I was on the phone recently with a popular airline, switching my ticket at the last minute. I do this a few times a year, so I know the drill. Automated messages, outdated hold music, having to go from one representative to another. I may be used to the process, but I’m no less fatigued by it and no less frustrated each time I have to reintroduce myself.
I’m not the only one.
The problem plaguing global organizations
Think of the average global organization: thousands of employees, hundreds of communication channels and just as many business silos.
Now think of how customers view that same global company. They see only one brand.
This is the challenge facing all enterprises: how do you give your customers a consistent experience when you’re plagued by silos?
The solution isn’t simple. It will require reimagining your entire front office – your sales, marketing, customer care, really any customer-facing aspect of your company. Like I said, it won’t be easy. But it can be managed in three key phases:
- The first step is to understand the new expectations of your digitally connected customer and understand how you can meet these expectations in the most frictionless way (for them). (Your customer is no longer just your paying customer; it’s anyone who interacts with your brand.)
- The second step is to create a plan for transforming your organization – a plan to ensure that your company can succeed in the new world.
- The third, and final, step is to reimagine your technologies to sustain that transformation.
I will leave it up to your strategic partners and consultants to advise on the first two steps, as they will be able to make specific recommendations for your company.
I can, however, speak to the technology component.
A new world requires a new set of technologies
By now, you probably know that customer experience is the end all, be all, for brands. By next year, 89 percent of all businesses will compete mainly on customer experience. What you might not know is that the customer experience landscape has two main aspects to it.
The first involves your legacy front-office tools: your email system, CRM system, Web management tools, etc. The tools you’ve known and loved for years.
The second aspect refers to the new-age technologies (i.e., social and mobile). These are not only newer but are also constantly shifting and infamously unpredictable.
In order to provide a holistic experience for your customers, you need to meet their expectations – whatever, wherever and whenever those are. This means continuing to deliver experiences on your traditional channels but also meeting your customers on the newer ones.
If you are an established company, you are likely handling the traditional customer experiences just fine. But the same cannot be said about your social and mobile customer experiences. The reason is because while you have a stable set of legacy tools, you’re using a disjointed set of new-age tools. These point solutions have been cobbled together, probably haphazardly as you try to keep up with increasing customer demands. They’re disconnected, they’re all over the place, and they don’t play well with one another. These point solutions will cause your company more than a few headaches down the line.
You have a choice to make here.
You can continue to cobble away, like Dr. Frankenstein. But know this: even if these tools belong to a fancy marketing “cloud,” and even if you employ a systems integrator to help, these tools will always be disjointed. They’ll always be built on different, often conflicting, code bases. Integration among them will never be possible.
Perhaps you are OK with this.
If not, the alternative path is to consolidate your social and mobile components into one unified platform. A unified platform designed from the ground up to deliver improved customer experiences in the digital age. You can then extend these capabilities to your traditional technologies, in essence, layering your social, mobile and digital technologies on top of your legacy technologies and creating a centralized hub for delivering consistent customer experiences.
Your next step
Reimagining the front office is no small task, so be diligent in your research. Altimeter Group recently released a report about the future of customer experience technologies and – if you’re not sure where to start – making a decision that’s best for the whole organization.
At the same time, be hasty in taking your first step. There’s still time, but not much. Your current point solutions are not equipped to deal with tomorrow’s problems. They won’t serve the company you hope yours will become one day. And your customers are already expecting you to be that company.
Ragy Thomas is founder and CEO of Sprinklr, the world’s most complete enterprise social technology serving more than 1,000 enterprise brands globally. Ragy empowers companies to reimagine their customer-facing operations to manage consumer experiences across every touchpoint.