So much about DSF ’22 made it a positive event. The first being that it was an in-person conference. DSF ’22 was one of the first to exit the virtual world and gamble that an in-person event would be well received. And it was. The conference garnered a good mix of enterprise organizations, print service providers, vendors, analysts and end users that made a variety of lively discussions possible.

The overall theme was consistent with the message Madison Advisors has been delivering for some time now: What does it take to move in the direction of ensuring the delivery of the whole customer experience? Many presentations and vendors talked about customer experience in one way, shape or form, but overall that conversation has shifted. Consistent with our market research, there is more focus on using CCM as a jump-off point to drive a better customer experience (CX) and, ultimately, have customer experience management (CXM) as second nature to the business strategy. The desired outcome is to retain clients longer, attract a better audience and drive revenue. However, the question becomes how do you get there — and more importantly, how do you measure whether or not you are achieving those goals?

It was interesting that the conversation centered a great deal on the road to a better CX, not as much about how to treat CX as a measurable quantity. To attach any ROI to your efforts, in addition to qualifying it, it is important to look at how you can quantify a successful customer experience. I think that while there's progress, and certainly a great deal of activity around CX, there's still quite a bit of work to be done. We have seen firsthand, like anything new or different entering an organization, it takes time to incorporate.

In my opinion, as a company, you must have continued discussion about what CX means to your organization and bounce around ideas in order to be clear on your definition of CX before you can start to measure it. Once you get to a general consensus on what CX means to your business, only then can you determine how to measure it. What DSF ’22 proved is that we now have a large enough base of people talking about CX, looking for ways to implement it and the tools that are needed to continue to build it. Hence, it is time to make sure we can measure it.

To start, it is critical to have a digital infrastructure that gives you a consolidated view of how your customer base is interacting with your digital tools. The different technology vendors at the conference shared how their solutions can provide this type of dashboard, some being able to see performance at a glance, others having the capability to dive deeper. Having a dashboard that aligns with your goals makes it possible to measure the customer experience by digging into the data points that customers provide every day, even simple ones, such as how many opened the email, how many watched the video or, more importantly, how many clicked on the button to get more information or buy.

Using the best platform to support your CX is also important in this customer journey, which is why our interactive personalized video market study, presented by our senior analyst Rich Huff at the event, tied nicely into the customer experience conversation. It is CX that is driving the need to communicate and educate customers about complex topics, such as defined contributions or healthcare benefits, with alternatives to bulky mailings with pages of fine print. Interactive personalized video (IPV) enables organizations to leverage customer data to create customized content that suggests a course of action and transmits the customers’ responses back to corporate administration systems. The presentation was well attended with many questions, mostly around how to implement it. It is true that IPV production and distribution remains an emerging market, but we see it as one that is intimately connected to the broader customer communications/customer experience market.

It will be interesting to watch how the excitement we experienced at DSF ’22 around CX plays into the year. Again, there are challenges, first in defining what CX means to your organization, then developing an ROI to the efforts of continual improvements. However, there is no doubt that the CCM conversation is moving in a new direction — and we all need to listen.

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