by Kurt Schroeder and John Seeds
In 2020, many organizations were forced to reassess and reprioritize plans to support pandemic-related consumer and marketplace shifts. Avtex was no exception. When COVID-19 hit, our organization enacted new strategic priorities to preserve job security and triage the needs of our clients.
Throughout the pandemic, Avtex continued to build client relationships, bring in new market share and grow our business. Here are the tried-and-true strategies we leverage to consistently deliver value to our clients and grow our business, even during a national crisis.
Prioritize the Needs of Current Clients
When the pandemic struck, Avtex prioritized the delivery of solutions and support that would help our current clients address the changing needs of their business and consumers. Avtex strives to deliver strategic value to our current clients, even above attracting new clients and markets. Building more intimate and relevant relationships with clients is the most important element in driving long-term value for the business, above all else. Ensuring the growth and stability of your clients, especially during trying times, will strengthen an already strong partnership and help secure the future success of your business.
Strong client relationships involve the following key elements:
- Provide a consultative approach to understanding and addressing their needs
- Stay attune to any shifts in needs or priorities
- Open-up a two-way channel of communication
- Keep accurate, comprehensive information about all clients purchases and interactions
- Analyze customer data to anticipate and predict their needs
- Quickly and efficiently address clients’ incoming requests
- Send timely communications and updates, through their channel of choice
- Proactively offer services and solutions that are relevant to their needs
- Offer on-demand, self-service options to simplify clients’ needs and inquiries
- Deliver life-long loyalty and value to all clients, acknowledging the history while addressing the future
- Adapt solutions, services and approach to clients evolving needs
- Provide dedicated support to address ongoing needs and concerns
Prioritizing clients’ needs will lead to life-long value for your business. Brand loyalty, cross-sales opportunities and peer advocacy all result from strong client relationships, which will in turn attract more business with current a prospective clients.
Keep a Forward-Thinking Business Model
The most competitive businesses address the trends and concerns of today, while always thinking ahead to ‘what’s next’, even when in crisis-mode. In fact, crises oftentimes present even more of a need to think ahead to consumer expectations and marketplace needs post-crisis. Having a growth-minded, forward-thinking business model that is true to your brand will enable you to remain competitive, whatever comes.
Forward-thinking organizations share the following qualities:
- A constant understanding of market and consumer needs and expectations at any given time
- Customer data that identifies shifting expectations and behaviors
- Agile, elastic strategic growth plans that leave room to adapt to market shifts and ‘not yet knowns’
- Unyielding brand values that are imbedded into all internal and external elements of the business
- An enterprise-wide commitment to deliver next level solutions and experiences to anyone that engages with the brand
- An autonomous culture of passionate, growth-minded employees, from the top-down
- Evolving solutions and service to address the changing needs of clients and customers
Thinking ahead to the future needs of your consumers and determining how your business can evolve to deliver on those, versus just addressing the needs of today, is the differentiator between a business that’s surviving and a business that’s thriving.
Build Operations that Facilitate Excellence
Thinking ahead to the future is one thing, but being able to act on those future needs is another. Businesses will need a strong, agile infrastructure to quickly adapt to the needs of their internal and external audiences. Business operations can make or break experiences for your clients, customers or employees, which in turn can make our break your organization’s ability to deliver excellence.
The following operational components will help facilitate excellence:
- Talent retention and growth to support client relationships and servicing
- A single data platform that collects and manages information from all systems and touchpoints
- Data analytics technology that can diagnose and predict the wants and behaviors of individual customers and the larger marketplace
- Resource, staff and technology expansion to fulfill current or foreseen growth
- Customer enablement tools to enhance and simplify customer service experiences (i.e. chatbots, self-service portals, etc.)
- Competitive benefits and incentives that reward and motivate staff
- Employee enablement tools and technologies that simplify and improve on the job experiences, to support their ability to deliver a “Wow” customer experience
- Streamlined, aligned technologies that simplify operations across the enterprise
- Partnerships to add business and customer value
The through-line of the above recommendations is this: the wants of your internal and external audiences should be given equal weight when establishing new operational efficiencies. Your employees, clients and customers should have access to tools, information and solutions that support their needs and amplify their experiences in a meaningful way. A business cannot deliver real, impactful value to any one group without considering the other.
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Make Customer Experience a Strategic Priority
Once upon a time, brands competed with others business within their specific sector (financial services, retail, etc) for consumer attention and business. That is no longer the case. With the growth in digitization, which was accelerated during the pandemic, businesses now must compete with brands spanning all industries, at a global scale. Now more than ever, consumers judge a brand by comparing it to their last best experience, no matter where it was held.
As such, customer experience (CX) has become a topmost priority and key differentiator for today’s most competitive brands. These brands understand that a successful CX strategy requires technologies and processes as well as a team or partnership to execute on these operational elements! Organizations that can consistently deliver exceptional, memorable experiences will be most successful at staying ahead of the pack, no matter what they are selling or who they are competing against.
The following strategic elements are needed to deliver competitive CX:
CX Foundation & Design
- Establishing CX as a core priority and mindset throughout the culture of the organization, going beyond technologies and processes to deliver warmth & competency to every customer
- Building CX as a key consideration for all strategic growth initiatives, including:
- Market-driven technology and solution offerings
- Customer service capabilities
- Expansion into new locations or markets
- Expanding the business into new locations or markets to how, when and where to expand the business
- Considering how and where to enhance consumer experiences and customer service, across all channels
- Weaving together ‘Know Me. Help Me. Value Me.’ as foundational components for all consumer interactions and experiences, e.g.
- Know Me: Delivering hyper personalized, even predictive, experiences and offerings
- Help Me: Providing a unified, frictionless omni-channel engagements and experience to every consumer
- Value Me: Addressing unique, expanding needs for every type of customer and market
CX Orchestration & Enablement
- Documenting CX as a required component for all large projects and initiatives
- Establishing and integrating technologies in a way that benefits the business and consumers
- Hiring a dedicated resource or third-party consultant to lead CX strategy for the business to ensure this strategy is prioritized and carried out
- Enabling the foundational components of CX with technology and processes, e.g.
- Know Me: Building accurate, meaningful customer intelligence and insights through comprehensive data collection
- Help Me: Leveraging back-end data and front-end capabilities and to enable customers with the right information, through the right channel, at the right time
- Value Me: Investing in solutions that simplify front-end and back-end processes to enable stress-free, high-value experiences for employees and customers
What Avtex is Doing to Stay Ahead of the Curve
Avtex aims to model exceptional CX for our clients and customers, delivering on this mission from within. We continue to mature our business so that we may continue to deliver the same exceptional experiences that we advocate.
Here are some of the ways Avtex has continued to grow and evolve:
- Expanding staff and technology bandwidth to continue offering above-and-beyond support to our clients
- Offering solutions tailored to the unique needs of the markets we serve, examples include
- Retail: Supporting eCommerce and curbside service demands of a socially distanced marketplace
- Financial Institutions: Supporting a mobile-first, branchless banking and service model
- Healthcare: Supporting remote health and service needs amongst increasing patient/member concerns and inquiries
- Public Sector: Supporting digital transformation to deliver services and address inquiries in a more efficient, cost-effective way
- Pulling in partners and technologies to allow us to deliver on customer trends in the best possible way
- Continually analyzing and refreshing our systems and processes so we can keep accelerating what we do for our clients as these needs change and mature
- Leveraging data to understand our markets and predict their needs
- Facilitating an exceptional employee experience and competitive internal culture
- Developing applications and providing consultation to better support the needs of our partners
- Expanding leaders within the business to address and improve our CX strategy
CX Design & Orchestration
- Know Me: Avtex leverages a single customer data platform to pool comprehensive data on all of our clients and customers, so we may best address their needs of today and predict what they may need tomorrow
- Help Me: Through integrated technology and data, Avtex delivers a unified, omni-channel experience through every engagement and interaction
- Value Me: Avtex is dedicated to providing CX consultation to help any businesses succeed, no matter where they are at in the CX process
Avtex is in the business of helping our clients feed exceptional experiences through the right solutions, operations, culture and relationships. As such, we are committed to delivering on these same priorities so we can help our clients execute on theirs. We are proud of the success and growth we have achieved for our business and the businesses of our clients, and we will continue to strive for excellence in the years to come.