Many companies in the private sector are struggling to grasp the concept of digital transformation and how it impacts customer experiences. Often, they are miles behind some of their competitors, and especially the new entrants to the market who might come in with all their digital ducks in a row. Chief executives (CEOs) and information officers (CIOs) who are serious about hitting their digital transformation goals can benefit from understanding the pros and cons of customer experience management (CEM or CXM) explained here.
But what is customer experience management in digital transformation, and why should you give it attention?
Customer experience management explained.
According to Gartner, CEM is the group of processes a company uses to monitor and improve customer loyalty and satisfaction, the technology it uses, and the steps it takes to meet or exceed customer expectations. Getting it right requires companies to have a 360-degree view of clients and their account activities. It’s also necessary for the company to:
- Collect customer insights to help you understand your market's needs and behaviours, and segment them into groups based on these.
- Design a customer journey map that highlights the main touch points with the product or service, and predicts the success of these.
- Create an emotional connection between the brand personality and the customer.
- Gather customer feedback to help track the effectiveness of the process.
Customer service and customer experience management might seem to be the same. The first is just a single touch point with a brand, however, while the second covers the customer’s entire journey.
Most companies operate in silos because each “department” or division has its own tasks and processes that often don’t need it to interact with other departments. This results in siloed customer experience management because, if departments aren’t talking to each other, the customer might not get the same quality of service from different areas of the company. To avoid this, you need to make sure all departments are on board with the customer experience strategy.
How customers are driving the change.
People these days are connected almost constantly through the internet or other digital means. Even in the smallest rural villages in Asia and Africa, mobile phones give residents the chance to get online and do their business. This has forced many companies and industries into continuous connection, according to the Harvard Business Review.
To accommodate these new, modern-day buyers, businesses need to be digital and allow for 24/7 customer relationships. Digital transformation is causing companies to change their business models to adapt to their markets’ new reality. In most cases, therefore, it’s not companies driving the change but the customers, making customer experience management (CEM) a vital stage of digital transformation.
To deliver an experience that satisfies customer perceptions, it’s important to put them first when you start the journey towards digitisation.
What customers want.
Digital technology has changed consumers' habits.
The use of mobile phones, tablets, apps, and automated systems allows them to get what they want at almost the exact moment they need it. In turn, this has resulted in a shift in the way companies manage the customer, from providing customer service through to methods of customer retention. What customers want these days is to be heard, understood, and to have their needs seen and catered to—even before they realise they have them.
The modern customer is looking for a whole experience, which includes pleasant dealings with your company. They want the buying process to be simple, the product or service to do what it promises to do, and to be able to communicate easily in real time with one person in the company using the channels they are most familiar with.
This means you need to set up many ways for customers to contact you and to make sure every person they deal with has access to full information about their account and purchase history.
You also need to give each member of your staff the ability and power to make decisions that will satisfy the customers’ demands. This can be tricky, so to protect your company systems and data you will have to develop answers for every possible question that might come up. Statistics show it takes a customer 12 positive experiences to make up for a single unresolved bad experience. This proves just how important it is to avoid giving anyone a negative experience wherever possible.
In a customer-focused organisation, a good customer experience strategy should be a top-down, cross-company effort, according to a 2018 report from Forrester Research. When this happens, the transformation spreads across departments like IT, HR, marketing, sales and other operations, as the people in charge of these areas work together to improve the customer experience across the different functions.
In the current digital era, brands are under pressure to make use of the latest technology to keep up with their customers’ ongoing expectations. As we increasingly adopt processes like mobile payments, online buying and digital account management, customers are starting to expect every company to be able to offer these options, smoothly and capably.
Becoming customer-centric through digital transformation means instead of waiting for the customer to make contact, you should reach out to them, work to educate them, and build a relationship with them—long before they have a need for your product or service.
Collecting customer data.
Before you can design a great customer service experience, you need to understand where your company falls short. Create a detailed customer journey map based on information from existing customers. Present customer surveys online, by email, and through social media, to find out what the level of brand loyalty is and the touch points customers experience. By getting this kind of valuable customer feedback, you’ll be able to find out what their pain points are during their dealings with you.
After you collect the right customer data, you’ll be able to analyse the way the customer experiences affect your bottom line and to figure out how more use of technology is likely to affect you. This is an issue facing many companies, according to a research report from IDC. The report shows two-thirds of Global 2000 companies plan to shift their focus from traditional, offline methods before the end of 2019, and to start using more modern digital strategies to improve the customer experience.
Developing a strategy.
To develop a strategy for delivering great customer experiences, you’ll need to take several steps. These are:
- Examine your data to find out how your typical customer feels, and use different data sets to create two to four buyer personas.
- Do a proper analysis of your business’s mission, vision and values, and write down the customer experience (CX) you want to offer, which will help you achieve your company goals and make your customers happy.
- Work backwards from the excellent customer experience you aim to deliver. List the various stages of your brand’s customer experience and make changes in places where you think you can make a good impression.
- Focus on finding ways to solve real problems, instead of looking at your product’s features or superficial aspects.
The customer experience management system you develop should focus on the end-to-end customer life cycle. This will help you to prevent silos from developing and ensure the customer’s entire contact with your company goes smoothly.
Customer expectations are higher than ever.
Currently, customers expect more from the companies they deal with than they ever have before. “Word of mouth” travels fast, especially with online reviews, social media and other forums that give customers more power every day.
As these channels for customer feedback and reputation management grow, the customer experience becomes more and more important. This is an area of your business that needs continual care and nurturing from management at all levels in the company. By increasing their focus on the customer experience strategy, your management team will see good results such as more loyal customers, better retention numbers, and more revenue.
Good customer experience management is obviously vital to the success of every company offering a product or service, and digitisation gives you the opportunity to make it possible in a way it never was before. If your company wants to keep your customers and grow your market share, you need to start your digital transformation as soon as possible or you might find yourself left behind. Chances are good your competitors aren’t wasting any time getting their strategy set up.