Smooth connectivity and the easy availability of digital tools these days have changed our lives to a great extent-including the ways we connect and interact with brands. Instant gratification has become the new norm in today’s world, which means if you don’t have your finger on the customers’ pulse, then chances are that your consumer will not hesitate a bit in turning his/her back on you as well. Customer-centricity, on the other hand, can get you loyalty, repeat business, profits and most importantly help you get an edge over your competitors.
A McKinsey study concluded that companies that can consistently deliver a high-quality customer experience(CX) can improve their customer satisfaction level by 33 percent while creating cost savings of around 25-30 percent. On the other hand, disruption at any given point in a customer journey could impact the overall customer experience, and could further impact the revenue side of their business.
While, it’s not difficult to assume why CX has become a key focus of businesses today, but providing a seamless, consistent, and personalized experience can be challenging and CX solution providers are looking for new innovative ways to deal with it. There’s no doubt that the adoption of omni-channel services have been able to let customers connect seamlessly with the businesses. But the challenges are not limited to technology, disparate systems, and data only. We often miss the most critical element- the humans- who are entrusted with the task of interacting with the customers. Hence, when businesses look to embrace a customer-centric culture by putting customers front and centre of their business strategy, they need to strategize their CX-related investments carefully and understand how it affects the entire ecosystem.
The good news is that things are now changing faster with exciting new innovations and developments in this realm. Gartner predicts that more than 50pc of organizations will redirect their investments towards CX innovations by 2018, as they see value in using them to improve every customer interaction.
MAKING THE BUSINESS CASE:
Superior customer experience is the holy grail for organizations focused on driving sustainable growth and competitive differentiation. But, it can get a bit tricky if they fail to contextualize and align their CX investments with customer pain points and with growth opportunities. Vivian Gomes, VP & Head of Marketing, CSS Corp said, “In my view, organizations should adopt an agile and an incremental approach towards digitalizing processes involved in customer lifecycle management. This is not a big bang theory. Making the transformation towards digital enabled CX has to start with driving a strong data-driven culture in the organization. One can start with low hanging fruit and ensure the data from customer touch points is efficiently captured and leveraged across the customer journey. Organizations should create a credible mechanism to streamline data and build customer intelligence models to improve customer experience. Appropriate investments towards tools, technology and strong analytics are must to ensure a sustained transition towards the end state. This can result in sustainable growth and enable organizations to confidently increase investments in innovation in CX projects.”
Raghu Polisetty, MD-Global Digital Delivery Lead, Accenture Advanced Technology Centers said, “Challenge in establishing a financial case for customer experience investment may, however, lie in a structured and disciplined approach to implement the overarching service/ customer experience design and selecting the right combination of customer journeys curated for targeted persons, data from real-life behaviour and new technologies to change the negative interaction experience to positive, and while doing all this, not losing the sight of the long-term goal of being a modular and agile firm which can shift constantly to new technology enablers. These choices are best determined by the business strategy driving the investments and in line with the outcomes expected.”
DEALING WITH CHALLENGES:
Businesses have been resorting to newer technologies to deliver transformative customer experiences, however, they are facing various challenges every now and then.
“Rich and sticking customer experience is the aspiration for all digital transformation of enterprises today. While it is tough, it is not impossible. It requires an enormous amount of attention to detail, understanding of customers, and balancing the long-term and short-term strategy. Most importantly, enterprises need to ensure that they set an organizational culture of evolving and adopting new insights and feedback that they get from their consumers. Most often enterprises are slowed down due to shifting technology trends, the speed at which data and insights are getting generated and a fragmented partner network (in case of B2B). They are also constrained by not having the right talent in-house, who can truly see the customer experience across channels and mediums, and understand which of them employs the power of latest technologies like artificial intelligence, voice-enabled experiences, contextual and real-time-based offer/ decision management systems to bring hyper-focused experiences,” said Polisetty. Accenture advises enterprises to adopt an innovation and digital-driven business model, to be able to address these challenges.
Raj Mruthyunjayappa, Managing Director, Talisma Corporation and Campus Management Corporation (EMEA and APAC) said, “CX sounds great as a concept, but the real challenge lies in the actual implementation part of it. Creating just a CX platform is of no good if you have not redefined your processes and repurpose the people around it. People need to think very differently for creating a holistic experience for a customer and a different level of empowerment is needed to make CX strategy or solutions work. Hence, an effective change management process is very important to drive people to think differently, handling the processes well, and get them to the destination. And, the job does not even end there. When you are changing something keeping the consumers in mind, it becomes equally important for you that your consumers understand that and get used to that change.”
Pavan Chandra, Senior Sales Director-CX Applications, Oracle India said, “Though challenges differ depending upon various factors, some of them include deciding on the correct time to deploy; defining budget and ROI; understanding the mix of legacy and new technology, etc.”
Oracle works collaboratively with customers to develop a holistic understanding of their businesses, KPIs and their pain points.
SCOPES FOR EMERGING TECH:
The convergence of emerging technologies like AI, Automation, and Analytics is poised to unleash the next wave of disruption in almost all areas of any business and that includes CX as well. Immersive technologies such as AR/VR- which are at the cusp of wide adoption as well as IoT, and AI-powered virtual assistants—offer the potential to transform the customer experience while reducing the cost for benefit of businesses.
Accenture Tech Vision 2017 report said that AI will gradually become the face and key differentiator of every digital brand, delivering value at each connection made.
The report said that moving beyond a back-end tool for the enterprise, AI is taking on more sophisticated roles within technology interfaces these days. AI is collaborating across experiences and channels behind-the-scenes to accomplish tasks and guide actions towards the best outcome. AI is becoming the new UI (user interface), underpinning people’s transactions and interactions with systems.
CSS Corp has created Yodaa, an AI-based support platform that could help companies reimagine its customer engagement ecosystem. The philosophy behind this approach is to identify the customer’s next best action, infuse actionable insights in to support operations and drive new revenue opportunities.
Accenture is driving some of the new technologies out of the Labs into real-world environments for customers and enterprises which will not only make it incredibly easy for brands to reach out to the intended audience, but also in some areas, include a big segment of people who are left out because of various reasons of reach, affordability or complexity of current systems.
Oracle’s recently introduced suite of Adaptive Intelligent applications is focused on applying customer insights derived from AI to the transformation of customer experience. Data, too, is playing a significant role through this transformation starting from providing insights about consumer behaviour through analytics, to helping businesses to tailor the user experience. Marketing teams can leverage the amalgamation of data and emerging technologies not only to improve the customer experience but also to deliver customer experience in a creative and innovative way.
CX solution providers are investing heavily on emotion recognition technologies as well. The payoffs are really exciting. Because, insights into what impacts customer emotions, not only helps businesses to take better business decisions, improve product and service offerings, but also help in winning customer loyalty by building better experiences for them.