The battle to win customers’ business is fraught with opposition that only seems to grow more powerful by the day. Customer experience leaders work hard and invest in beautiful user experiences, intuitive navigation and winning strategies, but is that enough? Is there something that marketers are overlooking when it comes to creating a unique customer experience?
Customer experience is often and correctly thought of as “customer-facing” experiences. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind how important internal operations are to the success of these experiences.
No matter how nice your digital presence is or how well planned your strategies are, your customer experience will fall flat if the organisation’s internal operations are inefficient.
Think of your customer-facing tactics and touch points as your sword, and internal operations as your armour. Clunky or weak armour will affect your effectiveness on the battlefield, no matter how sharp your weapon is.
In the same way, siloed or slow back-end processes and technology will hinder your organisation’s ability to deliver excellent customer experiences, no matter how beautiful your external experiences are.
Here are three strategies you can use to establish a foundation of operational excellence: First, increase employee productivity.
The first step to addressing operational inefficiencies is to enhance employee experiences. Companies that invest in seamless and efficient employee experiences have seen 1½ times more engaged employees than companies with poor customer experience, four times more profitability and 147% more earnings per share.
To improve the day-to-day work of customer service and support representatives, automate low-value tasks with self-service to reduce redundant tasks for employees so they can handle more complex tasks and build relationships with clients; integrate different self-service channels so employees can efficiently manage all systems (internal and external) through one channel; and provide access to training and resources in a single location so that employees can easily find the information they need to do their jobs. Second, integrate systems for a unified stack.
Is your technological “armour” constructed to work cohesively? Or does it seem like a bunch of different metal components thrown together? Similarly, as businesses continue to add new customer experience systems, they tend to end up with a tech stack that is disjointed and unwieldy to manage. By bringing systems together and simplifying the tech stack, IT teams can manage all their systems, applications and technologies more easily to ensure consistent experiences. Third, leverage data for internal improvements and deeper personalisation.
Once all systems are connected and integrated, the business can effectively leverage the data that was once siloed to make improvements for both internal processes and external experiences.
It’s no secret that if customers don’t receive the tailored experiences they’ve come to expect from companies, they’re going to take their business elsewhere. Studies show that 74% of customers feel frustrated if there’s a lack of personalisation, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalised experiences and 66% of consumers say encountering content that isn’t personalised would stop them from making a purchase.
However, personalisation needs to go deeper than just adding your customer’s name to the subject line of an e-mail. Valuable personalisation must be based on a customer’s existing policies, assets and current and even future life events. A good example is Amazon’s data-backed recommendation engine. Amazon uses the information gathered to create a personalised list of suggestions to encourage repeat purchases.
The victors that rise above the rest on the battlefield are the businesses that understand the importance of customer experience and have built a foundation of efficient operations by enhancing employee productivity, connecting their systems and applications together and using data to make improvements.
Excellent customer experiences are the outflow of a healthy core. Only when the foundation is strong can the organisation begin to deliver truly excellent customer experiences to their customers.