Digitally focused consumer experience

It is important to focus on the customer and engagement in a world defined by remote working and remote engagements.

Johannesburg, 11 Feb 2021
Read time 3min 20sec

Dead-end design and siloed thinking leave customers exasperated and loyalties tattered. Channels that lack integration, communications that don’t, and ecosystems that go in circles are not the hallmarks of business success. The NTT Ltd. 2020 Future Disrupted report found the winners circle comprised organisations that had integrated their channels and connected these to the ecosystems inhabited by customers.

This shift has been a long time coming, but COVID-19 has highlighted the gaps that exist between customer and experience. Today, the customer is far more digitally focused and wants to engage with companies that can interact with them on the digital and virtual plane, while still enjoying the ability to connect with people, when needed.

It’s a delicate balance of technology, people and process, one that can fundamentally change how an organisation is perceived. This is further highlighted by the NTT Ltd. 2020 Global CX Benchmarking Report that found 81.6% of organisations recognise the competitive edge added by customer experience (CX), with 58% seeing it as a competitive differentiator. The customer journey needs to be managed intelligently so it becomes personalised, digitised and engaging.

Proactive engagement

Relationships are dynamic. To fully realise the benefit of customer relationships, businesses need to proactively reach out to customers, pull them into experiences that are varied and relevant, and ensure they consistently embed trust throughout. Data has to be secured and engagements need to be transparent.

Content needs to convey the company offering and give the tools and information the customer needs to unpack product, service and situation. This must be further supported by engagements that recognise what customers want – where do they want to shop, what channels they prefer to use, and the pathways they take to get what they need. It is imperative for businesses to ensure that each interaction and touchpoint is as memorable as possible to keep customers satisfied and on their side.

The technology investment

The trend is to create differentiated experiences that are enterprise-wide and design-led. These blend creativity, content, design and technology such as cloud and software as a service applications to transform customer engagement. These tools equally allow for the business to gain richer control of data, which will lead to improved analytics and insights that can shift behaviours and transform how the organisations approach markets.

As we enter 2021, the reality of customer experience will be driven by the following terms: rich, personalised, analytics, individual, digital and intelligent. Businesses must acknowledge the importance of maintaining a balance between human and machine while embracing the impact of virtual, automated and artificial intelligence (AI) environments and their ability to offer an alternative to the traditional physical engagements of the past.

The important point here is balance – to ensure there is always a human touch at the end of the digital device.

Best practice CX

Moving forward into a year where success will be determined by the customer, CX best practice needs to be built through clear data policies, strategic customer and content processes, reliable toolkits and technologies, and a solid cloud foundation. Mission-critical CX technologies need to be embedded in robust cloud infrastructure that delivers the kind of performance and architecture required to ensure uptime and reliability. Organisations that want to fully realise their CX investment and approaches would benefit from outsourcing specific services to bypass complexities and instead move straight into the benefits.

The Future Disrupted report found that a clear value proposition and engaging with established service providers can make a solid difference to a CX strategy that stays secure, compliant, agile and relevant. Read more here.

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