by Larry Mead, Kate Kompelien and Kurt Schroeder
How can your organization best use technology to engage customers?
Technology plays a role in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. From the moment we wake up, to the moment we fall asleep, we rely on hardware and software to complete a variety of tasks. While the role of technology in our daily lives is clear, many organizations overlook the role technology can play in Customer Experience and the development of customer relationships.
In point of fact, technology serves as the foundation of nearly every aspect of Customer Experience, including:
- Interactions: Today, nearly every interaction occurring between a customer and an organization is driven or supported by at least one form of technology. In many cases, multiple platforms converge to support an interaction between your business and your customers. Without technology solutions, such as your contact center platform, CRM or mobile applications, the channels of communication between your customers and your business would be virtually nonexistent, or at least far less effective.
- Measurement: Understanding the effectiveness of your CX efforts would be virtually impossible without technology. From survey tools to business analytics solutions, technology makes it possible to obtain a real-time, holistic view of your customers’ satisfaction, and the overall impact of your CX initiatives.
- Planning: The development of future CX strategies and initiatives requires a thorough knowledge of your customers’ expectations and their preferred methods of interacting with your business. Technology plays a key role in developing this knowledge and putting it to maximum use. Voice of the Customer platforms, survey tools, CRM, visual road map design tools and other technologies all make the process of planning for your organization’s CX future much more manageable, and effective.
Without the support of various technology solutions, attracting, retaining and engaging today’s customers would be all but impossible.
How can you make the most of CX technology? It starts with knowledge.
Understanding the role technology plays in CX is just one part of the overall battle to win the admiration and loyalty of your customers. It is also important to ensure that the technologies you use function at peak levels, and that your technology ecosystem meets the expectations of customers and the needs of your employees.
The more you and your team know about the CX technology marketplace, the better positioned you are to optimize your ecosystem. Here are a few things to remember when assessing your current use of CX technologies or considering a new addition to your CX technology ecosystem.
Start at the Beginning
Maximizing the effectiveness of your CX technology ecosystem requires a clear plan of action.
Strategic planning begins with a current-state assessment; without truly knowing where you are today, optimizing your ecosystem and effectively planning for tomorrow is all but impossible.
First things first. Conduct a thorough assessment of the various technologies in use today. Make note of each technology’s utilization (what does it do?), integrations (what other technologies does it work with?), requirements (what does it take to run and maintain?) and cost (how much are license fees and maintenance?). Work with the staff members who maintain these technologies, as well as employees that use them every day, to gather information about the strengths, weaknesses and challenges associated with each platform.
Using the information gathered during this initial assessment, you can begin to plan a road map for optimization of current technologies or replacement/addition of new solutions.
Always Keep Users in Mind
When considering the effectiveness of your CX technologies, it is important to view each solution from a user’s perspective. In many cases, users include your customers AND Your employees.
When reviewing your current technologies or a new solution, always consider their impact on these users. Will the technology in question offer valuable benefit to users? Does the technology possess inherent challenges that must be overcome by users? Will users actually USE the technology?
This user-centric thought process will help your organization focus on technologies that provide value to your intended user group – your customers and employees.
Monitor CX Technology Trends
Just like customer expectations, the technologies we use to meet them are evolving at a rapid pace. Solutions and tools that once were leading-edge have fallen behind the curve as new, better, faster and more powerful technologies emerge. Newly emerging solutions and innovative uses of current technology have the potential to revolutionize the delivery of customer interactions.
With that in mind, it is important to keep your eyes and ears open to the ways other businesses make use of technology to fuel their CX initiatives. Pay close attention to your competition, of course, but also remain aware of what businesses in other industries are doing to leverage technology to support customer relationship building.
Remember that Help is Readily Available
Today’s technology platforms, solutions and applications are more complex and powerful than anything we’ve ever seen. While this is good for many reasons, it can make understanding the full features, capabilities and requirements of a piece of technology difficult.
Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to tackle your CX technology issues alone. Consulting firms, such as Avtex, are here to advise you on all facets of your CX technology ecosystem. Whether you need assistance conducting an objective CX technology assessment, innovating your current technology use or implementing a new solution, expert help is available.