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How to Choose Really Great Service Providers for Customer Experience

Digital Clarity Group Launches a Voice of the Customer Program for Evaluating Service Providers

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Customer experience management initiatives can be extremely complex or relatively straightforward – ranging from transforming the customer experience and reinventing the strategic business processes that support business initiatives to implementing technologies such as a content management system or digital asset management that delivers content essential to customers. But whether the focus is writ large across the enterprise or constrained to a more tightly scoped technology implementation, the specter of failure always looms. Why? Because organizations often lack experience with CEM discipline and methodologies, responsibility for the initiative may be unclear, or project teams may have overlapping reporting lines, teams may have little or no experience in organizational change management, and technical staff may lack crucial skills for architecting and implementing key technologies. The list of potential problems and deficiencies goes on and on.

Companies usually realize they have limitations or issues that could negatively impact the success of the strategic initiative or technology implementation. To offset these issues and lower their overall risk, they routinely turn to service providers. For example, depending on the scope and focus of the initiative, organizations regularly involve service providers that could include one or a combination of management consultancies, advertising agencies, marketing communications and public relations firms, digital agencies, and systems integrators, as well as other types.

But here’s the problem: how do they know if the service provider they select will improve the outcome of their initiative? Not all service providers are created equal. Some are great at developing business transformation strategies and implementation plans but can’t deploy technical solutions. Some have impressive track records in one technology – say, e-commerce – but are expanding their practice into new areas and are still learning the adjacent technologies they are chasing. Some are, frankly, in over their heads; for example, digital agencies can tackle some of the most mind-blowing, boundary-expanding projects but then flounder with integration, development, and necessary systems deployment.

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