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Product, Platform & People: Striking the Right Balance Between CX and EX in 2023

Product, Platform & People Striking the Right Balance Between CX and EX in 2023

Product, Platform & People Striking the Right Balance Between CX and EX in 2023

As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series—a collection of contributed columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories—Jake Athey, the VP of Marketing & Sales at Acquia, outlines a few ways companies can find the right balance in their CX and EX initiatives.

With inflation rising and the market down, companies are operating lean and expected to do more with less. Many leaders are reconsidering their staffing, investments, and operations, seeking ways to save money and optimize processes. Cutting budgets—across products, platforms, and people—to preserve expenses is a short-term move with long-term implications that can deeply hamper momentum built.  

The companies that will come out ahead understand how to have the right balance. A continued focus on the people doing the work, a comprehensive technology stack, and a client-centric mindset will help maintain the customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) and enable business continuity and resilience when needed. 

Keeping a Customer-Focused Mindset 

The foundation of every successful business is its customers. When tumultuous times come, it’s important to remember that customers are reevaluating budgets too. This is your opportunity to lead with empathetic marketing and build customers for life. The companies that will come out ahead strive for a customer-centric approach and lead with personalization, constantly seeking ways to prove value across each stage of the journey.

To do this, enterprises should have a bold customer experience (CX) vision and a dedicated strategy to deepen customer loyalty and retention, increase revenue, and reduce operational costs. Companies should also lead with a first-party data strategy to ensure customers have tailored and relevant experiences. Standing out from the competition will prove key in 2023, and CX differentiation is one of the most effective and quickest ways to scale. Case in point, 77 percent of brands believe CX is a critical competitive differentiator, and customer-centric companies are 60 percent more profitable than companies that aren’t. 

While meeting customer needs must remain paramount, it’s important to remember that product is what aids a positive CX. Don’t lose sight of your roadmap, and immediately put R&D efforts aside. Product is the fuel of every customer interaction, and investing in your offering keeps retention strong and your bottom line growing. Enterprises must couple listening to and meeting customer expectations with executing against their product roadmap. This dynamic duo can pay real dividends and empowers long-term competitiveness.  

Giving Teams the Tools They Need 

Companies of all sizes have been forced to consolidate in some way this year. Despite marketers having the habit of buying the “new shiny toy,” there’s no room within current budgets, and many are eliminating tools—and positions—or switching from best-in-class solutions to general product suites to save money. When strategizing around consolidation, it’s essential to factor in metrics such as time-to-value, adoption rate, and product usage frequency. Ask yourself: Will this change impact customers or cause delays? Does my lean team have the capacity to implement a brand-new product or suite? Will they even use the entire suite?  

It’s critical not to lose sight of your employees as the backbone of your customer and product success and may already be experiencing significant hurdles. Eliminating or throwing new technology into the mix can sometimes cause more harm than good. The more used and connected the systems, the more connected the experience will be for customers.  

Before making decisions, speak with individual team leads about what platforms employees leverage most—and which they don’t—and evaluate your current technology stack’s return on investment (ROI). Switching or removing solutions that staff rely on regularly can have adverse effects, and with bandwidth strained and staff leaning on platforms more than ever before—as they take on the work of two or more people—efficiency is paramount. 

Empowering Your People 

While a deep focus on ROI is warranted, retention during economic certainty is essential too. Recessions can last anywhere from a few months to several years, and your customers, community, and employees will never forget how your company led during times of strife. What effective business leaders excel at is being human when times of disruption inevitably occur. Being human throughout the process—while putting yourself in your community members’ shoes—can help you better support, understand, and empower your people, internally and externally. 

Lean teams aren’t always the answer, and prematurely cutting staff or technology can set your company back significantly. Instead, find a balance to help you achieve your goals while maintaining morale and upholding a high-quality CX and EX. It will help with business continuity and consistency and push your business and CX to the top as competitors struggle to keep up.  

Reaching Success With Your Three P’s 

While product, platform, and people are all equally important components to surviving the downturn, it all comes back to striking the right balance. Keeping a customer-focused mindset is only possible with the right staff who feel motivated, empowered, and supported. Likewise, CX and EX will only be positive if the correct tools are set to support them. These three p’s rely on each other, and companies that find balance can thrive during and after the downturn.

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