The objective of most businesses is to make a profit. In a highly competitive market, the key to increased profit is to not only attract customers, but to engage them, and to retain them.
Today, many customers interact with businesses digitally, shopping online. Customers don’t just need to find a product that fulfils their needs, they also need to enjoy their experience so that they bring repeat custom and spread the word. With so much competition out there, how does an organisation provide an enjoyable digital experience for prospective customers?
Central to that experience is a Content Management System (CMS), and purchasing the right one can make or break a business. The trouble is that customers have high expectations, and the organisation needs to meet or excel them
What does a CMS need to do to?
It needs to deliver the right content at the right time to the right person and in the right context. The form of that content needs to be usable no matter what device is used to access it. Consideration therefore needs to be given to accessibility, ensuring that the customer’s experience via PC, tablet, or smart phone, is comparable. No-one should be at a disadvantage just because of the device they choose; otherwise their custom will be lost.
Consideration also needs to be given to the channels people use to access information; for example, the Web, email, telephone, and social media. A CMS needs to support both the digital channels a customer might use, together with supporting the needs of business units across the organisation, in sales, marketing, and call centres.
Usability of a CMS is seen as a key requirement, but many such systems fail on this point alone. The right software is therefore vital. Products such as Sharepoint can make the task easier. The right supplier of the CMS will also work closely with the organisation to analyse their needs in order to customise the product to fulfil those specific requirements. They will get to know the business inside out, and support it and its staff as the business grows.
Perhaps one of the most crucial roles in determining the user experience is that of the content creator. They determine the needs of the target audience, the mix of media to use to reach out to that audience, and the content to attract and engage them with. Key to the CMS then is usability for content authoring, previewing and publishing. Since there is usually more than one content creator, flexible and easily created workflows encouraging best practice are vital. Content must be delivered seamlessly in the right format and to any device or platform, and the right tools facilitate this.
The CMS also needs to grow and evolve as market needs change, expectations grow, and technology evolves. Customer facing digital products and services need to be useful, usable, engaging, interactive, and fit for purpose. Designers and developers are important in ensuring that this is the case, as is the use of both built-in and integrated third party tools.
The CMS is therefore the hub of the user experience, and all the stakeholders need to work together to have a collective view of the whole, ensuring that the CMS delivers what they and the customers want.