Technology is often touted as a means to simplify things but can also add complexity. As new tools, platforms, and capabilities blur the distinction between the physical and digital worlds, customer experiences become more complicated. When businesses acquire siloed technology solutions, such as for marketing or sales, the interdependencies between these functions are frequently overlooked. This overcomplicates the user experience and disregards technology’s larger potential benefits.
A unified strategy is perfect way to establish an enterprise-wide strategy for providing a continuous customer experience (CX). To accomplish this goal, it is necessary to integrate all customer-facing functions, including product marketing, commerce, sales, and service, preferably across a single unified data and experience platform. The entirety of the experience that a customer has with a company needs to be meticulously planned out in a manner that acknowledges and satisfies the customer’s needs in the here and now. In addition to this, insights that can be put to use should be extracted from these interactions.
Break Down Silos vs. Break Down Customer Experience
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll come across a contact centre that isn’t sitting on a gold mine of data. The challenge now isn’t about collecting a large enough data set, but rather making sure that data is actionable and freed from organisational silos in order to generate additional value streams.
The possibility of providing a unified CX has been thwarted by the continued existence of siloed data repositories for processes, systems, and customer information. Specifically, there are two main causes for this:
- When people talk about customer experience, they mostly talk about things that the customer sees, like a better website and a better mobile app. This doesn’t take into account optimizations of the whole process. Customers have to wait a long time for a solution because the backend, where the problem is, and the frontend, which deals with customers, are not connected.
- The traditional way of organising things is another reason by silos exist. Most large organisations are split up by function, such as operations, IT, marketing, etc., and each function has its own bubble and cost centre. This has a big effect on how teams work together and why the silos remain intact.
One of the most common examples of this is the amount of stock at a store. Imagine going to a store to buy something, only to find that it’s sold out. Worse yet, the staff doesn’t know when it will be back in stock, which irritates even the most loyal customers. This is a classic case of how siloed operations make it so that the front office can’t see what’s going on in the supply chain or in the back office.
Simply put, if a business wants to change its CX template, it needs to bring together its business and IT departments to make them work together.
Driving CX And EX Orchestration: A Comprehensive Culture Shift
“Data-driven” can’t just be a slogan. The next wave of business transformation will depend on turning “dark” data (data that companies collect but don’t use well) into “light” data in order to give customers and employees different experiences. This is not an easy problem, but many responses to the pandemic in the last 2 years has showed that silos are not as rigid as they once seemed and that collaboration enables more progress than not working together.
We have all called into our banks to report an issue with the website and/or the app. Consequently, we have received vague TATs and assurances from the agents after spending what seems an eternity navigating the IVR to find the right options. Now imagine a utopia, where the moment you call in, a representative who is already aware of the issue gives you detailed information and the time to resolution. This not only reduces your touch points and turnaround time, it also enhances your experience significantly
So, how can the leaders and their organizations go about eliminating pervasive siloes and driving wholesale transformation? Can you now gauge customer expectations of your products or services? Can it help you predict future market projections and drive growth? Can your CX program strengthen the trust and loyalty of your customers in your enterprise?
Yes, it involves shifting pre-existing operations holistically toward customer centricity and the overall ease of doing business through,
Enable cross-departmental context transfer and collaboration: This refers to the seemless flow of information from the backend to the frontend, which ensures that customers are kept in the loop at all times. Not only that it can helps enterprise combine data in new ways to unlock opportunities to give customers experiences that are both foresightful and very personalised. For instance, Scotiabank’s Global AI Platform supports the AI-driven technology C.MEE, which performs cross-channel (in-branch, over the phone, via mobile app and online) customer data analysis to provide customers with highly tailored banking services. These platforms are designed with teamwork in mind, so that employees from all levels of the business can work together to innovate and improve processes.
Calm customer anxiety through timely status transfer: While brands optimize their customer’s onsite journey to the hilt, once past the checkout, there is radio-silence. The order-fulfillment process is the most trying period for an online shopper. Their anxiety is palpable. Yet brands do very little to calm their buyers’ paranoia. Imagine submitting a request to a eCommerce website and receiving the message “Your order is being processed” as the only response. This hazy presentation of the status makes it difficult to understand where the customer stands with regard to the request they made. Customers will be able to receive better information that is pertinent to their needs if the backend process can be clarified on the frontend. It is a much better response that promotes transparency and transforms customer experience to say something like “We will get back to you on your order within 48 hours.”
Humanize CX through transparency: Today, the vast majority of companies are unable to differentiate their CX, leaving customers with a neutral attitude towards their brand. For instance, if a customer’s bank loan application is denied, the customer must be given clear feedback as to why the application was denied and what the customer can do to fix the problem. This led to consumer disengagement from the brand, which will have a negative impact not only on the company’s bottom line but also on its reputation. This can be fixed if customers are inspired to engage with the brand by enhancing process transparency to educate the customers at all decisions-levels and using data analytics to pre-empt customer issues thus reduce TAT and improve CX significantly.
Provide contextual help by anticipating customer needs: Exceptional customer experience goes beyond just connecting the dots between different channels and having contextual customer data. It’s all about understanding and anticipating a customer’s every need. Think about this world today, where many of us are working from home and we’re very reliant on the internet. Say there’s an outage or an issue in your area and your internet goes down. You don’t want to be at a spot where you’re going, “Oh my gosh, is it my router? Is it my connection? Is it my computer?” A great example of providing contextual help would be a telecom or an internet provider proactively reaching out through an email or an SMS to say “Hey, don’t worry, there’s an issue in your area. We know, and we’re working on it.”
Fostering Continuous Experimentation: Of course, all of this is not a one-time practice but part of a larger cultural shift. Improving inherent processes with analytics is the key to reducing friction and raising CX. If inefficient processes are retained, information roadblocks remain, context switches don’t happen, and customers end up getting the same outdated and irrelevant assistance. Enterprises should orchestrate a holistic business-IT merger to foster real change from within.
The Evolution of Customer Experience in a Silo-Free Future
Enterprises can foster and sustain the desired cultural shift with the implementation of a product-aligned operating model. Here, a “product” is defined as any digital capability that drives customer value. The organizational design must align business and IT to deliver value where the teams develop a close working relationship focused on joint accountability and faster feedback loops. The core tenet involves driving change management to steer the shift in organizational culture and mindset towards a purpose-led product-aligned operating model, focusing on customer centricity and continuous improvement.
For financial organizations that are accelerating digital transformation, rising costs and challenges with scaling digital adoption, and increasing the pace of innovation are chief impediments to offering a consistent and seamless CX. Here, adopting an outcome-centric approach with a product-centric mindset can be crucial to reducing TCO and increasing the speed of delivery, culminating in a higher focus on CX indices.
With the march of technology continuing unabated, leaders must be able to keep their businesses aligned with this evolution to remain sustainable and relevant. This means aligning resources with customer-centric priorities that are built around retaining customers by making them feel respected and valued. In other words, it translates to adopting modern, product-centric operational models. This will ensure that their businesses remain relevant and profitable in the fast-evolving landscape of customer expectations.
The article has been written by Ananth Subramanya, Executive Vice President, Digital Business Services, HCLTech