It’s hard to ignore the way that business is moving towards a world that is both customer-driven and digital-first.
As a customer myself, I know I’m increasingly demanding. I don’t make things easy. I use a range of channels. My preferences are constantly evolving, based on what I need, and are influenced by new technologies. And I expect my service providers to know me, interact with me, where and when I choose, and give me an experience to remember.
With my business hat on, it’s clear, more than ever, that customer experience is now the benchmark when choosing between brands.
Our own customers tell me they are looking to transform costs, improve customer experiences and generally maximise employee collaboration. Some are completely rethinking their business models. They understand that evolution and continuous improvement are key. That it isn’t easy, but it pays off.
To start, they are looking to understand trends and best practice approaches.
We conducted some research with the Economist Intelligence Unit, to pick the brains of CEOs from global corporations and get a view of what’s on their minds. And here’s what we found:
CEOs see the digital experience as key to satisfying customers and acquiring new ones. But they say it’s also constantly evolving, as they are faced with new challenges in the security space, a lack of technology skills and customer insight.
It goes without saying that the primary goal for most of the CEOs was to increase operational efficiency. And they are making head way. Customers are more than willing to use telephone, online and mobile services. However, on the flip side, they increasingly expect their digital interactions to be underwritten by human contact. Especially when things go wrong or a transaction proves too complicated to manage through purely digital channels. Customers want to contact a real person, who can help.
This raises the question: what’s the right mix of self-service/automation (economical but efficient) and human intervention (expensive but highly valued by customers)?
The focus on providing a seamless, omni-channel customer experience stood out. In reality that means transforming all the touchpoints in the customer journey — including the contact centre and all the other physical and digital touchpoints.
Focusing on automation and self-service gives end customers more independence, while driving down costs. And proactive contact means businesses are making use of the data they’re undoubtedly collecting, and using it to engage with their customers at key points.
It’s clearly an exciting time to be digitising businesses; some of the technology out there is incredibly powerful. My initial recommendation is to take the time to understand your current customer journey, and the way your customers are behaving. Find your strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities. And whatever you find, make sure you do something.
Read our white paper, ‘The digital customer: Closing the expectation gap through digital transformation’, to learn, not just why a digital customer experience is important, but also how to drive tangible efficiencies. We also explore four steps to building a wraparound digital experience — starting with defining existing customer journeys and ending with analysing customer interactions to ensure continuous improvement.