CX: Why technology without internal change doesn't work
Customer experience is the business buzzword of the moment, but it is important to recognise that this is not a short term trend. Interest is being driven by technology that shifts the balance of power from business or brand to the consumer.
Customer perceptions and actions are crucial for any organisation now looking for future success. Widespread interest in CX comes from recognising the relationship between consumer and company has changed.
Businesses need to respond and adapt accordingly.
The chief catalyst for this change is technology. New developments and solutions are introduced and adopted so quickly that many struggle to keep up. Internally, technology can often be seen as a solution in itself.
The need to automate the business demands of keeping track of customers from second to second. Of course, it can seem overwhelming (not to mention a little creepy) to try and monitor a customer’s interactions with you, through every possible channel, every moment of every day.
Technology alone is not the answer
Constantly monitoring a customer’s needs is what is required. Most people expect a quick response to their needs. Many would consider it a deal breaker if a business ignored their concerns or failed to respond to their needs.
Curating and managing consistently good customer experience is the responsibility of everyone in your organisation
Your company simply has to recognise and respond more directly to your customers when they reach out. This is why advertising technology and marketing technology are evolving at such pace – to try to be able to make sense and respond to these evolving interactions.
Technology itself, however, is not the answer.
Curating and managing consistently good customer experience is the responsibility of everyone in your organisation. Customer experience should be a core competence.
This mindset made Amazon a dominant force in the retail space. For companies not set up with this as a founding principle, and trying to embed customer experience within their existing infrastructure, a champion is needed – the CX practitioner.
This change agent advocates and leads new insights, processes and innovations; he or she needs to influence upwards to ensure that CX has a role, a voice, and crucially, recognition within the C-suite.
Why is this crucial?
Customer experience is a discipline which is evolving. It is pretty young, and different companies use it in different ways. For some, it is a function of sales, or service, or marketing, or operations. Good CX reaches across all of these departments, and more.
But just as there is no single blueprint for a company structure, there is no single path to take to drive focus on customer experience within your business. It will often be shaped by immediate business needs: from your short term business objectives (like gaining more sales and holding on to customers), through to much broader, big picture strategies like changing your company’s value proposition, its vision and focus for the future.
CX requires a single voice. A single view of the customer, and direct focus on delivering what they need. And one point of coordination within then company structure, to truly transform and embed what the customer wants and needs as these evolve and mature.
Growing in customer experience is a great sign – it means that businesses globally are looking to transform.
They are ready and willing to change. They understand, better than ever, that they must adapt to what their customers want or run the risk of losing them to more agile and deft competitors. This change is on-going, and it is going to involve a constant, dedicated focus.
Inspiration and influence will be key to encourage buy-in throughout a business, from the board down. Consistency, focus, collaboration and recognition will engage all to see the value CX can bring.
What is a CX practitioner?
It’s often a lonely space. The CX lead needs to blend art and science, infusing emotion with transaction while delivering greater value to customers and sustained business results. We act as an external source of experience, and network of knowledgeable practiotioners who can lend our experience and professional advice.
The CX practitioner, or department tasked with driving customer success, is there to make sure that changes are not merely short-term lip service, but sustains learning and development within your company to keep pace with your customers.
You could say they are the Lone Rangers, fighting to make customers’ voices heard. A simple software program cannot voice this change, or keep pushing to make sure your company keeps changing.
If you think that buying smart technology is enough to change your customer experience, you’re wrong – it is a useful tool, but it is the hand holding the tool who can match your business with your customer needs.
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