86% of organisations agree that Customer Experience offers a strategic edge, says the NTT Global Benchmark Report, but this is embedded in strategy for just 14% and a quarter have found shortfalls in their current setup. Technology transformation was a hot topic in our Customer Strategy & Leadership Forum across 2020-21 and embedding this operationally raises important questions. If these aren’t addressed, we don’t achieve the results we need. Make sure you are ready, by learning from practical experience elsewhere, understanding what your customers most need, and engaging your people.
Joining up customer journeys
Start by understanding the root causes of customer contact, with actual data linked to your business strategy. Many journeys now start online or in-app, so if channel shift is not well planned, you will create more contact, not reduce it, like water that flows though the lines of least resistance. Don’t just use a channel because it is there. Instead, pilot new channels or technologies one by one, or in controlled groups. When a joined-up experience delivers for customers, a surprisingly wide range of people will adopt it. Digital channels are not just for younger people or digital enthusiasts.
AI, analytics & robotics
Understanding customer intent is vital. When we can reliably understand, in real time, what a customer needs, we can nudge them or our advisors in a helpful direction. So, take time to learn from actual users of this technology, in our network groups or case studies. Expectations matter too. For many members, these are not technologies that can be fully used straight ‘out of the box’. Some take two years to fully embed it. Equally, there are other cases which delivered tangible benefits from the get-go, with an immediate ROI. Understand the factors involved.
Putting people first
Technology transformation in customer operations is fundamentally about people and communication, with huge impact on skills strategy, resource planning and people development. With homeworking and the need to react so quickly to changes, now is the time for a dedicated knowledge management system. This is key for developing self-service and robotics too, which can be very liberating for colleagues. Make full use of the wider environment for digital collaboration, like MS Teams. You will need people who are capable of self directed learning. Manage this at each point in the employee lifecycle.
Planning for digital
How we produce and communicate data is another key area of focus. You need to help people understand what the numbers mean and uncover the root causes of trends or blips. Your MI may not be set up to track the factors you now want to consider. Aim to introduce channels via a dedicated pilot team. Compare metrics across channels and skills groups. Build a capacity plan. The Direct Line experience with WhatsApp illustrates well how this approach helps you be confidently in control. Don’t stagnate, set up new playbooks for emerging situations or developments. How technology works for people has measurable impact on all key performance metrics.
Author: Paul Smedley
Date Published: 27/04/2021