Customer experience is the feeling that every customer takes away after every interaction with a brand. It is the moment of truth that can make or mar your brand’s image. A strong customer experience has proved significant results in terms of consumers, sales, and loyalty. But many consumer-facing organizations struggle to find the way out to achieve the same in a world severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic that continue to reshape the customer behavior and their needs.

The challenges in these uncertain times are unprecedented. First, the companies must understand and anticipate which customer trends and patterns will endure over the longer term. Second, they should adapt and elevate the customer experience in the next normal, replacing or complementing their traditional customer service. Third, companies must build safety into their customer experience strategy in the near term, providing contactless solutions that matter most to customers.

CX technologies have been around for two decades. But if you still struggle to meet the customer needs, it is due to six reasons:

  • You have under-invested in digital transformation to address the core business needs and continued to operate legacy systems on dated technology.
  • CX leaders were too focused on short-term gains rather than building long-term foundations, supported by core infrastructure and key processes.
  • Silo’ed legacy infrastructure and a lack of cohesive customer data across the organization
  • Misalignments and additional complexities due to lack of integration between communications channels in a multi-channel environment.

It seems that the world will never go back to the way it was. COVID-19 has completely altered customer experience (CX) and the customers have largely endured the new reality -- out of stocks, delayed deliveries, long wait times, short staffed, and adjusted hours, knowing full-well the forces that companies face. But for companies, it is their turn to think ahead about how they will serve customers and ensure the transition to newly changed customer behavior.

At this point, CX is not only about creating a seamless customer experience through different channels, but also the ability to integrate services and understand their existing or potential consumer in order to effectively deal with this challenge. Enterprises need to clearly know who their customers are, their preferences and prejudices, habits and patterns to ensure CX solution is mapped to their needs.

What do successful companies do right about their CX?

1. A customer-first approach

All unprecedented situations call for organizations to understand evolving consumer and community needs, and react to them – first and fast. Companies, focusing on customer experience with a customer-first approach during uncertain times, have a better opportunity to nurture and likely to retain them in the long-term, when the crisis ends. This means both reassuring their customers and also adapting quickly to provide the right products, services and solutions where appropriate.

2. Moving to the Cloud

To accommodate the growing customer expectations and enable 24/7 seamless customer support, companies should standardize and unify customer communications across multiple communication channels. As the remote work culture kicks in with the spread of the virus, there is simply no way that organizations with traditional on-premise facilities can provide an ‘always-on’ customer service that consumers are increasingly coming to expect. To deliver this, they should migrate their operations completely to the Cloud, boosting the functionalities of the organization as a whole.

3. Enabling remote work

Once the organization has implemented Cloud technology to ensure business continuity and allow rapid expansion of organizations’ capacity to handle such surge in demand, it should enable employees with the tools and necessary devices to do their jobs remotely, ensuring that they can communicate and collaborate with customers as well as colleagues.

Communication and collaboration capabilities such as phone, video, chat, email, collaborative workspaces, desktop sharing, and directory services enable employees to find and share information they need to do their jobs. It is also critical to implement workforce optimization (WFO), analytics and quality assurance capabilities to monitor and gauge employee performance for tracking how their activities influence the ability to attain desired results across key performance indicators (KPIs).

4. Bridging the data silos

Successful organizations understand the need to break down silos between different functions that may have developed over time and generate a culture of customer-centricity group wide. Moving to a new customer experience paradigm, and providing cohesive experiences, means creating a single view of the customer across the organization.

5. Integrate consolidated CRM systems

Successful organizations consolidate CRMs and integrate with social media. They integrate various disparate CRM systems into a single solution that can underpin the new customer experience paradigm. The key to addressing this need for integration is the adoption of open, standards-based technology solutions, which are more customizable, cost effective and proven in mature markets.

6. Viewing the enterprise as one

A 360-degree view of consumers combined with the products and services which are being consumed. This enables business decision makers to have a deeper understanding the usage of the services and consumer experience while utilizing the products. They are also able to use this information to optimize marketing engines for better campaigns.

However, organizations are faced not only with technology challenges but business process issues as well. It is essential that organizations move up the maturity model and integrate business processes with IT for effective flow of data. This, in turn, is critical for the single customer view required by analytical solutions. Complete insight is essential to effective analytics and to ensure that the data value chain supports the business.

7. Using data that they collate

Achieving exceptional customer experiences hinges on advanced analytics capabilities, which are essential to successfully resolve queries and leave consumers feeling impressed. By leveraging effective, real-time customer analytics, organizations can better understand their consumers, their personal buying and behavior patterns, their preferences and more. This then supports the ability to tailor services and experiences towards them and more accurately target consumers. It also empowers more effective customer service and the ability to communicate seamlessly regardless of communication channel. Analytics provides a 360-degree view of the customer across all channels and supports the use of artificial intelligence – with the adoption of self-learning bots that can provide always-on customer service capability to deal with a significant proportion of customer requests.

By leveraging the power of data and insights generated, companies gain a deeper understanding the customer experience, market insights, brand perception, sentiment and segment views. This can be used to improve customer profitability, loyalty, creation of cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, proper product bundling based on market basket analysis, the introduction of targeted campaigns, increases in segment penetration, increased revenues and a lower customer churn.

Many enterprises have heavily invested in the customer service space by now and a matter of concern for them is the utilization of invested assets whilst keeping their business ahead of customer’s expectations. What is important right now amidst a plethora of technologies and new applications that claims to be a panacea for all ills is a solution that calls for a minimal reinvention of the wheel along with modernization that ensures customer delight and loyalty.

Want to know more? Talk to our CX specialty today.

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