It’s no secret that we live in a time of unprecedented technological acceleration. Nowhere is that more true than in the customer experience space. Things that seemed totally implausible a decade ago are now commonplace and almost taken for granted.
Think about it: did you ever imagine being able to do your grocery shopping from your phone? And if you did, could you imagine receiving said groceries within an hour of ordering them? For that matter, could you have imagined being able to insure household goods with a few taps on your smartphone? But that technological acceleration has been matched by an acceleration in customer expectations. Today’s customer expects every organisation they interact with to provide them with exceptional (frequently on-demand) experiences, regardless of what vertical they operate in.
Knowing that, how can organisations ensure that they keep pace with their customers’ ever-shifting expectations and provide the kind of experiences that foster positive returns and long-term loyalty?
Change starts within
The first thing to point out is that organisations won’t get anywhere positive if they simply chase the latest customer experience trends or try to replicate what others are doing. Instead, they need to realise that the most important steps come from deliberate internal shifts designed to ensure that they are fully customer-centric.
It should be obvious, for example, that no organisation can provide the kind of personalisation so critical to positive customer experiences if its various departments operate in silos. Real personalisation, after all, requires a full picture of a customer’s engagements with the organisation. That can’t happen if billing is completely siloed off from marketing and customer success. It’s therefore critical that organisations ensure that all departments have access to the same data and are equipped to use it effectively.
But every department having the same view of a customer can only take you so far. Organisations also need to ensure that they don’t just provide pockets of excellence, but consistently positive experiences.
Take customer communication for example. You can’t claim to provide a consistently positive customer experience if your billing department sends out invoices and other forms of messaging that look and feel totally different to those sent out by the marketing department. If you get all the communication from your organisation to look and feel consistent, you’re already well on your way to providing positive customer experiences.
Incidentally, customer communication is a good place to start when it comes to transforming your organisation’s approach to customer experience. With a few small changes, you can achieve consistency while achieving the kind of results that will quickly open team members up to broader transformation. It’s also a good entry point into helping organisations understand that new technologies and platforms aren’t new experiences in and of themselves, but evolutions of existing experiences. Put another way, a chatbot won’t magically fix your customer experience if you aren’t already providing good experiences on email, instant messaging, or any other customer communication channels.
For the organisations that make these internal changes, accelerations in technology and customer experiences suddenly become a lot less daunting. They know that they already provide good customer experiences and can simply adapt.
Beyond that, they also put themselves in a much better place to understand how a particular technology could help them enhance their customer offerings even when it’s not overtly customer-facing. Those kinds of technologies have been around for a while now but they’re increasingly adaptable themselves.
That means that when a new channel comes around it can easily be plugged into existing systems. That’s only possible, however, if the entirety of an organisation has embraced that kind of adaptability. Otherwise, anything new is set to encounter resistance and animosity.
Choosing the right tech with the right partners
But what should organisations look out for when it comes to deciding if a new technology will benefit them? While there are no hard and fast rules, there are a few things organisations should ask themselves before making a decision. Does the technology simplify the customer experience? Does it make it easier to individualise their experiences? And does it help maximise engagement?
Of course, not every organisation will know the answers to those questions. Nor should they always be expected to. Their main focus should always be on their primary offering. By working with customer engagement partners who are experienced and have a long history of helping clients through major technological shifts, they can help ensure they’re never blindsided by new technologies.
All gas, no brakes
It should be absolutely clear that the acceleration in technology and customer experiences isn’t about to change anytime soon. As such, it’s only going to become more important for organisations to make the internal shifts they need to become more adaptable and to provide consistently great customer experiences.