In a previous blog, we answered the question What is Digital Customer Experience (CX)? We outlined why it matters, some of the significant benefits, and questions you can ask to help refine your approach and digital strategy.
But what are the specific technologies and strategies you should be deploying to empower your Digital CX Transformation and become more competitive?
Digital CX Technologies and Solutions
In many cases, the technologies outlined in this section aren’t new or different. The key difference to keep in mind is whether organizations can adopt and embrace a holistic customer-focused approach as well as the internal resources, skills, and mindsets to support them effectively.
Here are the main technologies/categories we’ll cover:
- An Integrated, Inbound-Ready Website
- Customer Relationship Management
- Sales and Marketing Operations (Automation Tools)
- Project & Task Management
- Knowledge Bases
- Learning Management Systems
- Service Desks and Ticketing
- Automated Workflows
- Chat and Communication Tools
An Integrated, Inbound-Ready Website
Not all websites are created equal.
Is your website easy to manage and update?
Does it look great on all devices?
Is it integrated with your CRM and the other business critical tools and technologies you’re using to manage customer relationships?
If you answered no to any of these questions, chances are good your website is holding you back and may actually be detrimental to your brand.
Successful websites aren’t just a “digital business card”. Yes, your website needs to look great. It also needs to be easy to use and navigate—both for internal teams and customers. It must have a robust content management system (CMS), be search engine optimized, and be backed by a content marketing strategy to support your ongoing inbound and content marketing efforts. It must provide all visitors (customers and prospects) with information and self-help opportunities—as well as feed your sales operations and lead generation efforts.
Customer Relationship Management
How are you keeping track of your customers, the products and services they are interested in, their device and notification preferences, and more?
Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a central component to your successful digital customer experience strategy. It should be robust and accurate, easy-to-use, and integrated with your website strategy so that you can identify new leads as well as the interests and habits of existing customers.
Successful CRMs empower personalized interactions with your customers and help provide value and support at the right times. Information about your customers must be made available to your customer operation teams and the tools they use to manage those relationships. Data in your CRM also needs to be trusted and secure.
For more information about successful CRM strategies, see Is Your CRM Restricting Business Growth?
Sales and Marketing Automations
Your marketing and sales operations are both working different angles of the same business challenge… That is attracting and acquiring new customers and bringing in revenue.
Successful organizations embrace tools that help automate and streamline funnel management, enable their teams to personalize and scale one-to-one communication efforts, as well as tie visitor behaviors to specific needs and buying intent. These technologies also increase transparency and provide powerful data visualization—helping organizations to make better predictions about sales forecasts, customer retention rates, and more.
It’s all about equipping your sales and marketing personnel with the tools and automations to deliver customer value. The technologies and strategies used here will be closely tied to a successful CRM strategy.
Project & Task Management
Project and task management tools aren’t always customer-facing—but that doesn’t mean they’re not valuable to the overall customer experience—or that they can’t improve transparency and communication with your customers.
Equipping your internal teams with the tools and technologies to track task and project status enables them—as well as leadership and other departments—to understand ongoing efforts and make better, more accurate predictions about projects and downstream customer impacts.
For example, if you primarily deliver services—these tools can even be used and automated to deliver direct communication and notifications to customers at key milestones or events.
If you primarily sell products—project and task management tools empower your support teams and provide a great “sandbox” to explore and test new processes as you work towards optimizing and automating them with your ecommerce and ticketing platforms.
Central knowledge repositories offer a tremendous amount of value to customers.
Did you know that 73% of consumers want self-service technology and 76% of respondents said mobile technologies helped provide a faster shopping experience? (source)
These stats are even higher among millennial consumers who already account for 25% of the total U.S. population (source) and in coming years will represent a larger and larger portion of the consumer base. It makes sense after all—millennials grew up digitally native. Operating in a marketplace where consumers are increasingly digitally savvy will require new tools to support and serve.
But it’s not just millennials—or even customers that benefit from Knowledge Bases. Centralized knowledge benefits customers, distributors, partners, and employees all the same. The tools and flexibility provided by a knowledge repository improve your organization’s ability to create, curate, and disseminate critical business and brand information to the masses at scale.
Valuable information that belongs in a knowledge base often looks like:
- Frequently Asked Questions for customers, partners, and distributors
- Common operations like return policies
- What do and who do I contact if something goes wrong?
- How do I perform this routine task or operation?
- As an employee, how should I respond to this common customer issue/problem?
- What are the most common issues/problems?
- Where was that procedure document and how do I escalate an issue?
Knowledge is power.
Learning Management Systems
Similar and often paired with knowledge bases—Learning Management Systems (LMS) enable organizations to streamline formal training and education to deliver it at scale.
Learning Management systems significantly lower the cost of training and testing for competency—particularly the regulatory, tracking, and administrative burdens associated with training.
Organizations that support highly technical products and workflows, as well as those in regulated environments see significant returns on investment (ROI) when they operationalize training and pair it with customer portals and knowledge bases. They also deliver significant customer value in industries and professions where their end users are required to participate in ongoing education or accumulate a certain number of continuing education credits (or units, i.e. CEUs).
Service Desks and Ticketing
When organizations pair Service Desks with effective ticketing strategies and automated workflows they see enormous efficiency gains.
Effective digital organizations are able to turn their Service Desks into the first line of service and support for customers. To pull off successfully, organizations must have an intimate understanding of customer needs AND adopt a mindset of ongoing improvement so that they are continuously optimizing their internal processes to deliver extremely fast and personalized experiences to their customers.
Skills-based routing and problem resolution trees enable organizations to rapidly triage and provide support. Digitally native organizations that have made the initial investment in these tools are able to leverage AI and machine learning to further understand issues and trends as—or even before they arise. In this way, they gain further efficiencies as well as the ability to differentiate themselves by preparing for issues and providing customers with proactive service and messaging.
Live Chat, AI Bots, and Communication Tools
Organizations that have made the shift to digital are able to create powerful hubs for customer empowerment and service.
Streamlined workflows, knowledge bases, and ticketing systems enable customers to interact with their brand and representatives from any device or medium they choose. Chat and communication tools enable those organizations to efficiently staff their digital hub and provide best-in-class service and responsiveness around the clock.
Studies show that 79% of consumers prefer live chat as the primary source of support because it offers an instant response.
Successful chat systems provide low effort customer experiences for service, support, and more.
In addition, advances in artificial intelligence and automated chatbots provide digital organizations with additional tools to help triage and identify customer needs, gather data for support representatives, and provide best-in-class customer experiences—all at a lower cost.
Where Should You Get Started?
Organizations that embrace Digital CX see significant benefits and efficiency gains across their operations. As mentioned earlier, these efforts do require initial investment—as well as a commitment to longer-term strategies.
However, this commitment doesn’t mean your organization is limited in its ability to operate in a flexible manner. Instead, committing to Digital CX means empowering your special projects and tactical teams to deliver new technologies, platforms, and functionality that provide the rest of your organization with a wide range of tools and communication options that make you more agile and flexible in supporting customers.
When just starting out, organizations need to spend some time upfront taking stock of their current situation. Defining a current or “AS IS” state is a critical part of understanding gaps, challenges, and competencies. Then, they’ll determine the ideal future state and chart a course to move forward.
Having a digital strategy and roadmap is key to successful transformation. It helps to align organizations around central goals and how teams can contribute to progress.
The first few steps are often a bit slow. They typically require a mindset shift, new skills, and that longer term commitments be made. These early steps are critical for laying the core foundations for change. With cornerstone technologies and pieces in place, progressive steps and opportunities become easier and faster and lead to further value extraction.
If you’re ready to start your Digital CX transformation—you may find these articles helpful: