Even as CX technology advances – from automations to AI – at the end of the day, customers still want one thing: quality, personalized service experiences. No matter the form of communication offered, whether it be self-service, SMS, digital channels, or phone conversations with a service rep, organizations that are able to consistently deliver exceptional personalized experiences across channels will retain an immense competitive advantage.
The numbers speak for themselves:
- 61% of customers will stay with a company with low-effort resolutions
- 73% of people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions
- 82% of consumers want more human interaction in the future
So what is a company to do with this much importance placed on CX? We already know that customer experience is top of mind for leaders across industries. In fact, 63% of businesses list improving operational excellence as a top priority in 2023. If your business is included in that number, read on to find out what you can expect as you keep CX top of mind this year and into the future.
Focus on the Human Element of CX
It’s clear that today’s customers expect intelligent automation and self-service. So clear in fact, that in 2022 companies spent about $2 billion on conversational AI self-service tools, and are forecasted to reap up to $80 billion in cost saving by 2026 from these same tools as the prevalence of these services continues to grow.
But even as customers and businesses are moving more towards AI and self-service, there is still a need for human empathy when it comes to CX. 59% of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience. That human element of customer experience is still essential to ensure your customers are being taken care of. When developing and implementing automations, the transition between tools and human interaction must be seamless.
“There’s nothing wrong with the idea of being digital-first, but it certainly cannot be digital-only,” says Denis Seynhaeve, Chairman and CEO of 3CLogic, “Machines do not have compassion. Maybe someday they will, but right now when a customer gets passed from self-service to a human, that human interaction will make the difference in their experience.”
Agents that interact personally with customers must act with empathy and expertise now more than ever — a single interaction can create a lasting positive or negative perception of your brand. Organizations that understand this and therefore leverage AI to amplify and complement these empathetic and intelligent human interactions will be the ones that prevail.
Stop Overspending and Underusing CX Tools
How organizations manage their CX tools greatly contributes to the level of service their customers receive. Currently, the service management industry is in a state of flux with the pendulum at risk of swinging too far toward adopting new systems and platforms at a pace that outstrips their actual utilization. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies accumulated too much technology. More than a third of software purchased by U.S. companies go unused — costing roughly $30 billion a year.
Companies are spending a considerable amount of money on CX tools and applications that are not getting used — wasting money and critical resources. As the market slows down, organizations must reflect on what is working, what is being used, and what is really necessary.
“I see 2023 as the year of consolidation,” says Kiran Karadi, VP of Product Management at SAP Service Cloud. “Are we getting value from this license? Are we using it for the purpose that we bought it? Are the solutions we purchased making things easier for our users?” These are the questions service leaders must start asking.
Consolidating your CX tools, apps, and platforms will be essential not only for streamlining operations but for delivering a better agent and customer experience. Service leaders must use this moment as a time of reflection and an opportunity to improve value by reducing cost and complexity.
Simplify Overlapping CX Tools
The average company has 254 licensed SaaS apps today, but reports only using 45% of them over a 60-day period. That means that nearly half of the apps a company has in place are not being used. Think about the average cost of your CX tools, and what cutting that cost in half could look like for your bottom line.
Not only do companies have too many tools, many have multiple tools that are being used for similar or even identical features. Pegasystems found that the average employee switches apps 1,100 times per day. This astounding overlapping and switching between tools and platforms creates organizational headaches and unnecessary complexity for both agents and customers.
“No customer ever wants to be exposed to the complexity of your organization,” says Nitin Badjatia, SVP Product Marketing and Solutions Management for SAP Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. “The last thing you want to hear is ‘I need to route you to another department.’” The more apps and disparate CX tools your organization uses, the more you risk exposing customers to that very experience they do not want to have.
When it comes to communication, customers and employees alike want to be able to do more with less. A recent survey found that 83% of respondents want access to a messaging platform, voice calling, and video meetings all in one app.
Instead of continuing to add apps to solve individual needs — especially knowing now that many of them have overlapping features — organizations must find tools and solutions that integrate into the systems they’re already using. In the service industry, that means leveraging a service platform that delivers almost everything you need on both the customer and operations sides, then adding in additional engagement layers, like voice and SMS workflows, to not only fill in the gaps but deliver even better CX while lower costs.
This strategic simplification via consolidation and integration will be fundamental for improving service quality and delivering a consistent experience across the globe.
Keep Customer Data Safe
The future of CX will bring even more ways to automate. But with that innovation comes more risk to customer data. It’s been several years since the introduction of GDPR, and its influence is only getting stronger and more widespread across the globe. In January of 2023, DLA Piper's GDPR and Data Breach survey showed a 50% increase in GDPR fines during the previous 12 months.
At the same time, global companies must navigate and accommodate privacy regulations that vary across countries and can change drastically in mere months. Protecting customer data is no longer a nice-to-have for any modern organization — it’s a requirement.
These regulations have a direct impact on customers and the customer experience, and is yet another contributing factor to consolidating your CX tools. Would you rather have to manage data security and privacy regulations across fifty apps or five? The fewer disparate tools an organization has to manage, the less likely a breach of their customers’ data will occur.
It may now seem commonplace to use any and all avenues to gather every morsel of data possible on your customers and prospects. But as we look forward, customers will expect to be taken care of by their vendors.
With improved customer experience, organizations may not even need to do as much foraging for data. In fact, 63% of customers say they’d share more information with a company that offers a great experience.
“First and foremost, respect customers, respect their privacy,” says Nitin. “Focus on the value you give to them, don’t try to surveil them and try to extrapolate the next thing that they might want to buy or do. Do it within a matter of a normal course of business – a trust foundation.” Building a foundation of trust will be increasingly important when it comes to automation. As we continue forward into the future, organizations must adopt both tools and a strategy that prioritizes privacy and security measures to keep customers’ data safe.
Is your team ready for the future of CX?
It’s clear that the future of customer experience is now. The better experience your customers have, the more likely they will stay with you for years to come, and trust you with their business. Finding the right platforms that give your business exactly what it needs without overlap, that your teams will adopt, is crucial to delivering that exceptional experience.
If your business is using a system of record like SAP Service Cloud, you may be wondering how to consolidate and streamline the connection between your automations and digital support channels and your support team.
3CLogic can help navigate that connection with seamless integrations that will only add value to your customers' experience.