Technology plays a key role in delivering excellent customer experiences (CX), but it can’t do it all alone. It’s critical in any CX discussion to remember that it’s about a whole lot more than individual cloud technology such as the contact center, endpoint security, or applications. The customer data you collect and analyze to create insights is really the star here—not the technology used. In fact, integration of the technology coupled with analytics to create actionable insights is the key to delivering business value.
A Customer Experience Example
Let’s start with a real-world example. As a loyal and high-value consumer of a brand who you have bought from for years, you visit the product company website and purchase an item with multiple parts in the box to make it work. When you receive the item, it is missing several parts in the box, what happens?
First, you call their 800# and get a contact center rep who is largely unhelpful as they tell you to go online, print out a shipping level, lug the box to a shipping store and send it back. That’s not the good customer experience solution you were looking for as a loyal customer.
You go on social media and say just that and you don’t receive a reply, other than a few of your friends lamenting about the situation and a few other people commenting about their poor experience with the brand. You do notice, however, that they post regularly on their social media page and seem to reply to good comments about their brand. It’s clear they have a cloud solution for social media, they just aren’t using it beyond promoting their brand endlessly, as they could use it to improve the CX.
Ultimately, you pack up the box, ship it back, and suffer through the process of the return and replacement of your product. A few weeks later, when you want to order another product, you try a different brand. After all, the brand you were previously loyal to didn’t really care about your experience so why should you continue to spend your money there?
A few months later, the CRM SaaS tool that the old brand uses identifies you haven’t ordered anything in a while after having a history of ordering things more frequently. So, they send you a special 20% coupon to try to get you to buy something. News flash: you don’t.
What happened here? From a textbook case, it seems like they have all the cloud technology they need to get to a good customer experience, right? Digital go-to market tools, contact center software, CRM solutions, and analytic tools should provide them enough intelligence and insight to know who their customers are and ensure a seamless and great experience, right? Wrong. They have technology but they don’t have an integrated solution defined that would deliver that experience using that technology.
Cloud CX Solutions Require Strategy & Integration
Providing that customer experience requires not just investing in the latest contact center technologies or new data analytics tools but rather investing in leveraging their full capabilities in your business processes. It’s a knitting and strategic exercise, not just a technical purchasing one and most strategic partners know this and help their clients truly define what is needed to deliver. That’s why this is an important area where a partner can help your business, by mapping the right processes, points of interaction, points of failure, and points of customer delight. Since that partner will also be doing this for other firms they can also bring insights back regarding what works and how it works in the real world and lessons learned from those who came before you in this journey.
Then that insight can be used to craft a real technology-driven CX cloud solution. The bottom line is solution integration, generally done via a 3rd party partner, delivers that value oftentimes in a way that an internal-only project cannot. It helps address the fact that the customer journey is better when systems work together to deliver the experience and that experience is well defined in a real-world setting. An additional bonus of this partnering approach is the partner can shop different technology solutions for you and provide a map of what’s best for your business vs. what a vendor might be pitching you.
Starting the Cloud CX Journey
To get this journey started, companies need to develop an objective of world-class CX across all touchpoints and all channels, and then work it backward to understand how technology can deliver that experience in a way that improves outcomes. Partners who specialize in CX solutions offer experienced integration teams that begin by working to understand a client’s business environment, operations, customers, and industry competitors. They will also spend time looking at what your customers really expect from you. With that work done, the partner will develop a roadmap and formulate a plan that can create a next-generation, knock the ball out of the park, CX.
Of course, companies will have legacy technologies and processes in place, which create points of entry for a CX strategy – particularly if their solutions are in the cloud, but we must keep in mind that some are more useful than others. Oftentimes, companies try to tape together a solution using these legacy components that is incapable of providing the right experience for their business. They save some money initially on technology spending but in the long run, they lose customers and profits when they fail to deliver to their customers’ expectations.
Partnerships & Innovation
By working with a trusted partner, you can evaluate the usefulness of current solutions and even switch to a cloud-based solution software as a service model (SasS) that may have lower costs or at least limited startup costs for your business.
There are a plethora of cloud solutions available to provide an improved customer experience and many of the SaaS solutions have modules that have been customized to specific industries or vertical use cases. You could say these technologies are being designed to be radically personal CX solutions that embrace customers and can provide new experiences in a way previously thought impossible.
With that innovation, however, comes some risks. Risks to customer data, risks of hackers, risks of systems attacks – ensure that your partner is well versed in security or can bring in a partner who is well versed and can protect you from the risks inherent in any technology journey.
Final Thoughts on the Cloud CX Journey
A great partner in your technology CX journey will be one who doesn’t just come in and tell a company to change technologies for its own sake. Rather, the right partner will spend the time and attention to be able to advise on whether and how business processes and ways of working need to evolve, too. The right partner will also be committed to ensuring that they don’t limit your solution integration journey to just the raw technology. Instead, they will make it about the business perspective, quantifiable benefits, and tangible CX that is needed to win in the current market.
These are the partners who can truly help your company deliver on the best CX experience possible while also saving you money and time on technology. Time to PartnerUp!