When it comes to delivering the best Customer Experience (CX), we are now working in a world where we need to adhere to automation-first thinking. We must realise that AI alone does not bring value, but in the intelligent application and integration of it, especially understanding when it is right to bring in the human agent. Voice is on the rise, as we find new ways to access information, screen and hands-free.
The pace is fast, the demands are high and businesses, from e-commerce to finance, have expectations from their customers to provide the best in service and experience.
So, what is the most important thing a business can do to retain customers, increase the bottom line and deliver consistent results...?
Understanding The Challenges
Whether our clients are from the automotive or retail world, government to finance, they all share similar goals and face similar challenges with their Customer Experience needs.
Some of the top drivers for investing in Customer Experience range from; low customer retention, decrease in sales, overwhelmed call centres, losing business to competitors, to tarnished brand image from legacy CX. The list is not exhaustive, but we are presented with similar challenges, as the majority of research relies on the same metrics to measure customer success (CSAT).
Reasons to invest in how you manage your customers:
- Increase sales
- Increase customer retention
- Enhance your brand image
- Gain a competitive advantage
- Manage costs and call centre capacity
- Reduce churn
As we well know, a poor customer experience will lead to low customer retention (41%) or a decrease in sales (39%)*, so your business growth depends on taking the necessary steps to make it better.
In fact, in the same Forrester* study, more than "one-third of Enterprise businesses (37%) stated they are investing in better CX" because they have been losing out to competitors.
What exactly are businesses doing to improve their CX and protect the bottom line?
The Most Common Mistake Made...
It comes at no surprise that companies struggle to create a streamlined and efficient CX system.
More often that not, businesses begin to use off-the-shelf products, (which can excel in specific areas), and are bolted together. When this happens, it is not possible to create a seamless journey needed for the customer or business. In addition, these stitched-together products require additional internal support and other hidden costs, resulting in an ineffective and more costly solution, (rather then the low-price option that was the original objective).
This issue is created because many of these products are best suited to single-channel customer service. When you are an omnichannel business who have different needs, by using these off-the-shelf solutions, merely results in sticking plasters on cracks. It muddies the water, doesn't deliver what you need, and won’t hold out long-term.
We also see issues where, even if budgets have been increased, companies may have poured that money into silos, further exacerbating their issues.
Other challenging Enterprise CX tasks include*:
- Translating data into a consistent format (51%);
- Responding in real-time to customer needs (44%); and
- Creating omnichannel experiences (43%).
Solution: A Cohesive Strategy
In order to meet these challenges, businesses must increase their focus on creating a cohesive customer journey – and we can promise this pays off! Getting to grips with the customer journey is a key attribute for businesses with a high-quality CX.
Having a strategy working across your entire business, at scale, may seem out of reach, but re-imagining your operations and working to build some fundamental technological foundations are the key to success, now and for the future.
When it comes to it, we want to help orchestrate seamless, personalised experiences, and the tools and resources necessary to creating a successful CX solution must be considered together, as a whole.
For example, we may fully encourage clients to create cross-functional teams to address CX challenges: spreading budgets across departments to create a more integrated CX plan. (No more battling organisational silos that stand in your way!). We may facilitate data handling when migrating to new systems, or ensure seamless integration into legacy systems. We may encourage the use of AI and machine-learning at certain touchpoints. Using data, we can assess high-level journeys, then focus on defining moments in the micro-journeys. Our solutions architects can then isolate, quantify, model, and track the potential opportunities to improve CX, operational efficiency. Businesses can also test a wide variety of journey hypotheses in near-real-time, and eventually determine the most successful combinations of interactions and meet their business goals.
No matter what the strategy entails, the entire process is, and must be, considered as one.
Sadly, we don’t have a magic ‘Lokulus AI crystal ball’, but we can share a few things we know to be true for now, and make some insight-based predictions for the future.
Some things won’t change, (any time soon at least!)
- Customer Experience still reigns supreme
- Employee Experience we be a major influence on CX
- Flawless CX is a huge influence of make purchasing decisions
- Delivering a consistent, high-quality customer experience is fundamental in today’s marketplace
And what next…?
- The change in human behaviour from the global pandemic has accelerated and created pressure for better CX solutions
- Customer Experience must become a key part of Business Operations
- Real-time analytics will become a must-have for businesses
- E-commerce/Retail and finance industries must step-up to the global increase in engagements
- Customer feedback, assigning real responsibilities and treating CX as an on-going need is essential
- Customer-Agent communications must be seamless in language and tone
- Creation of an “Empathy Toolkit” we all need in CX – from the creators to the users
- Leaders in the future will prioritise emotional journey in CX and align this in respect to hiring, training and empowering their own employees
- Customers will not tolerate out-dated technology, processes or communications.
- Customers understand so much more than they ever did
The above list is just a small snapshot of the needs of the future - it’s not an extra part of doing business, but a part of doing business well.
We know customer experience will continue to grow and change and evolve, along with the leaders in the industry, and, for Businesses, it’s an exciting time to step up to the challenges we face, and deliver the best in CX.
It’s safe to say that staying ahead of the curve is essential if you want to have the advantage for the future and the time to start to improve and adapt, is now.
*Statistics from Forrester Opportunity Snapshot | 2020