While I was not yet fully recovered from a recent move into a house near my office, I had to kick-start a linear array of daunting tasks to transfer my internet, telephone and cable television accounts to the new address.
- It took four business days for my existing internet service provider to confirm that service coverage was not available in the new location.
- Another service provider that offered coverage in my area for internet didn’t even bother to check if I needed cable service as well. I had to make two parallel follow-ups over a week’s time to get these two connections set up from the very same new provider.
- As if that wasn’t enough, a customer service associate from one of the region’s leading credit card service providers followed up with me about my online application for a new card, submitted on their website form a year ago! What upset me further was they didn’t even realize that I have been a customer all the while.
These related scenarios made me realize that many organizations have yet to utilize the right technology to provide a good customer experience. Let’s look at a few ways they could improve that experience.
Self-service functionality, dashboards and user interface
My ex- internet service provider apparently doesn’t have the ability to instantly check service availability in different locations. Deploying an external self-service functionality to handle similar repeat customer queries would have taken care of this scenario. Organizations that have a horizontal matrix setup, newer business models and multiple modular offerings must have the functionality of an integrated dashboard. Business-friendly dashboards should have a clear, intuitive and responsive user interface that integrates extremely well with multiple back-end systems and dynamically displays a 360-degree view of the customer, customer interaction history, suggested cross-sell opportunities and contextual help to leave a lasting impression with the customer.
Integration and context
My new internet service provider doesn’t seem to have any technology integration among their business verticals. This integration could have provided the online service associate with relevant, related product information on the fly to efficiently cross-sell their offerings. Customer-facing sales associates and field service engineers could benefit from access to scenario-based contextual business rules and easily consumable sales help material to improve their ability to efficiently capture new customers and effectively retain existing customers.
Workflows, forms and rules
Apparently, the credit card provider in my example doesn’t have action-oriented workflows to act upon customer queries flowing across different customer touch points through various digital channels. Online forms need to do more than simply capture customer queries and email them to the assigned executives. Business rules could be assigned to the responses for online forms with time-based service level agreements to trigger different follow-ups that could ensure customers’ queries are addressed to the fullest extent.
A recent Gartner survey on the role of marketing in the customer experience found that “by 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience.” I can’t think of a prediction that better illustrates the need for businesses to adapt digital technologies that can help to create unique, long-lasting customer experiences.
Even though technology has advanced and many of the early challenges of automation have been solved, many organizations—such as those I dealt with during my recent move—have yet to completely adapt. They need an integrated approach like the one that can be provided by IBM Digital Experience Solutions. To get a first-hand look at these solutions and more, check out the IBM Digital Experience 2015 in Atlanta in early June.
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