How Tech Can Modernize Customer Experience (CX)
Why Customer Experience (CX) matters
Whereas in previous decades most enterprises focused on product and operational excellence, today business success is all about customer satisfaction, in both B2C and B2B. Closely related to customer satisfaction is the customer experience, or CX for short. Most of today’s business leaders consider CX their company’s biggest differentiator. Of course, CX can go both ways and present either a competitive advantage or a significant detriment, when executed incorrectly. Let’s dive into how modern companies can make a difference in the life of customers, while accomplishing ambitious business goals.
The eternal importance of customers
If the term ‘Customer Experience’ sounds very broad or ambiguous, it’s because it covers a wide range of policies, guidelines, or behaviors which govern a company’s interactions with its most important stakeholders – the buyers of its products or services. Whether you call them your customers, consumers, or clients – they all have something in common – they can make your break your company in a short amount of time by choosing you over the competition, or vice versa.
While all this may sound obvious, surprisingly, the customer experience is often overlooked or entirely forgotten by corporate leadership. In the single-minded focus on creating the most innovative, state-of-the-art products or services, serving those who matter most gets pushed down the priority ladder, to be revisited at some indefinite time in the future. In 2020, ignoring the customer and their experience with your company can come at a hefty price, nevertheless.
What’s in a Customer Experience strategy?
Before you can devise a successful, profitable CX, you need to take the time to really understand your customers. What are their goals, challenges, aspirations, frustrations and wishes? How does your product or service help alleviate these challenges and empower them to reach their goals? How do they feel while and after using your product or service?
Common sense says that what you offer should improve your customers’ lives in some way – professionally, personally, or both. Furthermore, to win over your competition, you need to do a better job at this task. You need to demonstrate that not only do you understand your customers’ pain points, but you also care about resolving them, thus helping them feel certain about their choice of provider. All this comprises what we refer to as a Customer Experience strategy.
Building a successful CX
If your company doesn’t have an established CX strategy yet, we recommend working on devising one to guide all your teams and departments along the path of providing differentiating service and care that will make a difference to your customers over time. Building a successful CX strategy is no trivial task – it needs to permeate all operations of your business, from manufacturing, transport and logistics to marketing, customer service, and after-sales care. This is because customer interactions take place at numerous touchpoints today, so there are many opportunities to delight or disappoint your most important stakeholders. This concept is, of course, in stark contrast to the outdated belief that only customer service departments deal with customers and should pay attention to pleasing them.
How technology can help enhance CX
Because customer experience rarely follows a linear path, devising a successful strategy is also rarely a straight-forward process. Customer experience begins the first time a prospect looks up your company on Google or visits your website and – when done well – never truly ends, as a satisfied customer will keep returning for more business. Therefore, when building your strategy, you need to start from the bottom up – considering all possible customer touchpoints, (online and offline), and modernizing those with the help of technology.
Once the business logic to support enhanced customer experiences and journeys has been agreed on, the choice of technology becomes easier. IoT, VR/AR, artificial intelligence and automation can all help you build extraordinary CX – from an initial Facebook or website chatbot interaction to learning how to use your product and service, getting help with a technical issue, or phasing out usage / recycling it properly.
Carefully devising each step of the customer experience and selecting reliable and robust applications to support them, is essential to success. Reviewing user journeys, interactions, and documentation on a regular basis will ensure that there are no gaps in excellent service along the way. Finally, the importance of training employees in what superior CX means cannot be overstated – they are the face of your company at each interaction, and their behavior must be consistent with your strategy.
Steps to modernizing your customer relationships
When it comes to selecting the right software or development partner, it’s important to ensure that the technology follows your strategy, not the other way around. Often, a custom app solution is needed to address all your needs – or an add-on to your existing ERP solution. Compromising on the quality of the customer experience is a losing strategy in the long run – and we don’t recommend it.
In the next decade, the importance of CX personalization (the collection of product, service and customer care) will only grow, as innovation and product excellence becomes standardized. Investing in the right strategy, the corresponding tools and processes will pay off in the long run. Even though it may be costly and time-consuming to implement at first, it is an investment that any customer-focused, modern business should be prepared to make.