Chief Information Officers

The New Normal: Customer Service is Giving Way to Customer Experience

Proactive and tailor made customer experience is all set to become imperative for businesses to succeed in this era of digital transformation

Rapid technology innovation has brought about a situation where digital disruption is the new normal – as once safe, stable, and secure traditional industries begin to fully acknowledge the scale, speed, breadth and depth of the impact of digital transformation.

As a result, internal silos are disintegrating as companies become flatter, more collaborative organisations. Tried and tested business models, responsible for decades of corporate growth, are now being reclassified as outdated, while cumbersome “set and forget” infrastructure gives way to new technologies. Enterprises everywhere are looking to re-define their businesses in the digital economy era.

The new normal

Today’s new normal is an environment where business customers expect a consumer like experience with personalised and tailored services delivered where they want, when they want and the way they want. Today’s customer demands dictate speed of action, rapidly changing requirements, bespoke offerings and all of it at scale. Customer service is giving way to customer experience – and it is technology that is making that possible.

From the boardroom to the production line, enterprise leaders are also now rapidly embracing a consumer like attitude. The demands of the consumer are now also the demands of the enterprise. Digital enterprises, built to deliver the personalised, anytime, anywhere, “just for you” service to their customers, are ramping up to keep up.

So how is technology transforming a service into an experience?

The current, traditional IT infrastructure, which helped build and sustain many businesses and business models is creaking. The big, heavy, expensive and inflexible “set and forget” technology is being swept away by software. And just as the iPhone and wearables have “atomised” the personal computer – software and hybrid cloud are rapidly displacing the datacentre.

The most precious of all gifts:

As software replaces hardware, it has returned a precious commodity to the business IT function – time.

While there is a longstanding debate about technology disrupting the workplace. Technology releasing and diverting resources, receives much less attention. Digital enterprise staff are not constrained by technology but empowered. By removing the inflexibility and unpredictability from traditional infrastructure, IT departments are now able to divert most of their attention away from operating and maintaining their infrastructure and focus on providing strategic advice and counsel to the business.

It frees minds. Traditional infrastructure was the exclusive domain of discrete specialists who often showed greater loyalty and allegiance to the product they maintained, than the company they served. They also promoted and revelled in the total obfuscation and ambiguity of the datacentre.

Cloud and software do away with all that, providing a less complex and much simpler user friendly environment. It requires less staff, freeing personnel to focus on providing a superior experience for internal customers and innovation and improvement for the business. As software reduces the need for siloed specialists, it enables the era of generalists. The technical knowledge required to operate, maintain and scale general workloads and applications is lowered. Out with silos, in with expansive minds. And we haven’t even got to the crux of the new customer experience yet.

Instant gratification

Because hyperconverged infrastructure is so simple, flexible, and scalable it is ideal for responding to the desire for bespoke solutions, expectations of consumer quality, and immediate response and gratification of the increasingly sophisticated and demanding customer. All of a sudden, new ideas or services can be developed, piloted and rolled out it in days instead of months and spikes or urgent demands can be mitigated or actioned immediately, even by the customer. Automation of the first line service can reduce escalation calls radically.

It gets even more exciting when you add in new technologies like AI and ML. Now the system can proactively alert of impending issues, while reducing escalation calls by even more. As the customer changes – so does the automation, analytics, and intelligence. Matching the customer at every stage and anticipating their every request.

The setting sun

The demand for enterprises to consumerise is accelerating and traditional and inflexible infrastructure is already struggling to keep up. Like the dreadnoughts of old, a worthy steadfast technology, is silently falling to the side, replaced by a more responsive, simple flexible, and capable replacement.

It is this new enterprise infrastructure that will drive the future of the digital enterprise. As our dependency on data increases the ability to connect, access, interpret, manage and amend will become even greater.

As we embrace even more new ways of doing business – the need for simplicity and flexibility in a complex and cluttered digital world will only increase. Our reliance on simple, secure and flexible technology to accommodate this digital solar system of hardware, technology, software, applications and operating systems – will become total.

Get ready for the consumerisation of the enterprise

Customer service has transformed over the past decade, but it will be nothing compared to customer experience leap we are about to undertake as proactive and tailored customer experience is set to become the norm.

To accommodate this paradigm shift, companies will need to realign to deliver – and that will begin with re-evaluating and re-designing their current technology and infrastructure to prepare for tomorrow.

The consumer experience is now coming to business customers – the question is are businesses ready?

 

 

 

 

By Neville Vincent, Vice President, ASEAN, India, ANZ, Nutanix

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