The customer experience has changed, no longer a linear journey across clear cut channels, your customers navigate a complex interconnected web of digital and physical channels, internal and external partners. Marketing departments are in a unique position to drive this customer experience ecosystem, but they must gain agreement from other departments in order to do so. Whether you’re back in the office or utilizing virtual collaboration tools, our Customer Experience Ecosystem Whiteboarding Jump Start will help you simplify a detailed conversation across departments.

Customer Experience is more important now more than ever, as lockdown orders remain in place across the country, many companies are being forced to serve customers outside of traditional channels. Customer Experience is no longer a buzzword or the next corporate initiative; it is a shift of corporate strategy, and that starts with marketing.


Customer Experience is more than a linear digital journey or tactical product experience. It’s every interaction your customer has within an ecosystem. That ecosystem is made up of various internal departments, technologies, and data sources – often with many internal “owners” of the experience. However, it is critical that marketing is the driving force behind the customer experience; the journey truly begins with them.


Download our Customer Experience Ecosystem: Whiteboarding Jump Start for an easy to follow starting point and sample output from a session.


Download the Whiteboarding Jump Start Tool Here



A Brief History of Customer Experience


In order to understand why marketing needs to be responsible for driving the customer experience ecosystem, it’s important to understand a brief history of the customer experience and which internal departments were responsible for owning it.


  • Brick & Mortar: Customer Experience originally meant the experience your customers had with your product, like trying on a sweater in a flagship retail store or test driving the newest model of an iconic car brand.
    • Dispersed: Product Engineers, clothing designers, even retail employees were responsible for the customer experience in that singular interaction.
  • Call Center and Later Contact Center: For both product and service-based companies, the call center was largely where customers were having conversations, aka ‘experiences,’ and eventually those experiences moved from the phone channel to digital channels like chat and social media.
    • Contact Center: Contact center operations were designed to support or reinforce company policies, but each interaction was, in essence, a stand-alone customer experience.
  • Digital customer experience: Even if companies had a tangible product, customer experiences started on the website, such as researching.
    • Web Designers: As companies adopted a Digital First approach, and failed, they quickly realized that digital-only didn’t capture the entire experience.
  • Omnichannel customer experience: It’s not only Amazon that’s sending you product recommendations based on your purchase history – even your grocery store sends emails and mobile application alerts. Customers are interacting across digital and physical channels now.
    • Chief Customer Officer: Often an operations-focused executive, this outward in approach can fall short of meeting customer’s expectations.
  • Customer Experience Ecosystem: Today, every interaction a company has with a customer is part of an intricate customer experience ecosystem. Marketing has access to data across these siloed interactions.
    • Marketing: An omnipresent voice of the customer and voice of the organization, marketing is best positioned to orchestrate this ecosystem.


Why Marketing MUST Drive the Customer Experience Ecosystem


My colleague Chad Wittenborn wrote last month about How Top B2B Marketing Leaders deliver the ‘Amazon Effect’ through Customer Experience, “You, as the Marketing leader, will have more influence on CX than anyone else in the organization. Still, to truly succeed in enhancing CX, it must be elevated as a pillar of corporate strategy.” Indeed, for marketing to drive the customer experience ecosystem, they must work with other departments to map the ecosystem for their company. But where do you start?


SBI frequently facilitates cross-functional executive workshops at The Studio. However, if your team is still collaborating remotely, it’s easy to get started with a consultant’s favorite collaboration tool – A whiteboard, even a digital whiteboard.


If your company operates in a complex environment with multiple internal and external stakeholders, it can be confusing to start the conversation. Each department views the customer experience through its own siloed operation. It’s critical to break down these walls and lock hands on what the customer experience ecosystem really looks like.


Download our Customer Experience Ecosystem: Whiteboarding Jump Start for an easy to follow starting point and sample output from a session.


This simple tool will help everyone agree on several key questions:


  1. Who are our customers?
    • Few companies have the luxury of defining a customer as an end-user and often operate in a complex world of customer groups, users/buyers, and even channel partners. Uncover who they all are
  2. Why do they engage with us?
    • Each customer group has different needs, and it’s essential to understand each of them to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
  3. When do they expect a response or resolution when they contact us?
    • Response and resolution are vastly different, the call center may have answered a call about a delayed order, but the customer doesn’t see the issue as resolved until they have the product in hand.
  4. What technologies or systems are required?
    • Single platforms have been promising a 360-degree view of the customer for years, but in reality, it’s typically the combination of multiple technologies to create a holistic perspective.


Although these questions seem simple, they are the starting point for mapping the complex ecosystem. As an example, one client in Consumer & Industrial Products was able to develop the following ecosystem:



Identify key touchpoints across departments where the customer experience could be improved.


Are You Ready to Map Your Customer Experience Ecosystem?


If your current customer experience design feels disjointed, it’s likely because various departments have strung together customer journey maps without a cohesive understanding of the true operating environment. Marketing departments are poised to bring departments together to design a true customer experience ecosystem, but they must have buy-in across the organization. Collaborative workshops or whiteboarding sessions are a great way to ensure stakeholders are all on the same page.


Download our Customer Experience Ecosystem: Whiteboarding Jump Start to start the conversation today. If your discussion uncovers additional complexities, let our experts facilitate the discussion and kick start your customer experience transformation. Contact us to schedule time with one of our experts in the SBI Studio.


Download the Whiteboarding Jump Start Tool Here


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