Analysts Align with Enghouse Best Practices
It’s not out of the norm to see organizations that are out-of-sync with customer expectations. With today’s accelerating rate of change, before too long, they begin to struggle. These organizations can be successful one year, and then “has-beens” the next.
Whether adapting too slowly or ignoring changing expectations altogether…it’s readily apparent that change is not dictated or managed by the company itself anymore.
Everything is now relative… the customer experience offered by all the other companies is resetting the bar… higher and higher on a daily basis. It’s evident that the “fast-fail” approach to fine-tuning has become the new normal, where proactive management and optimization of the customer experience (CX) determines who will keep their existing customers and also be successful in appealing to new ones.
Why is this the case?
It’s the ubiquity of digital access and the familiarity of use, across all age groups. With mobile devices, pervasive and intuitive apps, automation of monotonous tasks, and voice-activated home devices, customers have come to expect getting what they want, almost instantaneously.
This has led to customers thinking that the only experience that matters is their digital experience, across all touchpoints with your organization. As a result, customers increasingly view their digital customer experience as insight into how your organization handles everything else.
That being said, our experience, consistent with many recent analyst studies and reports(1,2) identifies that achieving customer-centricity is not a single facet initiative. It suggests that an organization should address the following elements to increase the probability of success of their customer engagement optimization initiatives:
- Identify your customer engagement issues and develop the strategy to resolve them keeping in mind that technology adoption is not the strategy, but rather, how processes and technologies can be used to improve the customer experience should be the objective, and then how best to revise processes and use new technologies to solve identified needs is the strategy.
- Listen to and leverage resources closest to the issues to validate the strategy being developed and identify any possible disconnects, benefit from your staff’s intimate knowledge of what works and what doesn’t in their daily operations. This can significantly increase the probability of the project’s success while reducing or even eliminating costly (time, money) missteps.
- Design the customer experience from the outside in keeping in mind that comprehensive customer input is imperative in order to establish the needs and priorities, maximize strengths, and eliminate weaknesses. Use this input – the good, the bad, and the ugly – in the redevelopment of the customer engagement processes and the technologies being proposed.
- The Silicon Valley start-up culture should be your organization’s culture too and accept that any customer engagement project is never “one and done”. Ongoing customer surveys are key to ensuring the new approach will constantly evolve to meet customer needs today and in the future. Decisions must be made quickly, adjustments implemented, and regularly validated. Nothing should be untouchable. Everything must be open to optimization at all times.
- Empower Staff/Agents to make customer-centric decisions by authorizing agents to take immediate action to resolve customer issues – without needing to escalate the issue to get management sign-off is key. The “old school” methodology of management approval may have worked in the past (albeit not quickly), but it served the organization, not the customer. Customers today view every touchpoint with increasingly critical criteria. Empowering agents – with the latitude to make appropriate decisions in favor of the customer, speeds up issue resolution, improves customer perception of the organization, and increases the probability that they will evangelize your organization’s customer-first approach across their social network, improving the perception of your organization.
- The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help even more with its ongoing analysis, and comparisons from across other customer engagements, it can assess the current situation and determine the customer’s level of concern and frustration. It can quickly propose – either directly to the customer or the agent serving them – a solution that has the highest probability of resolving the issue.
When properly developed – from the outside in – and executed well, customer experience investments will yield the results organizations are looking for: more customers, more sales and revenue, and a higher rate of customer loyalty.
But as noted, customer expectations will only continue to increase.
Accenture/Technology Vision 2021
Adopting a proactive approach will help ensure that your organization knows what your customers are thinking before other companies figure it out. Being complacent or reactive ensures that your competitors will figure this out before you do.
The scenarios are evident. But, your focus on success tells you what the right decision should be. Never Relent.
Make sure you can react to your customers as quickly as possible. Leverage Microsoft Teams across your contact center to engage with subject matter experts (SME’s) or back-office staff to ensure customer issues are quickly resolved – no matter where they are.
Harvard Business Review: Digital Transformation is Not About Technology