As consumers demand greater services through digital channels, it’s time for organisations to turn their strategic attention towards a differentiated customer experience (CX). Richard Farrell, CIO at Netcall explains.
Some of the world’s leading businesses, including JP Morgan Chase, Starbucks and Nike, are focusing on personalised CX as a strategic priority for 2022 and are using artificial intelligence (AI) to deepen engagement and enhance customer offerings.
To remain competitive, organisations need to move away from traditional models and leverage the power of new technologies, such as cloud, to facilitate a data-driven CX approach. Whilst the public and private sector alike realise the need to redefine their CX strategy, many lack the inherent cloud-driven capabilities of large tech companies. However, with the right cloud-based strategy, entities of all sizes and tech capabilities can embrace a data focus to remain competitive and develop a digitised and future-proofed CX experience. This results in stronger customer retention, operational efficiencies and better overall performance.
Why should CX be prioritised?
Best-in-class customer experiences have become essential to succeeding in the modern economy. Recent research by Hayhurst Consultancy, commissioned by Netcall and Davies, uncovered insights on industry CX trends by surveying senior CX-related professionals in the UK’s financial, government and health sectors. According to more than half (55%) of respondents, the pandemic has been the biggest driver of changes in CX trends, with customers now expecting a flexible and personalised experience on their channel of choice.
In response, organisations have not only had to expand their digital availability across multiple channels but have also had to develop their effectiveness on each customer touchpoint. Whilst interoperable data lays the foundation needed to build applications that facilitate automation and multi-channel offerings (for example, SMS, email, voice, etc.), multi-channel fails to bring different channels into one system for employees.
Each system is handled separately, which creates disrupted and inconsistent customer journeys and slows down resolution times because employees can’t see customers’ histories across channels or their interactions with other agents.
With an omnichannel approach, customers and workers can seamlessly switch between various channels thanks to information from all processes being integrated into a single queue. Centrally managed data gives workers access to information from all customer touchpoints, facilitating rapid resolutions and high satisfaction rates. Organisations’ exceptional CX is supported by data informing workers of which channels are thriving and which are underperforming and in need of improvement.
The value of an omnichannel approach is unmatchable – 91% of companies that offer such an experience achieve a higher year-over-year increase in customer retention than those without an omnichannel strategy.
This tactic is further supported by the use of AI, such as machine learning (ML), to gain deeper insights from customer data and make informed decisions that will personalise and optimise their CX. Whilst this is often thought of as an onerous process, requiring expensive data scientists, organisations can bypass this by partnering with platforms that offer pre-trained or easy-to-use and train ML models that can deliver actionable processes.
Why are organisations struggling to deliver on CX goals?
Although organisations are feeling the pressures of heightened demand for CX transformation, complex legacy systems, a lack of technical expertise and internal cultural issues are proving to be substantial hurdles in the drive for change. Legacy systems often prevent true personalisation of customers’ journeys because they silo data, hindering automation and advanced data analytics and precluding an omnichannel strategy. Organisational culture is also a primary barrier to effective CX design, according to 28% of respondents to our study. Meanwhile, 82% agreed that any adopted tech stack must be matched with a focus on fostering the right staff culture.
Concerns over talent shortages and upskilling often don’t take into consideration the ability of low-code solutions to enable citizen development, i.e. development with no previous experience, of intelligent automation (IA) capabilities. Further, workers rarely realise that utilising advanced technology frees them up to deal with more complex and value-adding tasks, facilitating rewarding and engaging experiences for both customers and themselves.
Many organisations fall into common traps when it comes to digital transformation, like solving problems around particular customer touchpoints rather than taking into account the entire customer journey. These approaches fail to get to the root of the underlying problem – siloed data trapped in legacy systems.
How to drive success through engagement and automation
One of the many benefits of low-code combined with robotic process automation (RPA) is that IA capabilities can be unleashed and scaled without high-level technical expertise. Citizen developers quickly and simply build the infrastructure needed to free data and utilise other advanced technologies.
They are then given the opportunity to focus on complicated CX tasks that require extended attention. With a comprehensive IA platform, AI and ML capabilities further empower decision makers with the data insights needed to make choices that will best enhance customers’ experiences.
Low-code application platforms enable organisations to adopt a composable model, building an infrastructure that centres around flexibility, adaptability and resilience. Success is delivered through the gradual and interchangeable assembling and combining of application building blocks. This allows organisations to minimise the costs and risks associated with replacing their entire suite of legacy systems in one hit.
With this strategy, advanced automation capabilities to meet CX needs can be developed thanks to the ability to build low-code solutions alongside legacy applications, with the option to gradually replace these older systems over time.
However, any successful CX transformation strategy will require the support of an organisation’s employees. Automation can facilitate employee buy-in when provided through an easy-to-use application development platform designed specifically for those with no experience. This citizen development empowers all employees to contribute to the transformation process, creating the applications they feel are necessary.
Most organisations recognise that CX transformation is imperative but are struggling to implement changes that work with their complex legacy systems. By utilising low-code and user-friendly automation solutions, organisations empower themselves with the capabilities and agility required in today’s rapidly evolving consumer market, and support their workers to focus on value-adding and fulfilling work.
Read our ebook, with the complete findings of the research, to learn more about how to future proof your organisation’s CX and drive transformation in the process.
About the Author
Richard Farrell is CIO at Netcall.