By Jeffrey Schwartz
Approximately nine of every 10 companies say they compete based on delivering a positive customer experience (CX), according to Gartner, yet note even one in five channel partners is equipped to handle that, according to a report issued last year by CompTIA.
Carolyn April, CompTIA’s senior director for industry analysis, will moderate a panel at next month’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas to discuss why customer experience (CX) will increasingly become a high priority for channel firms to invest in. Joining April on the panel will be RingCentral marketing AVP John Finch, who sees contact center as a service (CCaaS) as an important component of CX; Amber Redmann, CEO of Parasol Alliance, a specialized technology solutions company focused on the senior living industry; and Tiffani Bova, global customer growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce, and author of the book Growth IQ.
it’s part of the sales and marketing conference track, March 10. We sat down with the panelists for a preview of their session.
Channel Partners: According to your (CompTIA’s) survey, only 19% of channel providers have implemented the capability to address today’s CX requirements. Is that a surprising figure?
Carolyn April: It’s not surprising, mainly because most of the channel is comprised of small companies. And it means changing your approach, adding additional people that may specialize in areas that you didn’t really need to worry about before, like social media, which is costly. So, they have to weigh the cost-benefit analysis. I expect it’ll slowly tick up as people realize how important it is for them to invest in CX.
Tiffani Bova: This is a bit surprising, but I think it all depends on how channel providers define customer experience. First off, it isn’t a capability; it isn’t a product or a service. It is a mindset shift from being product-led to customer-led. Most of the channel is enamored by the products they sell, the certifications they hold, [and] the technology capabilities and partnerships they have which used to be the benchmark for determining which partner a company might choose to use. Now, it is about things like NPS and CSAT — solving customer issues from their vantage point. As the saying goes, if you sell hammers, everything looks like a nail.
Amber Redmann: While perhaps alarming, this figure is not surprising. With more market disruptions than ever before, companies are forced to explore innovative avenues to provide customer experience. Creating an outstanding product or service is no longer good enough for today’s modern consumer. The stakes are higher. Customers have a need to feel good about the product or service they receive. They seek to feel appreciated, valued and trust the company they work with or buy from. The customer experience landscape is more competitive now than ever before. Companies that do not adapt and grow with new demands will undoubtedly feel the effects.
CP: What will lead to that inflexion point?
CA: More and more customers are willing to go on record and start saying that it is …