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Guest Blogger

By Nicola Buckley, Park Place Technologies EVP, Global Service Delivery

A year into the pandemic and our lives are well and truly virtual. Work, play, shopping – it all takes place online. But only the businesses that put some sizzle into their customer experience (CX) can truly capture the opportunity this presents. The problem is, there is a disconnect between CEOs and their customers – while 91% of CEOs believe they deliver a superior experience, only 30% of customers agree. This undermines brand sentiment more than most CEOs realise. When physical touchpoints are on hold, how do you bridge that gap and make CX a CEO priority – and business imperative?

The emotional journey

Businesses should be afraid of mediocre customer experiences. This is business critical and must be addressed – and can be countered by embracing emotional customer connections. Afterall, experience is highly emotive and a brand’s ability to connect with customers emotionally strongly impacts customer preference and NPR (Net Promoter Score) – driving business success.

But what does this really mean, and how do we get there? To give customers what they want, businesses need to understand customers, by listening and valuing them. This is critical to building functional, emotional and strong relationships that require nurturing – just as our own relationships need to be cared for.

Ensuring your business’ CX design framework is working for your customers is key, so put that understanding into action. Good design has humans at its heart – and this means designing for emotional connection.

Complexity is the enemy of good CX   

After a year in which physical customer service touchpoints disappeared over night, with rolling lockdowns and a nod to more hybrid futures – all eyes are on digital CX. Lifting the hood on customer experience will reveal potential sticking points that could be undermining your CX strategy – and to stay competitive in today’s digital-first world, they must be addressed with urgency. Accenture research shows that leading companies are twice as likely (55% versus 26%) to have the ability to translate customer data into actions.

Ensuring that services run smoothly, consistently and responsively is paramount. The costs of downtime can be immense, with customers turning their attentions to other platforms. But how can businesses maximise their uptime? They need to move from slow and reactionary models of data centre management to proactive and automated monitoring, for example:

  • Employing a fully-automated maintenance service, that streamlines the hardware support process and helps data centres everywhere boost uptime.
  • Proactivity is the aim of the game and with an automated maintenance service hardware events can be identified, incidents tickets opened and the issue triaged automatically – reducing complexity.

To totally streamline the process, a single pane of glass approach to data centre management is critical – giving businesses the full view with an easy-to-use interface and dashboard so there is complete alignment with real-time insights. With these solutions in place, businesses can combat complexity and ensure the optimal digital CX.

Becoming authentically global

Being a global business means more than delivering products and services in other regions – it means providing the infrastructure to engage with customers along their journey within each region, too. This is essential when it comes to building emotional connections with customers, in which they feel valued – as much as a customer in another region.

This can be achieved through the roll-out of 24/7 regional helplines – so that the baseline for customer experience is standardised across the business. Meanwhile, ensuring support is provided in the customer’s mother tongue. While the omnichannel mix of customer touchpoints means that customers can connect in a far wider variety of ways than ever before, talking to a human is still a large factor in the mix – and having immediate, 24/7 support helps to build the loyalty and trust that keep customers coming back.

The provision of live chat touchpoints adds a flexibility that benefits the always-on expectations of today’s customers – regardless of time zones. Advanced AI chatbots can support customers in multiple languages, providing consistent and immediate customer care and diverting to the sales team for more complex questions. They help to keep the customer close, presenting an immediate point of engagement.

Turning moments into memories

Creating emotional connections with customers results in key moments – and by catching, documenting and celebrating these moments they are turned into memories. This is important when building brand sentiment, marketing and setting up customer expectations for the brand and what it stands for. Excellent CX is a key selling point for any business, so cementing moments into memories makes good business sense.

But how do you go about this, when your business manages thousands of interactions every day? You need to invest in your people. Firstly, cultivate these moments by delivering best in-class training to CX teams around the world. This ensures consistent excellent across the business, driving the focus on human connection for the ultimate moments. The team needs to be motivated to provide the gold standard CX and this can be achieved through recognition and celebration of great work. A Customer Satisfaction Awards ceremony, rewarding team members for customer recognition is one way encourage excellence, allowing individuals to own their successes and others to understand the pathway to success.

Externally, you want customers to recognise and appreciate the level of CX – this understanding will drive engagement and boost sales. Customer testimonials are powerful tools for driving trust and credibility.  By spotlighting great customer feedback on websites and social media, those emotional connections are memorialised and stored away in customer consciousness – leading to greater sales conversion rates.

People powered culture

Happy people lead to great work and fulfilled customers – your team members are the soul of the brand. By streamlining CX processing, investing in technologies that supplement the power of your people, those vital human customer connections will flourish – and distracting complexities will disappear.

Staying on top of customer sentiment is critical in order to maintain the highest standard of experience. Maintaining 24/7 customer focus can be achieved by: establishing a Customer Advisory Board to help ensure the business is in line with customer expectations; staying on top of customer satisfaction with rigorous survey reviews and spotlighting the importance of customer value with excellent relationship management.

These five focus areas will turbocharge business when done right – and as customer experience becomes even more critical in this digital-first era, CEO’s need to lead the charge.  An experience renaissance is afoot and there is a growing need for businesses to recalibrate with purposeful, human emotion leading customer experiences. CX is now a business focus and the C-suite are increasingly on board – are you?

About the Author

As Executive Vice President, Global Service Delivery, Nicola is responsible for Global Service Operations delivery including the Global Support Centre and Advanced Engineering divisions. Nicola is focused on developing expert technical teams supported by next generation technology capabilities. This includes IoT, M2M and Big Data technologies delivering a superior digital experience through AI. Nicola is focused on driving a trusted partnership with our customers, by helping them with their own personal journey of consolidation and optimisation.

Prior to joining Park Place Technologies, Nicola was with Dell EMC for 20 years. She held various roles, starting as a technical support engineer. From there she held several Customer First focused roles, including Customer Satisfaction programs, programs supporting IoT and M2M capabilities and led a customer and technical support organization delivering Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, Converged and Hyper Converged organizations.

Nicola is a native of Ireland. She attended University College Cork (UCC) for a Bachelors degree in Electrical and Microelectronic Engineering, and Brandeis University for a Masters degree in Program Management. Nicola currently resides in Massachusetts, US with her husband and daughter.

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