Revealed: The CX tech stack powering the most effective customer experience programmesby
The most effective customer experience programmes rely heavily on the tools in the CX tech stack to boost the value they bring to their customers. So what does the perfect CX tech stack consist of?
CX is all about driving customer-focused change in your organisation, with initiatives that drive top or bottom-line value.
And in today’s world, 10 out of 10 of those initiatives will involve technology in some way. (Actually, given all the ways we’ve gone virtual due to COVID-19, make that 12 out of 10!)
At Heart of the Customer, we know from our research that Change Makers – the most effective programmes in the CX space – rely heavily on the tools in the CX tech stack to accelerate journey improvements and business impact, and boost the value they bring to their customers.
The good news? These tools are all readily available on the marketplace, so you can (and should) be using them, too. The CX tech stack is key to making a difference… and perhaps even more importantly, proving the difference you are making.
What tools can you use?
The tech stack comprises four capabilities. Together, these capabilities provide a firm foundation to ensure your CX initiatives succeed:
- Voice of the Customer (VoC) platforms & customer health dashboards.
- Customer journey mapping (CJM) software.
- Journey analytics platforms.
- Journey orchestration software.
Delivered as SaaS, these tools can easily integrate with your systems. They don’t even require a heavy a lift for IT – it’s really more about optimising implementation and configuration. That means you can put them in place without consuming half your budget or stressing your IT team.
So let’s explore what each capability can do for you, and how they build on each other and work together:
1a. VoC platforms
There’s no substitute for hearing from customers firsthand. Typically, companies miss nearly two out of three key Moments of Truth when they map out customer journeys without including the customer’s voice.
Change Makers find the key emotions that matter to their customers and listen for them. They know it is emotion driven by experience, rather than ease, that drives loyalty and churn.
Leading VoC platforms go far beyond basic surveys to listen to customers. They collect feedback via website, email, text, call centres, CRM, sales transactions and social media. They collect it as text, voice, video and closed-ended questions.
Listening is not just hearing. It must be an active process. Once you’ve taken in all that data, you can analyse what it means. You find out which emotions are driving which financial results. You learn where people are struggling and where they are loving their experience. The best platforms enable you to take action and close the loop. Because it’s not enough to prove to your customers that you are listening, you need to act on what they tell you.
1b. Customer health dashboards
All that data is critical to driving empathy for your customers within your organisation. But how do you share it? That’s where customer health dashboards come in.
These game-changing tools allow you to showcase and share the current-state experience so that your organisation can align on prioritised metrics and monitor them in real-time. Dashboards are fully customisable, which only enhances their potential. Combining all your customer data into one system and analysing it is the best way to build this visual tool for success.
And it’s worth the effort. Our research shows that Change Makers who share a customer-focused dashboard with the entire organisation are ten times more likely to drive change.
There’s no excuse for being in the dark about what your customers are thinking and feeling. Use a VoC platform to gather information and a customer health dashboard to display it. Without this data, you are operating in a vacuum.
2. CJM software
Journey mapping is the cornerstone of any successful CX programme. After all, you have to fully understand the current-state journey before you can envision and design for an improved future state.
Static journey maps are powerful tools that get the conversation started. They help build the empathy that produces the desire to see change. But they represent a fixed moment in time, before you implement the improvements inspired by the mapping.
CJM software takes those static representations and turns them into live representations of the current (and evolving) state of the journey. It does this in three ways:
- It allows you to see the current state of the journey and track progress;
- It is a change management tool that organises all the initiatives that you are working on across the journey in one place; and
- It enables your company to centralise how you monitor and manage the progress you are making, with an atlas of multiple journey and your personas in one portfolio.
Best-in-class programmes will provide a fuller view, with integrations into CCM, analytics, and orchestration platforms.
3. Journey analytics platforms
Forrester predicted that one in four CX professionals would lose their job in 2020 because they could not show results. (And that was before the pandemic hit.) But they also reported that organisations would hire more CX executives.
Why more leaders? Because leaders focus on results that improve a company’s strategic position.
Journey analytics platforms make it easier for you to do that, too – and trust me, you most definitely should be doing that. By tying improvements in customer experience to improvements in business results, your CX teams can make data-driven decisions. Use underlying machine-learning models to get insights on improved customer retention, reducing churn, and driving the emotions that produce engagement.
Marketing can use this data to reach the right customer, at the right time, with the right personalised messages and products. You can report on where people are in the journey at any given time. You can see where people get stuck and where they drop off. You can observe which features are being used and which are being avoided. You can also segment your customers to better analyse group behaviour.
By tying improvements in customer experience to improvements in business results, your CX teams can make data-driven decisions.
But the true power kicks in when built-in or customised data science models predict churn, customer lifetime value, and show other metrics that prove you are making a difference. Or that you’re not.
To paraphrase management theorist V.F. Ridgway: Not everything that matters can be measured and not everything that we can measure matters. The key to successful journey management is to find the sweet spot and measure what does matter – identifying the metrics that best reflect what is happening during the customer journey and that matter most to your customers and your business. Journey analytics platforms help you do that.
4. Journey orchestration software
Now you know where your customers are in the journey. What do you do with that information? That’s where journey orchestration software comes in, to help you improve customer journeys in real-time, through targeted interventions and other automated responses.
Journey orchestration enables you to act on the insights you’ve gleaned from your analytics and the customer signals you now have the capability to pick up across channels, thanks to your VoC platformme.
No more sending offers (or surveys) to customers for products they’re working with customer support to fix at that very moment. That’s frustrating for both the customer and the support rep, and leaves them wondering why your marketing people are sending that offer when they’re already annoyed. With journey orchestration software, it’s as simple as suppressing marketing messages and surveys for customers with open support tickets.
What about the customer who has stalled at one step of the journey? Automatically trigger a prompt (this could be an email, a sales call, etc.) to help them continue, and successfully complete, their journey.
Orchestration weaves together insights from all of your siloed platforms, allowing you to act across the entire journey and measure impact of changes you make in real time. Using baselines established in your analytics programme, you can deploy low-risk, low-cost A/B testing that lets you to see how each of the changes you implement impacts your key metrics.
Unleash the power
These tools enable you to prove your worth to the business. Put them to work.
That 10% improvement in conversion? Now you can show which of your initiatives is responsible for that. Do you want to design your journey across siloed systems? Turn your great improvement ideas into concrete action? Journey orchestration software is at the top of the value chain, resting on the other parts of the CX tech stack to deliver the ultimate value.
The research couldn’t be clearer: CX leaders who drive change rely on today’s remarkable technology, and companies that are focused on customers deliver far more market value than those that aren’t.
So be a Change Maker. Build a solid programme that makes a difference by stepping through the value chain created by the CX tech stack. Each block compounds the value of the others, creating the foundation you need to build a world-class CX programme.
This article adapted from a piece that originally appeared on the Heart of the Customer blog.
Over the last 20 years, Shawn Phillips has improved customer and employee journeys while implementing strategic software solutions at companies such as American Eagle, BlueCross/BlueShield, and Roots Canada. He’s skilled at pushing meaningful conversations that get to the heart of a business problem and uncovering data-supported solutions that...
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