Customer experience is at the heart of digital transformation. Today’s consumers engage brands electronically – on the web, using mobile apps, and through social sites. But is a voice-centric contact center standing in the way as you embrace digital innovation? Nemertes Research recently talked about the diminishing role of contact centers, and some of the questions organizations can ask to assess where they are with digital customer experience, such as:
If the answer to many of the above-questions was “no,” then it’s time to accept that you can no longer rely on the patterns that worked yesterday, and certainly not yester-year! Customers expect you to know exactly what they want and how to deliver it. All generations of people now interact with sales and support professionals through an array of channels—chat, voice, and video. And they expect the experience to be meaningful and satisfying.
According to an Oracle Communications survey of 5000+ consumers, 95% of consumers today are mobile and 70% are highly engaged through their mobile applications. This creates complexity for organizations, as the customer journey is no longer linear, as it used to be. The use of smart applications and mobile devices to research, review, purchase and get customer service now triggers more erratic or unpredictable behaviors and choices. So how can organizations meet their customers at critical junctures, especially as the number of touchpoints and preferred channels increase?
Two Major Approaches to Digital Transformation
According to Mark Mortensen of ACG Research, there are two approaches to digital transformation: an outside-in approach, where a company digitalizes the interactions between itself and its customers using digital-first, digital-only and ominichannel options to go after more revenue, and greater customer satisfaction; or the inside-out model of getting infrastructure in place that transforms the back office so that the company begins faster, agile and cheaper to transact with. Both are hard to do, and most companies ultimately choose one or the other to get the ball rolling.
A good plan is to take a page from digital natives like Netflix and Uber, which excel at carving out any inconveniences a person might encounter in the customer lifecycle by very frequently evaluating business models and the technologies and trends that will help them build more satisfying and enduring relationships. Keep in mind these “innovators” started as small disruptors who did NOT get the “right idea” right away. They worked at it and made sometimes painful investments in infrastructure, processes and culture to ensure their evolution was smooth to the customers.
Oracle Live Experience customer TelkomTelstra said in a recent video that if a customer has a single fail when trying something new, it is likely that customer will simply go to another provider that fulfills his or her expectations. That’s why the company’s transformation involves flexible business models powered by small APIs that can be rapidly implemented on existing customer infrastructure and applications — without major investment in skilled developers, infrastructure and applications.
The Next Step: Cultural Shift
As organizations figure out how to move the contact center from cost center to a revenue generator and loyalty driver, they can simultaneously think of how to incentivize even their least digital customers to try new engagement channels, rewarding them for trying something new, as well as giving them an “out” if something new isn’t working for them. Most people won’t take kindly to being driven down a “customer journey” they didn’t choose, as happens when they get stuck in a process and have to search for an 800 number once they reach a point of frustration.
For customers not familiar with AI chatbots and video chat, there can be a step-wise transition. Modern customer engagement strategy can aim to provide proactive engagement and transformative experience, moving customers at their own pace beyond the contact center with small steps at first. And as multiple satisfactory experiences are created, they will be more likely to try new things. Companies can offer incentives that reward customers for interacting digitally-i.e., free music downloads, event tickets, digital movie rentals or eBooks.
Think of how digital CX innovators are doing things and adopt what you can. Look at Oracle customer Marriott, which is setting the pace for digital in the hospitality industry, using digital rewards to delight customers and make them promoters of their brand. By creating high-touch experiences, Marriott is enhancing, not replacing, the experience customers expect by personalizing experiences, especially for customers that want mobile check in and check out, two-way digital conversations, connections of their personal devices to in-room entertainment, or mobile requests for food and beverage.
As another example, Insurance companies can streamline operations, improving efficiencies and scaling their business, while also providing a compelling customer experience. Watch how digital insurance companies can deliver zero-touch claims processing, as well how banks are delivering in-app banking experiences on mobile devices.
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