Customer experience is undergoing a paradigm shift. New methods and technologies are transforming businesses’ relationships with their customers, giving them the tools to anticipate behaviour and deliver an unprecedented level of service.
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Getting started on your digital transformation journey
Although the opportunities are endless, putting together a roadmap can be daunting. A good starting point would be to strip things back and simply ask the question: what do my customers actually want?
“It’s about making life easier for the customer,” says Brendan Dykes, Director of Product Marketing at Genesys. He goes on to explain that we all want our interactions with businesses to be simple, and that a business’s job is to ensure that, whatever customers want to achieve, that “they can do it in the most straightforward way possible”.
For Alexander Michael, Director of Consulting at Frost & Sullivan, another key aspect is proving to customers how well you know them. “As a customer, I want to feel loved,” he says. “I want the organisations I do business with to know me and to show that they know me.”
Once you know what your customers want, the next step is look at the solutions on the market – of which, in the fast-paced age of digital innovation, there are many.
“I would say start by doing your homework,” Dykes advises. He goes on to explain how you need to understand where your business is, what you are trying to do, and what are the problems, issues, and benefits of what you’re trying to achieve.
Noelia Romanillos, Director of Strategic Business Consulting EMEA at Genesys, emphasises the importance of fully utilising technology. She says that by implementing the latest innovations, “we have the potential to understand context, to analyse tons of insights, and based on that, drive the right outcomes.”
Both of these insights are echoed by Michael, who warns that “technology itself sets expectations”. As the technological arms race surges, the bar is raised ever higher, putting pressure on businesses to either innovate or be left behind.
Overcoming the challenges on your transformation journey
Customer experience is going through a revolution. Technology is ushering in a new age of opportunity, enabling businesses to drive customer relationships that are closer and more profitable than ever before.
Transformation may seem daunting – change always is. But by knowing where other businesses have found pain points and understanding how you can avoid them, you can ensure your journey is as seamless as possible.
“What I see are organisations implementing a piece of new technology because it’s easy, but failing to create a customer experience that is joined up,” says Alexander Michael, Director of Consulting at Frost & Sullivan. He goes on to explain how legacy systems – usually business-critical applications – are often not properly integrated with new technology, resulting in a disjointed experience that falls short of customer expectations.
Michael also explains the problem with having a strategy that’s too centrally led. These organisations “fail to take input from the lines of business who really understand what it takes to improve the experience of customers.” Arbitrary targets become the endgame rather a tool to measure success, and projects can drift away from focusing on the customer.
For Brendan Dykes, Director of Product Marketing at Genesys, the biggest mistakes companies make relate to not taking a holistic approach. “Silos are dangerous places to play,” he warns. “Too many organisations don´t realise silos are creating a danger to their customer experience.”
Dykes goes on to explain the importance of finding the right expertise. While there is lots of information online, “there are also experts out there who can help in other ways – whether it’s an organisation like Genesys, or whether it’s an independent consultant, they can come along and give you advice.”
Another challenge businesses have to overcome is assigning roles and responsibilities – the most important naturally being who drives a project.
“It starts with the executive sponsorship,” advises Noelia Romanillos, Director of Strategic Business Consulting EMEA at Genesys. “Without having the right empowerment from the top, none of these programmes are ever going to happen.”
Dykes agrees. “It is about ensuring the people at the top understand it is ultimately their responsibility,” he says.
He goes on to talk about responsibilities around licensing, noting that in the future, subscription models will be far more common. Today’s consumers expect to pay for things as they use them, and the software industry is catching up with the trend quickly. Some partners – including Genesys – are now flexible enough to offer solutions on both a licence and subscription basis, giving businesses more choice than ever before.
Know your customer: transforming CX through technology
Technology is having a seismic impact on customer experience. But despite the excitement surrounding transformation, change shouldn’t happen for change’s sake. Before businesses can truly put a digital plan into action, it’s vital to properly understand their customers’ behaviour.
“Behaviour is convenience and context-driven – that’s the strongest trend I’ve seen,” says Alexander Michael, Director of Consulting at Frost & Sullivan. “Everything that we have ever known about segmentation can go out the window because customers change persona – even during a single day – based on convenience.” The fact is that customers’ preferences for channels and devices are so influenced by day-by-day, moment-by-moment context, that they can no longer be mapped by traditional means.
Another behavioural trend is heightened expectations. “Not in terms of luxury,” Michael continues. “It’s more about information and knowledge.” Many organisations find themselves in situations where customers phone contact centres knowing more about products, promotions, and issues than the operator – not an ideal situation from a customer experience viewpoint.
So, given these trends, how can technology help?
“If you offer something that customers perceive as irrelevant, they’ll be incredibly annoyed,” says Noelia Romanillos, Director of Strategic Business Consulting EMEA at Genesys. “What you want to do is offer customers what they need, exactly when they need it.”
Brendan Dykes, Director of Product Marketing at Genesys, agrees. “Through the power of AI and machine learning, we are able to tailor experiences as they change throughout the day,” he says. Whether it be a service request or assistance making a purchase, “technology can provide recommendations, engagements, and interactions with customers that are personalised to their specific needs.”
He continues: “Technology is going to bring a much more fluid experience, where the boundaries between the organisation and the customer are going to become blurred.”
When asked for his final thoughts, Dykes advises: “Think big but start small.” While it’s always good to be ambitious, breaking your roadmap into small, actionable steps is the best way to implement real change. This is echoed by Romanillos, who closes with a reminder to stay focused on business outcomes. “At the end of the day,” she says, “technology is a means to an end.