Two Keys for CX Success
Cloud CX for customer centricity
Expectations have never been higher, and consumers have never been less tolerant of a subpar experience. Digital leaders (Google, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Uber, Airbnb, etc.) have conditioned customers to expect a fulfilling, personalized and streamlined experience with every interaction. The slightest glitch during any point of the customer journey can derail the sale and may even cost you a customer for life. Even worse, for those businesses that fail to modernize, high expectations in tandem with razor thin-tolerance can quickly equate to death by disruption, as evidenced by the past decade’s digital carnage.
Advances in technology are mind-blowing and business leaders across industries are on notice – Step up their company’s digital game or suffer the consequences. More than one-third of executives in a recent Forbes Insights/Treasure Data survey say they are being directly affected by competition from digital and data-savvy players in their markets.
Additionally, a majority of executives say the risks of digital disruption are high, and many are already feeling the impacts. In fact, 51% of executives surveyed report a high level of risk to their organization (in terms of market share and revenue) over the next five years from technology-driven disruption by startups or innovations by incumbent companies, according to the Forbes Insight survey.
Truth be told, most businesses are woefully behind the digital-maturity curve and are racing mightily to catch up. IDC pegs direct spending on digital transformation to top $7 trillion between 2020 and 2023.
Putting a finer point on it, customers are firmly in control of the future of every business. In their most recent report, Customers 2020: A Progress Report, the CX experts at Walker estimate that by 2020 customer experience will be the most important differentiator between brands, overtaking both price and product. In line with this, spending on customer experience technology is expected to soar, reaching $641 billion in 2022, according to new research by IDC.
More specifically, deployments of customer relationship management (CRM) software, or in today’s parlance customer experience (CX), are taking off and are primarily cloud-first initiatives. Gartner notes that 72.9% of CRM spending in 2018 was on software as a service (SaaS), which the research firm expects to grow to 75% in 2019, totaling $42 billion.
The purpose of CRM is to better align marketing, sales and services; and the CRM promise is to allow businesses and customers to form better relationships. The reason for CRM’s dominance in the cloud is straightforward enough, and goes well beyond typical SaaS benefits (cost savings, ease-of-implementation, flexibility, agility, etc.).
Improving your customer’s experience (CRM’s raison d’etre) must be the focal point of any transformation initiative. Moreover, digital transformation cannot be cleaved from cloud-based solutions. In fact, all advanced, rapidly-emerging technologies are dependent on the cloud. Only cloud-based CX deployments can provide the scale, speed, connectivity, adaptability and innovation your organization needs to attract and retain life-long customers. Period.
Two keys for cloud CX success
At AST, we’re helping companies leverage the many benefits of cloud CRM/CX to become customer-obsessed, industry leaders. Our experience has shown that a successful cloud CX deployment often hinges on the following two keys:
It almost goes without saying. No transformation initiative will succeed without C-suite buy-in. True transformation goes well beyond green-lighting a technology project and requires wholesale change across culture, processes, and even business models. Strong leadership is required to create and communicate a new vision that does away with ‘business as usual.’ Without validation and endorsement from the highest level of leadership, it’s unlikely that your CX project will take hold throughout the enterprise and deliver expected outcomes.
Adapting to the many changes transformation engenders is not easy. The risks are real and varied. Cultural resistance is to be expected. There is no one-off quick fix. Digital maturity requires sustained effort over time. Only passionate, digital-savvy execs can communicate the vision and secure the enterprise-wide support needed to ensure success.
For our part, AST works closely with business leaders to understand their organization’s pains, goals, and mission. More to the point, to help our clients better understand the challenges their customers face in doing business with them, AST takes a pragmatic, holistic approach. We begin with close analysis of the multiple touch points, interactions, functions, and processes the customer experiences (directly or indirectly) in doing business with your organization.
Armed with this honest and thorough insight, we work with business leaders to re-imagine, in precise detail, what their customer experience should be. Only then do we re-design and implement a feasible, cost-effective, iterative plan comprised of innovative technologies and best practices to reduce customer friction and increase customer loyalty.
Big-picture thinking (iterative approach)
To remain relevant businesses must successfully navigate today’s digital world and demanding consumers. RFID, IoT, unified commerce and real-time analytics are just a sample of the innovative CX technologies and processes companies are investing in to improve their customer’s experience.
But one-off projects amount to little more than paying lip service to customer-centricity. In the end, only seamless integration of myriad technologies — connecting core systems to all customer touch points — will have a lasting and positive impact on the customer experience and, ultimately, business success.
The good news is that today’s cloud CX solutions are an integrated set of applications that spans the entire customer lifecycle – marketing, sales, commerce, service, social, etc. They are designed for incremental deployment, empowering you to strategize and prioritize deployments based on your most pressing CX needs.
At AST, we encourage our clients to start small and build on success. We help them to approach CX transformation in a strategic, incremental manner based on a well-defined roadmap and clearly articulated outcomes. Quick wins increase confidence and provide momentum for sustaining a CX transformation journey. Reinvesting positive gains is a great way to keep your CX program on track and moving forward.
Contact AST today and learn how our cloud CX experts can help you win customers for life.