Finding Hidden Revenue with the Forgotten Customer

Finding Hidden Revenue with the Forgotten Customer

Written by guest blogger Matt Sullivan, Regional Director – West at Akumina

After spending almost 20 years working in web content management I’ve seen much change in that time. At first, a CMS was largely a tool to streamline day-to-day operations for an IT tasked with making changes as requested by other groups in the organization.

…the CMS became less about content management and more about experience management.

Then web site management transitioned to being owned by a marketing team. The biggest shift that happened is that the CMS became less about content management and more about experience management.

Savvy marketers would use these tools to build and test ideas with the hopes that a better experience for the customer turned into more conversions and dollars for the company.

Between the smart marketers, progressive agencies, and cutting-edge software platforms, there have been amazing leaps from the nascent days when a CMS just allowed someone to type words into a box instead of modifying HTML.

Through all this, the goal was always to find the “lost customer.” This was the model of the missed lead or the abandoned cart. How do you use all the amazing brains and tools at your disposal to get that person to click submit?

Ironically, many of the agencies and software companies behind the customer experience movement had some of the most benign site experiences, themselves. It was almost a joke, often with some quip about the cobbler’s kids having no shoes.

If you are unfamiliar with the idiom, it is meant to imply that a shoemaker had no time to make shoes for his children because he was too busy making shoes for customers. The idea is that revenue production always trumps housekeeping.

By seeing the business itself as a customer, there was a remarkable shift in the approach taken towards site development and resource allocation.

The majority of the customer experience platform companies where I worked were victims of this mentality. As a salesperson, it was painful to not be able to use our website as an example of the power of our tools.

The one company where we drank our own champagne had a marketing team focused on helping the business customer. By seeing the business itself as a customer, there was a remarkable shift in the approach taken towards site development and resource allocation.

Suddenly, the needs of the business were prioritized alongside the needs of the paying client. This all came about because one day a VP of the sales organization referred to his team as “the forgotten customer.”

While on a call recently with an Akumina prospect, the IT project management kept referring to the HR organization driving the employee experience project as the “customer.” For this company, IT viewed all other departments as customers, and the budget they provided to IT as revenue. This was how things were prioritized for resources and timelines.

It made me realize that for many companies, the employee is the forgotten customer. Often the idea of a new intranet is sidelined in favor of customer-facing site, or upgrades to product delivery infrastructure. Whatever it may be, the tools that could help employees fall by the wayside.

It’s easy to understand why: the ROI of marketing activities is easily calculated. Pump $X into a campaign or platform that produces $X+Y and you get a positive return. Put that money into a project with no direct path to increased revenue and it’s a hard argument.

[Banner Health’s] new Banner Connect employee experience deployment will save the company $6.2 million annually.

Thankfully there are examples like Banner Health. Their recent Akumina case study states that their new Banner Connect employee experience deployment will save the company $6.2 million annually. This may not be new money in the door, but it will keep money in the bank to fund those marketing activities.

Next time there’s a meeting (or Zoom call) about getting that lost customer, realize that it may help to first focus on the forgotten customer.

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