Customers want all companies to deliver the kind of seamless digital experiences they get from superstar global leaders like Uber and Netflix – so why isn’t everyone doing it?
Whenever they are asked most companies invariably say that technology is the roadblock when it comes to delivering digital customer experiences. Either there’s no budget for it, their legacy systems aren’t up to it but can’t be replaced, or there’s a lack of in-house expertise.
When it’s working for you, technology is a source of innovation, agility, new revenue streams, richer data, and deeper customer relationships. But it can also be a huge time and cost sink, a cause of poor margins and customer attrition, and poor service.
CIOs are concerned of course with a lot more than customer interaction technology. Their primary objective is always keeping the lights on, followed by core business functions, cyber security and reducing costs across the company’s whole IT estate.
Only after those priorities are taken care of will CIOs be looking at how they can help the business use IT for product and service innovation, revenue generating activities, and insight from analytics.
Placing digital customer experience at the centre
Most companies use a combination of proprietary software, off-the-shelf vertical applications, and other off-the-shelf or legacy software for CRM, marketing, invoicing d other back office processes.
Adding digital channels – in a seamless manner that eliminates data and process siloes – adds another layer of complexity to this picture.
However, by far the most difficult part of being able to leverage all this technology across the business is getting it all to work together. For us that means putting the customer-facing agent (or the automated systems with which customers interact) at the centre of the operation, and building out from there.
This means investing in the technologies that enable customer-facing personnel to efficiently handle those meaningful interactions which define any customer relationship, specifically:
- Agent desktop and workflow software to provide agents with access to the data and systems they need when they need them,
- Automation technology to make key repeatable processes – application processing, FNOL lodging – run efficiently and cost effectively,
- Use of digital channels such as email, chat, and messaging, as well as self-service, to target and acquire new customers,
- Analytics to understand the needs of customer segments, develop better product solutions, and improve the speed and accuracy of claims.
Integration is what delivers the digital customer experience
The real key to unlocking all the benefits of the digital customer experience revolution is that everything must appear seamless from the customer’s point of view. In a multichannel or omni-channel environment this means that when a customer switches channels – say from self-service to chat to phone – they should not have to repeat themselves or be transferred between departments or find that certain products and services are unavailable.
The ability to take a process – generating a custom quote for example – which has to run through numerous customer-facing, back office, and partner integrated systems and have it run seamlessly, even automatically, is not just a boon for customer experience it is also a great cost saver.
Ideally the agent desktop and workflow should be able to share information with CRM, billing and other back office systems. Modern software, whether on-premise, hosted, or cloud can make API calls to other modern systems to fetch and send almost any data that can be stored in a database.
At the heart of it all sits the agent desktop and workflow
If one of the major issues with delivering digital customer experience is that frontline personnel are unable to do it, then the fault has to lie at least partly with the systems they are given to do their jobs.
Ultimately all processes the company has in place are delivered by staff or by automated systems, and whichever is the case each process should be capable of being systemised in a workflow.
For human agents the place to bring together all the data and systems they are going to access is in their desktop application, which provides them with a single user interface for almost anything they need to be able to do.
The use of workflow tools as a front-end ensures that any process can be carried out quickly and easily just by following on-screen prompts. Whatever data is needed for that task is pulled from whichever database or system stores it and presented to the staff member on screen.
The ability to give customer-facing personnel a single user interface for accessing data and workflow processes has a huge pay off in terms of time and efficiency. As there is no longer any need to log into multiple systems, each of which must be learned, and look up and find information it speeds up customer interactions and even facilitates cross-sales and up-sales as the agent has a full view of the customer.
This type of robust workflow results in faster, more accurate customer interactions, less hold time, fewer call backs, and no need to transfer customers between different teams (unless your internal structure demands it – and if it does you should consider changing that where possible).
In our experience companies deploying workflow solutions in their contact centres on average see a 20% boost in productivity.
Infinity CCS latest whitepaper “The Missing Piece” for Insurance brokers to put CX at the heart of processes, illustrates how this works, for a free copy please visit http://www.infinityccs.com/insurance-brokers-whitepaper/
About Geoff Land
Geoff Land is Managing Director of Infinity CCS (Contact Centre Solutions), provider of dynamic workflow engines that power contact centres across 13 countries. Infinity works with some of the world’s largest contact centre operators such as Teleperformance, Webhelp, HGS and Bosch to deliver customer experience solutions that yield measurable efficiencies.
An experienced CX executive, Geoff has spent his career helping leading some of today’s leading brands transform their businesses. Geoff previously held senior positions at Bright Star Communications (Saudi Arabia), founded Inspire FZE in the United Arab Emirates and has held a number of local and international positions at Nortel Networks.