In this guest post, Martyn Riddle (lead image), Verint’s VP of marketing Asia Pacific & Japan, says with so many new technologies bamboozling advertisers and marketers, it’s important not to lose sight of the most important thing – your customer…
There’s been a lot of debate played out in the media and boardrooms as to how evolving technology (at the moment generative and AI is in the spotlight) might be leveraged to transform operations.
It is a subject I’m very familiar with, after all, I work for a tech company which helps brands fulfil customer expectations. We went through similar conversations when (then) emerging tech like chatbots and sentiment analysis were introduced.
That’s why I know how important it is for the focus of these conversations to be centred around the customer and how a technology might make the experience of the customer or employee better versus the technology itself.
It can be all too easy to get carried away with the potential or possibility of new innovations, without pausing to consider how it can truly add real world value – versus add complexity. This often involves the customer seemingly having to do ‘less’ to get the outcome they want to achieve.
In fact, we know that the best deployment of customer experience technology is that which drives ‘invisible’ connections so the customer can get to where and what they want fast and with less friction. Think of it like a swan. Your technology platforms should all be beautifully calm if not nearly invisible to the average user, whilst swimming energetically below the surface connecting all your customer touchpoints (call centre, in-store, app, website, payment, chatbot, etc) to deliver a joined-up seamless customer experience.
Simply put, the best use of CX technology is to remove any obstacles that are preventing your customers from getting the experience they deserve and to remove any barriers preventing your employees from delivering excellence in customer experience.
In other words, it is all about connections:
Technology to connect the customer data dots
It is well-documented that the global pandemic turbo-charged the shift to digital and reshaped consumer’s buying and communication preferences. However, businesses which added new digital channels during this period are often being left with systems which don’t connect or speak with each other and the same number of staff to manage the explosion of new customer touchpoints. For example, a customer connects on chat or messenger but if they then call or visit a bricks and mortar premises, the systems don’t connect the customer data dots. This can cause frustration, not least as people typically switch platforms when the digital service side has failed, so annoyance levels are already high. In fact, nearly 65% of consumers surveyed in our State of Digital Customer Experience Report said they have stopped doing business with a company due to a poor customer experience. The technology is now there to connect all these touch points (from call centre agents, through digital channels, either human assisted or virtual) and brands that are making the investment are realising the return on investment, not just from a customer experience perspective but also from an employee experience too.
Technology to connect the call centre with marketing
The technology now exists to enable both the call centre and marketing technologies – and beyond to other functions – to share the wealth of information gained from customer and digital interactions to drive insight and inform new processes, products and solutions. The realisation that different parts of a business with, historically, different proprieties should be brought together to help solve customer problems and inform that new practices are likely behind the recent flurry of activity when it comes to Chief Customer Officer roles. Seen as a way to provide a single vision of the customer, their remit typically brings together responsibility across sales, marketing, call centre, technology and finance to improve customer acquisition, retention, experience and service.
Technology to connect past actions with future desires
If you can pull data from all customer interactions with a business then you’re on your way to being able to anticipate needs and desires. We have clients whose agents can use real time data pulled up on screens to help guide conversations on the fly. This can range from basic background information to help provide context on the customer situation, through to speech analytics to help determine someone’s tone of voice to inform next steps and even real-time prompts to ensure compliance for highly regulated industries like healthcare or financial services.
Soon, we’ll see the evolution of hyper-personalised customer service for all. Organisations will shift from reactive call centres to proactive ones which will see agents being able to anticipate a customer’s individual needs before the customer thinks to reach out. For example, agents will be able to determine the best time to reach out to a customer based on recent actions. The predictive nature of the engagement will allow companies to complete purchase assistance, deliveries, status, updates, appointments and other tasks with precision and hyper-personalisation.
In essence, the power of customer experience technology lies in creating these types of connections. Yet as in the real-word, connections can’t happen behind closed doors.
Creating true CX connections requires openness. An open mind to reimagine the customer journey and, crucially, an open technological platform. It’s impossible to utilise siloed data and insights unless there is an open platform capable of bridging front, middle, and back-office functions to facilitate the prized 360-degree view of the customer.
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