Ongoing changes in consumer demand and technology are forcing organisations of all sizes and industries to adapt the way they work. Many have introduced customer experience as a function and discipline to better understand the needs of consumers and improve customer journeys and touchpoints with their brands.

To get closer to the consumer, customer experience teams often leverage voice-of-the-customer programmes, surveys, and research to surface key consumer insights and areas for experience improvement.

The siloed approach of many news media companies thwarts customer experience efforts.
The siloed approach of many news media companies thwarts customer experience efforts.

However, what happens next is a common pitfall of many organisations: These customer journey requirements fall into disparate team siloes, subject to varying departmental prioritisation and criteria. While some parts of the journey may be delivered and optimised (for example, the user interface of an online account page), downstream touchpoints and backlogs in backend systems and data may still complicate the experience and cause persistent end-user and team frustration.

While customer experience programmes help to improve organisational empathy and visibility into customer needs, the real mark of a customer-centric organisation is not simply customer listening alone. Rather, it’s the way in which strategy, processes, people, technology, and structure all pivot and align to proactively focus on the consumer and more nimbly react to their evolving needs.

After all, customers cut across traditional organisational siloes, so why don’t we?

To approach customer experience in a more impactful way, organisations must also improve their agility and ways of working. And while agile certainly isn’t new in business (or even in media and publishing), the concepts of rapid iteration — of constantly listening and adapting to customer feedback and improved collaboration over siloes and hierarchy — should extend far beyond the world of technical developers and digital platforms. It should apply to the entire ecosystem and customer lifecycle that includes R&D, newsrooms, marketing, product, customer service, and distribution.

Given that most customer journeys are cross-functional, organisations can begin to identify improvement opportunities and test various cross-functional, team-based approaches that improve responsiveness, empathy, and customer culture.

For media and publishing companies, the time for agile ecosystems and organisational disruption is now. With traditional print subscription business models waning and media platforms and formats changing — all in competition for consumer attention — companies should look to agile cross-functional teams to explore and launch new products and business models. These will be better able to deliver not just an improved customer experience, but true customer and organisational transformation.