In the world of business and technology, many buzzwords exist. Likewise, is CX a passing fad, or something substantial? Taking into account the local market, mobile app development companies in Sri Lanka are all about delivering the finest CX – whatever that means.
So really, what does it mean? What does CX represent, that conventional customer service doesn’t? To put it simply, CX (Customer Experience) is the overall feel a customer gets when interacting with your team while requesting assistance/service. This is made possible by the means and levels of interactions that are available for a customer to use. In other words, the pathway a customer takes in order to obtain what they need (and how smooth that journey was) says much about your company’s CX qualities.
In today’s ruthlessly competitive business landscape, ensuring great customer service isn’t going to suffice. As organisations blend the value of one-on-one human interaction with the latest technological innovations, it’s not surprising why a traditional call centre or livechat system isn’t going to cut it. What’s more, this truth doesn’t just apply to large corporations, but also to smaller enterprises, thanks to the vast variety of options available out there for consumers to take their pick from.
Owing to an increased number of options out there in the market, consumers know that they need not rely on one brand alone to satisfy their needs – the age for staying loyal to one or two brands alone has almost been rendered obsolete, if not completely. Ironically, this has also made consumers harbour less patience, which means that even the slightest downtime from your end can result in your business falling straight into the hands of your competitors.
This is where CX can make all the difference between a brand that simply answers inquiries (possibly with some delay in due process) and a brand that genuinely cares about its customers (with a sense of passion that actually shows). Unlike traditional customer service (which is static by nature and follows a common set of protocols irrespective of industry or company size), CX is a field that is more dynamic by nature. In other words, no two companies can follow the exact same set of CX rules, simply because insights are sought by observing real-life customer journeys on a conceptual level (and then fine-tuning those based on individual requirements).
One big misconception that many have regarding CX is that it’s an extension of conventional customer service, and doesn’t go beyond the customer service department of a company. CX on the other hand, is entirely the opposite; with customer-centricity being at the epicentre of today’s business culture, CX strives to influence every department of the company by establishing a strong foundation with the customer.
It’s easy to think of CX as an extra component, and one which can be added to any existing customer service team. But in order to nail the objective (which is to enhance your customer’s overall experience and reputation towards your brand) you need to do some groundwork before you can even get started – let alone see the final results. This brings us on to our next point, which also happens to be the first step of the whole business improvement process via CX.
Data is king – there’s no doubt about that. The focus is on many things, when it comes to sourcing data. How should we do it, and how often? But seldom does the discussion ever waver around the integrity of data. In other words, many fail to ask more pressing questions, such as:
As companies rush to win at the numbers game, there is much oversight on the part of how reliable the data is in the first place. This is why leading strategies are rendered unsuccessful, as incorrect data leads to incorrect reporting, and thereby equally incorrect decision-making.
In the arena of CX, data integrity especially matters. Since customers are the most reliable source of data for any company, any adulterations can lead to severe compromises. For example, getting feedback directly from your customer (whether it’s through an online review, a phone call or a questionnaire) is most sensible.
On the flipside, imagine an online campaign that encourages positive reviews from users who haven’t even purchased your product – simply to get eligible for a freebie. Would you ever want to depend on this feedback to enhance your product in the future?
The modern business has multiple modes of contact – and so does the modern customer. From the conventional phone call to a social media message, customers get in touch in whatever way it is most convenient to them. The challenge lies in serving recurring customers, though. As multiple contact options are used interchangeably by most customers, there is a high chance that silos may exist within all these modes of contact, and your customer will have to do what’s most dreaded by all of us – repeat his/her concern multiple times.
There are numerous solutions to eliminating these silos and streamlining the whole customer interaction process, such as integrated CRM systems. Ironically though, many companies (including leading names) still struggle with this issue. The key lies in identifying all the modes of contact that exist within the business, and customising your preferred choice of enterprise CRM to accommodate inquiries received from all of these modes.
Of course, this may not work impeccably from the very first go and some trial and error will be required. However, it is advisable to take this initiative as soon as you can, and as often as you need to – because your customer’s overall impression of your business depends on it.
In this day and age, automation is inevitable. But this doesn’t mean that your staff is going to be made redundant. Owing to AI, tasks that were repetitive and prone to errors via human hands are now automated. What’s more, the machine learning abilities of these technologies also offer predictive analyses of tough quandaries – thus enlightening all your stakeholders.
During this crucial point of time, elevating your employees to tackle strategic and analytical tasks (as opposed to the mundane work that automation now takes care of) is a resourceful initiative. Human intervention in this regards can provide the much needed intuition to enhance CX – through integral insights and unbiased feedback.
While the power of clean, integral data has already been elaborated above, the aspect of unbiased feedback requires much consideration. Albeit being a common principle amongst modern-day organisations, allowing employees to contribute via constructive feedback is something that is still not commonplace across some work cultures. By giving your staff the opportunity to voice their ideas and suggestions on how to improve, there’s no doubt that your company will adopt CX that’s multi-faceted, as opposed to the singlehanded strategy of someone on the C-level.
How many times do business owners talk about how they wish to improve customer service (let alone CX) but never actually get around to accomplishing anything? It is either this, or an excessive focus towards short-term gains that promise little to zero customer rapport.
The former can be attributed to complacency, or perhaps even a lack of budget, time and/or other resources. The latter however could possibly be detrimental, as it will neither guarantee steady revenue, nor establish long-term customer loyalty. This isn’t to say that acquiring short-term gains via promotions etc. is necessarily unproductive for your business. No matter what your revenue strategy is, it is still imperative to maintain stellar standards of overall customer experience in order to reap the many benefits that come with excellent customer service.
Sometimes, inaction also arises out of feeling tentative – especially if businesses are perfectionist and/or place irrationally high expectations on a strategy. It’s commonly conceived that the execution of any task needs to be at its full potential, and subsequently reap all for what it’s worth. While that is well and true for most situations, maintaining some leeway can turn out to be helpful, in this particular context. This is because a brand new CX initiative may be a hit or miss with your market – and conducting some trial and error before you commit to what truly works is your best bet.
In the modern business age, everything revolves around the customer. This statement isn’t metaphorical, especially since the likes of CX are at its peak – and definitely here to stay. While CX (Customer Experience) sophisticates old-fashioned customer service, it isn’t just an extension to your company’s touchpoints. In fact, it goes as far as getting into your customer’s shoes by analysing every behaviour pattern. This can be done via AI-backed insights, for example. However, beginning the process towards CX requires some groundwork, in order to ensure the results you’re truly looking to achieve.
Starting off, the data that is sourced for ascertaining the whims and fancies of your customers needs to come from the right place. Whether it’s online reviews or comments on social media, you need to make sure it’s coming from an individual that has purchased your product. Data adulterations are common in this case, and churning this data will only lead to inaccurate statistics.
Next, streamlining your backend systems to display information about a customer no matter how they have contacted you is a challenge, but one that is quite resourceful if you nail it right. Whether it’s over the phone or on Facebook, it’s easy for companies to establish omnichannel touchpoints – but not necessarily easy to maintain them such that these various touchpoints are able to talk to one another. Once the silos are broken, this is also good news for data integrity – as your touchpoints are reliable sources of information.
In the midst of it all, don’t forget to trust your staff members to come up with the right ideas, and eventually get the job done. As automation takes over the monotonous tasks and provides all stakeholders an all-round view of how customers have been interacting with your business, it only makes sense to establish CX strategies that are aligned to your customer. With a diverse pool of opinions, you also present the possibility of upholding multi-faceted CX concepts, as opposed to the sole ideation of someone higher up the hierarchy.
Lastly, you simply need to take a deep breath and execute the strategy you and your team have been tirelessly working on (or have simply put on the backburner for a host of reasons). Whether your shortcomings are due to a lack of resources or a fear of underperformance, it’s necessary to keep executing and innovating when it comes to CX. Considering the current state of business, having stellar CX isn’t an extra – it’s an essential. With so many options available out there for customers to choose from, there’s little incentive to stay loyal to a single brand. In turn, this has led to a decline in patience among the modern customer, and a subsequent increase in on-demand services.
As customers have little obligation to wait for brands to deliver what they need, it’s imperative to not just win them over, but to also retain them as recurring customers. For this, staying at the very top of the CX game is crucial, as you can then stand out from your competitors and eventually make money.
These are all the reasons why CX stands out from traditional customer service; with its dynamic, versatile nature, no two CX journeys can ever be similar. There’s no set protocol to follow, and it all boils down to how you perceive your customer, what you are willing to do for them and how committed you are to maintaining the standard of great CX.