People, process and technology. It’s a framework that has been around since the 1960s guiding operational best practices. In today’s insight- and data-driven digital world, this framework might feel outdated. But when it comes to customer experience management (CXM), people, process and technology have never been more important for creating lasting relationships with clients that keep your business top of mind. In this blog, we’ll explore how technology certainly plays a vital role in assisting and augmenting support processes, but the real star in delivering great CX is the service agent.
Business is personal, or it should be
According to Conduent's 2022 State of the Consumer Experience report, 74% of consumers said their brand interactions were successful because their agent was helpful which was more important to them than efficiency (53%) and good self-service (53%). Further, 84% of brands said that providing a consistent, high-quality experience at every touchpoint is the most important CX component. The trends are clear: Customers want more meaningful interactions with their brands. They expect customer service agents to remember them and offer relevant, tailored recommendations versus pushing the latest promotion or upselling them on a product or service they don’t need. And when they need help, they don’t want to have to work to find an answer or resolve an issue. This is emphasized in our 2022 report by the fact that “relate and resolve” was a growing trend in consumer preferences for brand experiences.
How to manage personalization with CXM
For a business to be successful, it needs to scale every aspect of its operation as it grows. It can be difficult to scale personalization because the most effective efforts are not built on algorithms, but human interaction. That’s where CXM becomes so crucial. Cementing a process that combines customer-centric personalization with technology and data can help your business create memorable experiences, at scale, in a manageable way. And now is the time to do it: 84% of brands we surveyed believe technology like AI, analytics and bots are important in driving hyper-personalized consumer interactions, but only 8% of those brands say they use that technology well.
CXM focuses on how an organization interacts with its customers and how customers interact with organizations across channels, industries and geographies. With good execution, CXM delivers the brand promise and increases customer fulfillment and allegiance. Central to the management of customer experiences is orchestration. This means having the ability to manage customer needs from multiple sources of intelligence and the ability to reach customers through a range of channels both digital and non-digital. When you integrate the right technologies with a robust CXM platform and actionable analytics, it makes your agents more agile, so they can provide outstanding, personalized service to each individual they interact with.
Personalization can start in any channel
There are two truths to achieving optimal CXM. The first is that the value of each communication channel is fluid, meaning that no two channels offer equal value at any one time. The value a channel provides depends instead on a customer’s individual state of mind at the time of the interaction. Said another way, meet each customer where they are, in the channel that makes the most sense for them. Sometimes a chatbot will be the perfect point of interaction. On other occasions, only a conversation will do. It should be up to the customer to choose the mode of engagement, not to have it imposed on him or her. It should be for the organization to know that just because the customer used one mode of interaction last week doesn’t mean they will want to operate in the same mode next week. The customer wants to feel like you remembered them and their unique needs at each touchpoint. And they don’t want to have to re-explain context from channel to channel or from agent to agent. If a customer raises an issue on chat and then later connects with a live agent, the agent needs to be able to pick up the conversation seamlessly and continue towards a timely resolution without the customer re-answering the same questions.
No matter what, omnichannel communications seem here to stay with consumer trust in omnichannel skyrocketing from 49% pre-pandemic to 77% now. When omnichannel personalization is implemented effectively, customers will develop a talk track in their minds such as: “This company helped me, then helped me again. Wow, they really understand my needs and remember me. I can’t wait to tell others about them."
Technology helps efficiency but doesn’t replace interaction
The second truth, like the first, is rooted in technology’s interaction with people — those who are responsible for addressing customer queries and requests, as well as those on the receiving end of care.
Technology has an important role to play, but it’s that of a supporting actor. The right technology assists and augments the real star — a human customer service agent. Technology automates repeatable tasks through Robotic Process Automation (RPA). It automates tasks through artificial intelligence and machine learning, too. Either approach can help the agent in various ways, but both give agents time to focus on adding meaningful value to the customer conversation. Technology frees up agents to concentrate on identifying and resolving the issues that matter most to the customer — as well as spotting opportunities to offer additional services when they become genuinely relevant to a customer in need. In turn, the customer will appreciate the upsell (and not feel “sold to”) because it is centralized around helping them with a real need.
The value of CXM for long-term business success
Ultimately, CXM is about the ability to demonstrate that you can deliver optimal value to customers and extract optimal value from those interactions. Experiences that delight or quickly answer a question or solve a complex issue help drive customer loyalty and advocacy.
In the story of people, process and technology, tech can bring efficiencies to processes, and both, in turn, free up the people to excel in human interaction, which helps your business stand out from the rest. For anyone contemplating their own approach to customer experience management, there is no better place to start.
To learn more about building dynamic, human-centric experiences across channels, visit our Customer Experience Management Solutions page.