Five Essentials for Driving a Positive Customer Experience in 2020

January 27, 2020 Erica Ong

Creating a positive customer experience (CX) has become not just a nice-to-have, but a requirement for business success.

All the end users businesses serve — customers, employees, patients, travelers, members — have higher expectations and are increasingly spending more and retaining their business with companies that provide the best experience. With the speed of advancements in technology, experience has to be designed around, and complementary to, the customer’s journey — so whatever path they choose is meaningful, intuitive, individualized, and, regardless of channel, completely connected.

Businesses must meet their customers and employees at the intersection of their needs and wants — where expectations are formed and shaped. But expectations may be one of the most challenging items to address because as technology continues to evolve, expectations follow suit. For many companies, there’s a lot of work to be done before positive CX results can be realized. Until those needs are addressed, companies risk losing revenue and customers.

Here are five essentials for driving a positive customer experience.

  1. Self-Service

Customers want to get what they want, when they want it — unconstrained by hours of operation or cumbersome steps to get information. Customers expect to be able to engage with companies just like they do with their friends and family — through their phone, via text or messaging apps, and have it be intuitive and instantaneous.

Amazon is a leader of self-service-driven success, but consider also Southwest Airlines. They say they think of themselves as a customer service company that happens to fly airplanes — “on schedule, with personality and perks along the way.”  

Southwest has become renowned for being easy to fly with and they actually save costs by shifting work to their customers — seat selection, self-check-in, self-tagging of baggage. What happens as a result?  For the third consecutive year, Southwest Airlines sits at the top of J.D. Power’s 2019 North American Airline Satisfaction ranking.

At Conduent, results like this motivate us in helping our clients. Whether it’s implementing new ways for travelers to book reservations, enabling self-sufficiency for our clients’ employees via Life@Work® solutions, or making it simple for customers and lenders to process a loan — effortless self-service enablement is a key component of customer satisfaction in all the industries we serve.

  1. Personalization

Just like when engaging with friends and family, customers expect companies they do regular business with to know who they are. For example, if I’m calling my cable company at 8 p.m. on Friday after trying to stream a movie, I’m probably calling about a problem related to that. However, if I call at 9 a.m. the Monday after receiving my bill, I’m likely calling with a billing question.

The more a company can add value to the customer experience using what they know about a customer, the more information individuals are willing to share. There are over 30,000 Starbucks locations on the planet, but each and every one of them know my usual coffee order and has the power to surprise and delight me with discounts and special offers whenever I am near any of their locations. That builds loyalty.

At Conduent, our focus is on helping our clients make every interaction personalized and intelligent. The more this happens, the more the customer experience is elevated, which positively impacts customer loyalty and grows net promoters.

  1. Seamless Interactions

Companies need to enable business transactions across an omnichannel landscape. When that happens, consumers can start a transaction on the web, move to chat and finalize on the phone. The fewer the touchpoints the better.

In 2013, Disney released a form of wearable tech – the MagicBand device. It functions as a park ticket, photo storage, and room key. It also keeps track of the visitor’s FastPass service, which allows them to fast-track onto a ride without having to wait in the standby line. All of this gives more control over a visitor’s day in the park and reduces time spent waiting for that Disney magic.

Ultimately, it frees up more time to spend money in their restaurants, various retail shops and add-on experiences — all of which visitors can purchase using their MagicBand device. One swipe and the transaction is complete!

As a customer, the overall park visit consists of simple transactions with few touchpoints, creating a seamless experience while generating revenue and valuable consumer data for Disney.

In healthcare and other industries, Conduent is driving new levels of seamless interaction and self-service through our Augmented Reality (AR) solutions. We’ve applied AR by adding customized layers of digitally accessible information onto real-world physical objects through a mobile device. It’s a game-changer in immediacy and convenience for customers, while having multiple benefits for the businesses who apply it.

  1. Business Process Acceleration

Employees also expect an effortless experience. A great example of this is a solution we developed for telecommunications companies whose employees must track tens of thousands of different mobile tower leases. The number of these leases is expected to grow at least 10-fold in conjunction with all the new equipment being deployed in the race to 5G.

Technology is accelerating the pace of business. Manual management of these contracts will soon reach a breaking point and the only way to sustain real analysis of the leases (e.g., to ensure that equipment is being swapped out without penalty or that proper discounts are being credited) — is through technology-driven processes.

In this case, when technology can meet the needs of employees responsible for managing the leases, employee satisfaction and productivity grow.

In every business realm, the amount of data being generated is growing exponentially. This leads to a circular effect, where continually increasing data is tied to increasing customer demands for immediate answers to their questions and immediate completion of their transactions. The call for technology to meet these growing demands has never been louder.

  1. Predictive Analytics

How do you provide an experience that’s intelligent, intuitive, personalized and instantaneous? Analytics. How do you build loyalty? Analytics.

I was on Instagram not too long ago and I noticed an ad for a company called Winc. Based on an initial survey of a person’s preferences, Winc will customize a selection of wines that they think you will enjoy. After trying those wines, you provide feedback. The more feedback, the better they get at predicting your preferences.

Clearly, Instagram’s analytics were working and recognized that I would be a prime target for this kind of service! But what struck me is that Winc advertised themselves as “the Netflix of wines.” Yes, it’s a subscription service, but those have been around for years. More so, it’s emulating Netflix’s ability to tailor the experience to you through analytics that enable them to offer recommendations based on your preferences — which is what keeps you coming back for more.

At Conduent, we view analytics as crucial to being able to know your customers, sustain loyalty and grow your business. In every industry environment where we’ve applied data analytics solutions, we’ve gleaned important intelligence about what works best and what can be refined to deliver even more fine-tuned experiences. This is what keeps customers coming back for more.

Analytics capabilities are such a big priority for us that our team of data scientists is comprised of the best experts all over the globe, and entirely focused on developing predictive, prescriptive, and cognitive solutions to support our clients’ digital journeys. They work together to leverage the latest global advancements in machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing and computer vision technologies to take analytics capabilities to new heights.

As digital interactions become the norm, a new experience standard has emerged. Companies that rise to the occasion with all their customers (consumers, employees, patients, travelers, stakeholders) to create and deliver exceptional experiences through customers’ preferred channels will be the ones excelling into the future. 

About the Author

Erica Ong is the Vice President of Customer Experience Management Sales for Conduent. For over 20 years, Erica has successfully worked across all industries to design, implement and operate global Customer Service, Sales, Retention, Collections and Technical Support solutions across multiple channels that increase revenue and drive customer loyalty for her clients. She has a strong background in business development, analytics and operations. During her 19-year tenure with Conduent, Erica has been a General Manager responsible for delivery, growth, client satisfaction, and financial performance for Customer Experience solutions provided by Conduent and filled many leadership positions in the CX space. Erica is passionate about implementing digital solutions to improve the human experience and building diverse workforces to drive positive change.

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