The discipline of customer experience (CX) has moved on significantly since the term was first coined around five years ago. Today, companies can improve their CX with a range of digital communication channels, are able to merge the online and contact center journeys, and can benefit from a 360-customer view.
Investing in CX delivers great payback for virtually all industries. According to a Gartner survey, around 75% of organizations have proven that improved customer satisfaction leads directly to revenue growth via customer retention and increased lifetime value.
Yet despite the best efforts of many businesses to improve their CX, many customers remain unsatisfied with their experiences. For example, a recent survey found that just 162 out of 973 leading retailers and consumer goods companies responded to customer emails, with larger companies being particularly culpable.
The challenge for larger enterprises is that the investments required to replace legacy voice and application systems are often so high or complex that many eschew major CX-focused transformations in favor of point solutions or custom integrations.
However, if they do not focus on transforming their CX and the systems that underpin it, they won’t survive in the face of increasing competition and shifting consumer behavior. This is especially true in the fast-moving changes to the global business environment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Focus on digital
The shift in consumer behavior to online purchasing and non‑voice‑based interactions has changed the corporate mindset. Businesses are seeking out products that can deliver powerful, personalized, holistic customer journeys.
Badly-designed customer journeys and negative contact center experiences are the modern equivalent of mislabeled supermarket aisles and grumpy cashiers. They frustrate and discourage prospective customers from engaging with the business, hindering customer loyalty and risking churn.
Prospective customers loathe the idea of waiting in a long queue to speak to an organization in order to purchase its product. If no easy contact options are offered at the point a prospect wants to make a purchasing decision, they are likely be lost to a rival that will offer phone or chat support. Enterprises need to engage with customers on their own terms via they channel they choose.
Evolving CX solutions
The technologies behind customer experience software have developed considerably over the last decade. There have been advancements in cloud technologies, web standards, digital communication channels and smartphone capabilities. All of these have led to improvements in CX product features and functionality.
However, success in CX requires more than the introduction of a single, highly‑functional CX product into an organization’s IT ecosystem. It often requires integration with legacy systems, mobile app and web development, and cloud transformation. In fact, because CX cuts across almost all facets of a company’s IT estate, integration and interoperability are crucial to delivering the end-to-end customer journey.
Data science can play a key role in improving the customer experience. By applying analytics on customer contact data and consumer online behavior, companies can better target promotions and improve products.
Serving tomorrow’s generation
The direction of CX is inextricably intertwined with the expectations of the customers of the future. Even as today’s Millennials are waiting in chat queues to speak to automated bots, tomorrow’s Generation Z are developing their vision of how they want to buy a product, get information or resolve a problem.
Ultimately, it is the expectations of these generations that will define the future of CX. We expect that they will include enriched shopping experiences that are personalized for the customer, a wide choice of communication-channel options and a single agent dealing with the query to its conclusion.
The very reason CX exists is because satisfied customers drive up revenue, lower churn, reduce costs and grow the business. CIOs, CTOs and CEOs need to see how their investments are making a difference to the key performance indicators of successful CX, which are churn and customer satisfaction.
Ultimately, the future of CX will depend on the willingness of industries to embrace new customer experiences, preferably as a planned strategy, rather than a reaction to market changes. Those who don’t improve their CX are likely to be left behind.
To find out more about these essential customer experience themes and how to succeed in the future of CX, download our white paper in full here.
Özgür Cay has been Head of Customer Experience Consulting since January 2020. He has more than 20 years of experience in IT and telecommunications and has held roles in management, managed services and product development. He has an MBA and Bachelor degree in Computer Engineering. Özgür lives in Dortmund, Germany with his family and enjoys reading books and traveling in his free time.