to deliver best-in-class omnichannel customer journeys in a hybrid world.

Customer data is at the heart of digital transformations that integrate online and offline touchpoints seamlessly to deliver best-in-class omnichannel customer journeys in a post-COVID world.

But as customers and organisations alike forge new connections between the physical and the digital world, the traditional stewards of data — such as CIOs — must find new ways to integrate data across different systems, re-assembling the customer experience at the back end to empower CMOs with the single customer view and insights they need to unlock and increase the lifetime value of customers.

The ability to understand and optimise those cross-channel customer journeys – spanning from online purchases to curbside delivery and beyond — is crucial to business growth in this new, collaborative customer experience era.

“Organisations need to rearchitect their businesses and how they’re organised around a data-driven operating model — and that means rearchitecting not just the technology but their processes and their people,” Adobe Australia and New Zealand Vice President and Managing Director Suzanne Steele told a media and analyst forum on the eve of Adobe Summit 2021.

“CIOs must partner with the CMO to bridge those organisational and technology silos to deliver exceptional experiences,” she says. “It’s not just the role of the CMO.”

So how are organisations coping with the need to overcome the traditional business silos that interrupt the customer journey? Unified data, customer experience technology and operational strategies that facilitate the seamless orchestration of online and offline touchpoints are essential.

Omnichannel customer journey optimisation in the moments that matter

Australian superannuation fund, HESTA, operates in what is known as a low-interest category, relying on a few campaigns yearly, triggered by website interactions, to encourage members to invest and improve their financial future.

The fund is seeing significant improvements in conversion rates after connecting data from offline and digital touchpoints via an authenticated member portal, providing affiliates with “more frictionless experiences across channels, while providing the business greater integration of systems and data,” according to Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly.

HESTA’s marketing activities had been disconnected, according to General Manager Digital, SC, Katrina Waghorne, but the group set about building a “connected experience stack allowing efficient personalisation, testing of concepts and delivering delightful and relevant experiences in the moments that matter”.

HESTA followed a website revamp, the addition of analytics and the implementation of omnichannel campaign management with the member’s portal launch, allowing cross-channel data and customer segmentation to be shared across its customer experience stack.

“That allows our digital experiences to be understood as a journey that we can test and personalise and, really importantly, ensure that we’re there in the moments that matter,” says HESTA Optimisation Manager Ivanka Dugandzic and General Manager Digital, SC, Katrina Waghorne.

A recent campaign offering an income stream product to members who were close to retirement was able to be simplified and optimised, leading to a 52 percent open rate, a 17 percent click-through, and an unsubscribe rate of well under one percent.

“From a business perspective, in the last three months, we’ve helped retain $90 million in funds,” Dugandzic says.

The importance of cross-functional collaboration

Omnichannel customer journey orchestration based on unified customer data and customer experience technology is also key to the future growth strategy of Thailand’s premier loyalty program The 1, which has close to 18 million members.

Part of retail, hospitality, financial services and property conglomerate Central Group, The 1 is pursuing a vision of omnichannel customer-centricity that will effectively transform each member into their own personalised, individual campaign, increasing customer lifetime value while extending the program’s reach across lifestyle segments.

“The opportunity is using holistic insights to drive personalised offers,” says The 1 President, Ton Chirathivat.

An integrated data strategy, unified customer experience platform and seamless customer journey orchestration between online and offline points laid the foundation for The 1’s omnichannel success, Chirathivat says. But the missing piece was a collaborative, cross-functional operating model that overcame silos in the business.

“The operating model is really key for the success of the program,” Chirathivat says. “What we found was it was really challenging to create a more unified, seamless customer experience when we do an initiative because each function also has a KPI (key performance indicator), but none of it is customer-centric”.

In the past year, the group has been reorganised into customer segment-based agile squads containing a member from each of the business functions. “This allowed us to optimise the customisation much faster, much quicker and it’s better as a whole,” Chirathivat says.

A recent campaign offering Top members spend incentives to cross the threshold into the Exclusive member category achieved a 14 percent spending increase over the control group and a 32 percent increase in members who fulfilled the criteria.

Seeing technology and transformation through a customer lens

Companies in unsettled sectors such as tourism and hospitality have a lot riding on their investment in improving the customer experience.

Luxury hotels group Rosewood has doubled down on innovation during the pandemic and pushed collaboration between business functions to new levels by putting the technology department in charge of customer experience.

Its global digital transformation program, dubbed Globetrotter, saw it invest in a unified customer experience technology stack to seamlessly integrate between the physical and virtual aspects of the customer journey and experience.

In doing so, the group was able to manifest the luxury experience of high-end hotels in the virtual world and provide customer information gained in the digital space to enable hotels to better personalise the physical experience.

“Ideally the things you do in the virtual space have a direct impact on the physical experience,” says global CIO Micah Friedman, “whether that’s sharing a preference with a hotel company and having them honour that around the world or getting picked up on time from the airport.”

At Rosewood, the Digital Business and Transformation team has operational control of customer experience, digital marketing and customer relationship management and operates its own P&L as it drives a customer-centric business transformation.

Along the way, it has overhauled its website, implemented a global customer profile, integrated offline and online customer touchpoints and implemented analytics to provide actionable insights into customer behaviour.

Early results include a doubling of the group’s conversion rate, which Friedman says bodes well for Rosewood’s post-pandemic position.

“Our role in the business is to really help drive things forward, to partner and collaborate with our key stakeholders and reinvent the company to become pure digital natives,” he says.

Leading digital transformations is a top priority for CIOs in 2021, putting them at the centre of the customer experience, according to Adobe’s 2021 Digital Trends report.

Integrating online and offline touchpoints to enable seamless omnichannel customer journeys in a post-COVID world is the new imperative of both the CIO and the CMO as they rearchitect organisations and reinvent customer experience management for a new era.

To hear how HESTA, The 1 and Rosewood Hotels Group are transforming the customer experience across journeys, channels and teams, watch Adobe Summit 2021 on demand now.