Enhance the CX to remain competitive in the digital age

We with spoke with Carl Borchardt, Regional Manager for Contact Centre and Customer Experience Solutions at Cisco Systems Asia Pacific & Japan, about strategies for enhancing the customer experience (CX) and remaining competitive in the digital age.

In a world increasingly reliant upon technology, the new competitive battleground is an exemplary customer experience (CX), with the least amount of customer effort.

Today’s companies require a CX strategy that is continually evolving in ‘real time’ in line with changing customer behaviours and preferences. While most companies realise this, few are capable of executing a low-effort CX throughout the lifecycle journey.

That’s why forward-thinking companies are looking at their ecosystem of partners, technology and processes to build an integrated CX strategy. An effective CX strategy is key to deeper customer engagement, digital transformation and remaining competitive in the digital age.

Personalised customer service is key to business success

With the proliferation of the web and social media, today’s customers are communicating through new channels and expecting a deeper level of personalised service as they interact digitally. Gone are the days of a ‘one size fits all’ CX.

Expert, personalised customer service is now the rule rather than the exception and technology is continually evolving to support this. Today’s customers learn much more about products and services before they reach out to a business. This means companies need to be acutely aware of customer interactions and the CX journey leading up to the contact event.

Customers demand a human touch in customer service

Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are predicated to provide the next generation of ‘self-service’ – but customers still want a human touch in customer service.

There is a point in each customer journey when human engagement is still essential. Certain tasks are suited to robotic interaction, while others require emotional understanding and human connection. Balancing this blend of automated versus human interaction proactively allows companies to deliver an exemplary and consistent customer experience.

Data analytics can maximise the CX

To attract and retain customers in the digital age, companies need to effectively track customer behaviours and interaction preferences. The next generation of customer databases aren’t simply static records of past transactions, but ‘real time’ interaction histories that use contextual data to optimise each customer’s current and future experience.

Today’s customers have a broad digital footprint, and organisations must leverage this data to proactively resolve and serve. The feedback from customers is that they are fine for companies to profile their needs and preferences, as long as the data is used to create more personalised and efficient interactions.

A truly omni-channel CX enhances customer loyalty

Customer loyalty is an outcome of measuring and managing ‘customer effort.’ The challenge for companies today is to provide an accurate resolution/transaction across preferred consumer channels, with the least amount of effort.

The CX also needs to be consistent across the full omni-channel customer journey. From a strategic point of view, companies should focus on improving ‘disconnected’ customer journeys. Integrating customer context across all interactions will drive vast improvements in ‘customer effort’ and ultimately loyalty.

On the ground, this means eliminating ‘silos of data’ and systems, bringing together disparate interaction channels, and leveraging context and analytics to make informed decisions in real time.

Advice for industry leaders to get ahead in 2017

  1. Adopt agile and nimble technologies. The biggest inhibitor to organisations achieving an omni-channel CX is a lack of flexibility and agility in their legacy systems and silos of information. More agile and nimble solutions will unlock greater value for the customer. There are many traditional players who made preemptive or very rapid evolutions in response to agile competitors, accelerating growth and market standing exponentially.
  2. Prioritise personalised engagement. Going forward, leaders need to prioritise unique and personalised engagement with customers across the channel of their choice, every time. Harnessing the ‘lifecycle value’ of your customer across all channels and systems creates a single view of the customer, enabling leaders to make business decisions based on this intelligence.
  3. Find a balance between human skill and technology. A blend of human skill and technology is required to deliver an exemplary CX. Don’t over-rotate in either direction; know the customer and their interactions and preferences; and build your CX strategy on the data and context you have.
  4. Disrupt the status quo with CX at the core. The new generation of ‘digital disruptors’ are successful because CX is core to their strategy. These new players came into traditional industries and applied a ‘best in class’ CX strategy that is based on ease, insight and intelligence rather than conformance. Disrupting the status quo is fundamental for future success.

As a key Unified Communications and Customer Experience partner of Verint, Cisco is delighted to be a sponsor and supporter of this year’s APAC Engage conference. The ability to deploy a combined Verint/Cisco solution to manage customer interactions and a broader CX strategy is proving to be very attractive to organisations across the APAC region.

If you would like to register for APAC Engage 2017, click here

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