We’re often told that the best way to create advocacy and brand loyalty through business websites is by providing a vibrant, engaging customer experience. The benefits of creating compelling, timely content and making it available on multiple devices and across a number of platforms have been well documented. But is content creation and delivery only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to producing dynamic, customer-facing digital experiences?
As the diagram below suggests, it’s easy to look at the idea of creating an engaging customer experience as a simple, easy-to-achieve objective. What this point of view overlooks, however, is that, just as with the iceberg below, the ability to provide an engaging, high quality user experience is, in truth, a far more complex and layered task than it may, at first, appear.
Is Good Content Only the Tip of the Iceberg?
Of course, great content will always lie at the heart of any truly successful customer engagement, but it’s worth remembering that this is a well-worn path, and one that competitors are also highly likely to be familiar with. What this means is that businesses are increasingly finding themselves having to explore newer ways of building digital relationships with their customers.
Perhaps the most underestimated means of achieving this is by selecting the right content management system (CMS). At first glance, this may not sound like an obvious solution, but the fact remains that CMS selection is one of the most strategic technology decisions any business can make. What few realise is that, by selecting a CMS that does not provide a good fit with their objectives, businesses can struggle to attract, engage and retain customers. Indeed, it’s worth remembering that there’s no point in developing personalised, cutting-edge content if either you do not get it to the right customer, in the right channel, and in the right context.
Choosing the right CMS for you and your business ensures that this connection is made, through allowing compelling content to be shared through the right blend of design, usability, strategy and tonality. By connecting customers, and their experience of the website to the most suitable and relevant content creators, developers and systems for them and their message, businesses are not just driving engagement. They are also connecting them a superior digital experience. However, not all CMS are the same, and there are many that promise to deliver this experience, but fail.
So what is this ‘superior’ customer experience, and what does it comprise? For many, the customer experience is all about ‘what’ is delivered to customers in terms of content. They focus on what the content is, whether or not it is relevant and how well this content is received. However, it is also crucial to look further than that, to look ‘how’ the experiences are created.
But this is also key to a successful outcome, and it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that the customer experience is only a small part of the overall user experience itself. Indeed, the experience of the editor or content creator is also key when it comes to creating engaging websites. In the same way, developer and integrator experiences are just as important. They are all together ensuring a quick time-to-market, and a fast implementation of new features and functionalities that help marketers to provide state-of-the art online experiences for their customers.
Any CMS worth its salt must also provide these back-end users an excellent usability and user experience. Then they can deliver a great customer experience in the easiest way possible. Indeed, perhaps the principle reason that some companies struggle or fail to deliver the experience their customers are looking for is that the CMS simply doesn’t include all of the tools required to deliver it. There are so many web technologies evolving these days, that no CMS vendor can provide them all in the same quality the specialists can. To avoid this scenario, it is imperative that CMS users, from content creators and editors to developers, must be able to work with external best-of-breed tools and functions and incorporate all of them inside their CMS of choice in order to provide a worthwhile customer experience.
Put simply, great customer experiences are delivered when a CMS goes above and beyond what you might expect and instead acts as a hub or an integration platform. By integrating all of the best systems into one the CMS can allow for ease-of-use, efficiency and speed, at the back-end, and an enhanced experience for customers at the front-end.
Finding the right CMS partner for your business is vitally important, but don’t forget that no two businesses are the same. More than anything, it’s vital that the business has strong chemistry with the CMS vendor, and that both are aligned in their vision of what the customer experience should look like and how it is delivered.
Achieving success in selecting and implementing a CMS requires a strong, trusting relationship with the vendor or integration partner. They have to be approachable, supportive, and solution oriented. Finding the right CMS can be an investment for the future as long as the relationship is built on a continued exchange of value throughout the relationship.
Overall, it’s clear that content is a huge part of creating a positive customer experience, and one that plays a significant role in helping them to engage and appreciate your business and its brand. However, it’s also only one small component of providing a truly superior customer experience, and one that needs to work as part of an integrated CMS if its effects to be maximised.
Today, while it’s still true to say that without the right content, even the best CMS could struggle, it’s also true that it’s only one of a number of considerations. If content really is only the tip of the iceberg for successful engagement, then perhaps more focus is needed on the other aspects that lie beneath the surface? What’s clear is that although they might not be immediately visible, all elements of the CMS play an equally important role in delivering memorable, lasting and impactful experiences for customers and businesses alike.
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