With the ever-growing sophistication and number of apps, it’s no wonder we expect information and control at our fingertips, no matter our location or the time of day. Our experiences as consumers have dramatically elevated our expectations and have changed how we work, effectively blurring the metaphorical digital experience line between our personal and professional lives.
The simplification and ease of the consumer experience is now anticipated in the business environment and we’ve no doubt come to expect the same swift and effortless transactions in our professional lives — but is this expectation a reality, or will we be left disappointed? Consumers want ease of transaction regardless of what the service or transaction is. From Uber to Amazon and everything in between, there’s an app for everything, ultimately bringing ease, intuitiveness and predictive insights to our everyday lives.
Further complicating matters in the commercial world, the “digital experience” is quickly morphing with “customer experience”. In fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience (CX). The more expensive the item, the more consumers are willing to pay, and a recent study found that by the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Steps to Improve CX
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in, improving CX is the key to increasing retention, satisfaction and revenue growth in the digital age. As a partner, the digital experience you have with your underlying provider most definitely cascades and affects your end users’ experience, making this a critical function in 2020 and beyond. So, what can you do to ensure the end-to-end digital experience is top-notch?
- Self-service is key — for you as well as your end users. Look for service providers that provide a state-of-the art portal with real time functionality such as network health, ordering and trouble ticketing via a single pane of glass, complete with mobility and chat.
- Customer-centricity — Most customers have already established a preferred method for accessing their digital assets. For that reason, it’s important to meet the customer on their terms and where they are. Creating standalone portals and apps isn’t a complete strategy. It’s imperative that self-serve controls be delivered in a way that matches the digital lifestyle of your customers and that requires integrations with third-party CRM solutions and productivity tools. Winning on the digital landscape starts with viewing the customer, not your portal, as the center of the universe.
- AI-driven data and services — Through artificial intelligence (AI) you can enhance and create a unique, differentiated digital experience that focuses on your customer’s journey. Layering AI and bots enables instant personalization and actionable insights, creating a more natural experience for customers. This allows the customer to benefit from agent support without repeating the problem and provides more consistent and accurate responses across all channels.
- Partner-specific portal — Work with service providers who create and design tools specifically for agents. This will put you in the driver’s seat, allowing you to build, manage and grow your customer base. Ideally, this interface should allow you to easily view all your end users’ account information and include AI-driven insights to show you which end users have a propensity to purchase additional services and those who are a churn risk.
By harnessing and elevating your digital experience in 2020 with the above innovations, you’ll fundamentally make your business more customer focused and improve CX.
Stephen Farkouh is chief information officer for Windstream. He previously was senior vice president of cloud technology and platform development for Windstream Enterprise after joining Windstream via the acquisition of Broadview Networks in 2017. He began his career at Bell Communications Research. He holds a master’s degree in in electrical engineering from Princeton and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Columbia. Follow him on LinkedIn and @Windstream on Twitter.