Technology is used to collaborate across business and marketing operations, increase productivity, gather insights, and gain filtered customer data. With increased interaction points for customers and businesses, processes like customer experience management are impossible to implement without ideal technology in 2020.
Customers are looking for digital experiences rather than just products or services. When a robust customer experience strategy is fueled with technology, it can become one of the main differentiators between a happy and sad customer. So, an ideal technology stack can have a big impact on how businesses serve their customers.
What is Customer Experience Management?
Customer experience management (CXM) is the relationship created by a business while interacting with customers at different touchpoints. Customer experience transformation is the process of implementing robust technology to drive these digital experiences.
CXM is focused on three key aspects - the customer journey, customer touchpoints and the digital business environment. With multiple points of contact, it becomes essential to exceed customer expectations at every point. According to a Harvard study, 45% of businesses view CXM as a major strategic priority.
Customer experience transformation prepares a business to interact with customers both directly and indirectly via technology. With AI and ML evolving customer experience to the individual level, it is possible to show customers what they want wherever they are.
Customer Journey or Tech Stack – What Needs to be Picked First?
39% of businesses changed their SaaS stack last year, as per the 2019 Annual SaaS Trends Report. The report also points out that more than 70% of businesses have at least a SaaS subscription with no billing owner. This is a big loss for businesses, especially mid-market companies. It occurs as most companies prioritize the selection of core technology and then adapt it as per their unique needs.
Inefficient spending, siloed data and poorly executed experiences are some products of putting technology before customer experience and journey in a customer experience strategy. The technology stacks a business adapts for CX is driven by customers more than anything else. Prioritizing customers helps businesses leverage technology to activate unique experiences throughout the entire journey.
For marketers, building a marketing technology stack for customer experience management should start by answering the following CX questions.
What does my customer journey look like?
Who is the user? What are they trying to do? What have they done before? How best to resolve their query? Ultimately, what is the next best conversation to have with a particular buyer persona.
Once the answers to the above questions are clear, organizations can pick the right technology stack as per:
The most important customer types identified via visitor segmentation and personas
The channels that are best suited for each segment and stage in the journey
The needs/intent, digital goals and content for each segment and stage in the journey
Adopt a Customer-First Approach for The Digitally Conscious Customer
Creating customer journey mapping before picking up the ideal technology helps brands focus on exactly what they need. It enables organizations to choose a tech stack that enhances customer experience while giving them an edge over their competitors. To understand how this exactly happens, take the example of New York Road Runners (NYRR).
NYRR’s objective was to create personalized virtual experiences across different channels. They wanted a more passionate running community. The goal was to modernize systems to align with the different buyer personas that interact with the organization. We began by understanding the journeys of different personas such as the active runner, the marathon-only runner and the family runner with NYRR.
When the journey mapping was done, we started conceptualizing the technology to create memorable 1:1 customer experience. We selected Sitecore, as the quest was to connect runners, events and volunteers to deliver true personalized experiences rather than just content. This led to a significant increase in NYRR’s interaction with customers and paved the way for virtual training sessions and events. This further helped NYRR stay strong and relevant in challenging times like COVID-19 when no offline marathons or events could be hosted.
The Essentials to Align Tech Stack to Your Digital Transformation Strategy
93% of companies consider innovative technologies as necessary to reach their digital transformation goals. This has buffed up even more after COVID with almost all businesses moving online. We know technology is essential. The customer experience goals have already been established. So, now the focus needs to be on augmenting CX using two vital principles – personalization and intelligence.
80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. They want the brand to understand them and cater to their needs. Personalization helps talk to audiences in the way they expect or want. There are multiple ways to drive personalized conversations with target audiences via technology.
Delivering a personalized customer experience requires brands to be vigilant at every touchpoint. Brands also need to build upon past experiences to deliver better future interactions. This asks for an effective delivery mechanism to cater to different personas. This is where intelligence comes.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have transformed customer service as a domain. Now it is showing the same prowess with customer experience management. From personalization and customer service to availability and customer satisfaction, AI and ML are the best mediums to orchestrate the delivery of intelligent CX in real time across all channels.
The digitally conscious customer can find a business through a website, voice conversation, a mixed-reality experience or some other medium. So, ensuring that digital experience is the same across all channels is a priority. When a brand is consistent and can respond back to customers naturally without any hassles, it’s a win-win position for both the business and customers.
Choosing the Ideal CX Transformation Technology
As per Mckinsey, 70% of customer experience transformation initiatives do not reach their stated goals. This failure is mostly a result of technology first approach or inconsistent research. It can also occur when the CX transformation strategy is not the right fit for your business.
So, there are a few important first questions while choosing a technology to improve customer experience across all channels.
Does the technology truly cater to the different stages of the customer journey? Are there cases to show this?
How easy is it to integrate the technology with other technology platforms?
How easy will it be for marketing, sales and/or support teams to use?
Will the technology allow these teams to be self-sufficient, or will they still be reliant on coding and development support?
What does the onboarding program look like? What support channels are available once signing on? Does the partner offer a series of demos and/or a trial period for their technology?
Not only with CX, picking an ideal technology stack is vital to enhance business communication, productivity, inventory management and other key business operations. An innovative customer experience strategy is the answer to earn loyalty and grow market share in an incredibly competitive environment. In simple words, a customer experience strategy is needed in 2020 for every brand.
An ideal CX strategy partner invests in ongoing research, development and innovation. We have helped multiple clients including ASTM, David Zwirner and SmileTrain across different domains to redesign customer experience.