In a matter of months, COVID-19 has forced executives to rethink their digital strategy and investments especially in the area of customer care. Suddenly, discussions of ideal customer journeys and satisfaction metrics to learn what customers want have given way to an immediacy in addressing what they need now. Particularly in times of crisis, a customer’s interaction with a company can trigger an immediate and lingering impact on their sense of loyalty.
CXOs are embarking on experience initiatives to position themselves for longer-term disruptions in consumer behavior resulting from this crisis. Focus is on enabling customer support teams to work in a seamless and non-disruptive online channel, unaffected by social distancing norms. However, a spike in volumes, staffing issues and unpredictable financial forecasts are introducing constraints for these initiatives.
Enterprises are investing aggressively in technology, capability and resources to transition to this digital customer experience model. Contrary to belief, it is not a capital intensive initiative but requires an integrated design and implementation approach across the entire customer interaction. Fortunately, increased adoption of Digital SaaS and AI-led platforms provide valuable accelerators for these CX transformations.
As enterprises transition to a digital customer experience model, it’s important to prioritize the following six investments for a future-proof initiative:
1. Build around the Future
Design the support model around personas, interaction journeys, and KPIs to meet these post-pandemic customer needs. Build your organization, technology stack, and innovation capabilities to deliver on these realities. Leverage SaaS, low code and automation to put business stakeholders in control of these future experiences and drive continuous innovation.
2. Design for Volatility
The key learning from this pandemic is the need to plan and design for a VUCA future where companies need to react faster and better to customer needs. Design a flexible operating model to flex capacity and capabilities without significant capital. Invest in innovation that allows you to add functionality and capabilities with an accelerated time-to-value. SaaS and Low-Code CX platforms provide deployment in months, extensive integrations, rapid updates and low footprint change management capabilities.
3. Deploy for Omni-Channel
Meet customers where they are at – web, social media, chat, email, text or phone. Create consistence and reduce redundancies across channels. Leverage AI-enabled cloud-native apps that plug and play into your legacy infrastructure.
4. Enable Seamless Journeys
Carry the customer conversations across the customer lifecycle and across channels. Reduce redundancy and provide context around interaction history, preferences, data and knowledge across channels. Invest in a cloud-native service desk platform that supports various channels in a single console, and has out-of-box integrations with leading CRM and enterprise applications.
5. Scale through Self-service
The long-term strategy should be to focus on scaling customer support with minimal human dependency. It’s not only effective for reducing costs, but also increasing customer satisfaction by reducing wait time, and giving customers control over their interactions. Chatbots, Robotic Process Automation-driven workflows, augmented analytics and semantic knowledge management are great assets for driving increased penetration of self-service.
6. Consolidate your Data
Provide agents with the ability to effectively and address customer needs by implementing a single view of customer data across the lifecycle. An integrated data approach across CRM, service desk and order management, inventory applications will increase resolution rates and convert latent revenue opportunities. New generation platforms have an integrated approach to CRM and Service management so that frontline employees can effectively address customer needs.