Customer experience is the new battleground for businesses. Given the choice between two brands, customers are increasingly choosing the one that excels at resolving issues, anticipating needs and engaging socially. The winners will be prepared to go the extra mile to offer more human and frictionless customer experiences.
Yet, this is a challenge in an era of instant gratification. New consumer technologies are constantly raising customer expectations, making it hard for businesses to keep up. To match ever-changing demands, you need to engage in ongoing innovation. Yet, businesses often fall short on customer service because their existing processes can’t adapt fast enough.
That’s why more and more organizations are driving toward Intelligent Operations. When organizations leverage data and artificial intelligence (AI), they enhance their ability to respond quickly and agilely all along the customer value chain.
Reimagining CX with Intelligent Operations
As customers have taken the wheel, they’ve flipped the customer relationship on its head. Our connection to technology and instant access to information has set new expectations for “digital-first” experiences. Customers believe businesses should be where the consumer is – not the other way around. For example, many use comparison apps while shopping and place a high value on online recommendations. They view the social element as a critical component of the customer experience and expect companies to engage in the conversation. At the same time, they won’t waste time figuring out how to navigate channels or find the information they need. They expect the customer experience to be intuitive and seamless.
In addition, customer expectations are evolving rapidly as more intuitive technologies, services and channels become available. They expect vendors to keep up with innovation and emerging trends – no matter where they start. The impact of a “shiny new thing” (on-demand delivery, DIY support) resonates across multiple industries at once.
It should come as no surprise, then, that improving the customer experience is among the top five challenges facing companies today, according to a survey conducted by Accenture and HfS Research. What’s more, two of the top five drivers that impact business strategy directly relate to the customer experience – hyper-personalization and a shift towards a digital experience – underscoring the importance of CX for success.
It’s clear a reactive approach to changing customer expectations simply isn’t going to cut it in our hyperconnected world. Businesses late to the game will undoubtedly lose revenue and market share to competitors who innovate more quickly.
Forward-looking companies are shifting towards Intelligent Operations and aligning customer experience to front-office and back-office transformation. By leveraging data and AI, along with other complementary technologies, organizations achieve a state of maturity that allows them to offer the “on-demand” digital experience customers seek. Intelligent Operations is an approach that refers to leveraging the tools needed to anticipate and understand customer needs, implement self-service and engage more effectively on social media. Businesses are also able to process high volumes of diverse data, essential for creating highly personalized experiences in everything from onboarding to customer service.
4 CX Hot Spots for Intelligent Automation
Transforming the customer experience doesn’t look exactly the same everywhere in the organization. All functions should embrace a “digital first” approach and develop proactive strategies to stay ahead of customer expectations. An intelligent automation platform makes it possible to connect end-to-end business processes and deliver a stellar customer experience. Here are four CX hot spots where intelligent automation has the greatest potential.
- Advanced analytics. When organizations analyze data within the context of business processes, they gain a deeper understanding of how customers and clients engage with their business and how those interactions impact the bottom line. Real-time data and analytics deliver the insights required to quickly adapt to customers’ changing expectations. Companies can move with their customers, rather than wonder where they went.
- Personalized interactions. A data-driven strategy also will enable your team to deliver the highly targeted and personalized messages customers want and expect. AI can empower the business user with more insights by processing more unstructured data – such as emails, PDFs and photos. With natural language processing technologies like sentiment analysis, marketers can determine the emotional response of buyers in real-time across social media and other digital channels. In turn, marketing teams can leverage these insights to determine if a campaign is effective, or if they need to re-visit a more effective strategy.
- Customer service. With intelligent automation, agents no longer have to answer phones, log help desk tickets or determine who should work on a support ticket. When entity extraction is introduced into the workflow, the AI can help determine the intent of the incoming request, input it into the system, and route it to the appropriate support team in minutes rather than hours. This expedites the time it takes to process a ticket and delivers an overall better experience for the customer and the employees working in customer service.
- Smarter recommendations. Personalization and recommended engagements can also be delivered with intelligent automation. When a customer interacts with your website or app, data is usually collected and can be processed by AI to hyper-personalize their next experience based on their previous actions. So the next time a customer comes to your site they’re met with relevant content and suggestions based on their interests. Consumers are already familiar with recommendation engines. For instance, on Netflix, data about recently viewed items and artificial intelligence are infused into the customer-facing experience of selecting the next bingeworthy show. This pairing of data and technology keeps customers fully engaged, increasing loyalty and satisfaction.
Infusing intelligent automation into these areas also means your workforce will regain a valuable asset: time. When they are no longer consumed by tedious tasks, employees can spend more time on higher value work that improves the customer experience. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) uses digital workers to take mundane, repetitive chores off employees’ plates so they can focus on social engagement and problem-solving. A recent Forbes Insight survey discovered that RPA alone contributes to a better CX, with customer retention seeing an improvement of 25 percent or more.
The ability to anticipate and exceed customer needs is the only way for companies to gain a sustainable competitive edge. Reaching this state of maturity will allow you to raise the bar on customer experience. With Intelligent Operations, you’ll work like the digitally enabled company of tomorrow, which will ensure you are a winner on the customer experience battleground of today.