Elevating Customer Experiences Through Technology – 7 Essential Technologies for Optimising Customer Journeys

As our businesses move further and further into the online realm, delivering a smooth, digitised customer experience (CX) has never been more vital. Modern customers have come to expect convenient, meaningful, and consistent interactions with the businesses they engage with, and they increasingly expect these interactions to be supported by intelligent digital solutions.

By integrating technology tactically into your customer journey, you can ensure that customers come away satisfied, bolstering your business’s reputation, and fostering higher customer retention rates. You’ll also help to maximise conversions, by removing the obstacles and frustrations that might otherwise see prospects taking their business elsewhere.

In our previous blog, we looked at the benefits of a digitised customer experience (CX) from the customer’s perspective, and discussed the role of technology in facilitating the best possible customer journeys. Now, let’s consider the operational benefits that a digitised CX can provide for your business, before looking at 7 essential technologies you should consider for your customer experience framework.

A Digitised Customer Experience – The Operational Benefits

Here are some operational and business benefits that you can gain by digitising your customer experience:

Operational Efficiency

Drive improvements in operational efficiency by introducing automation to customer support, onboarding, and marketing processes. By automating menial processes you’ll give staff more time to focus on strategically valuable activities, and deliver better outcomes for customers by minimising processing errors.

Scalable Resources

Digital solutions can more easily scale to meet demand fluctuations than staffed customer service and support functions. Benefit from flexible solutions that adjust quickly to changing needs without the cost implications that come with staffing a helpline.

Valuable Data Insights

Digitisation supports the increased collection and analysis of customer data, much of which can provide valuable insights into behaviours, preferences, and trends. This information can be harnessed to drive operational improvements and provide a guide for more effective marketing and outreach efforts.

Consistent Interactions

Digital solutions can help to ensure that customers experience consistent and predictable service no matter which channel or touchpoint they’re using. By achieving greater consistency, you’ll foster better customer satisfaction scores and improve retention.

Gain a Competitive Advantage

A polished, streamlined customer experience underpinned by leading technologies will help you differentiate yourself from the competition, giving your business a distinct competitive edge in the crowded digital marketplace.

Increased Revenue

A high-quality, tech-infused customer experience can translate to increased revenue through increased conversions, greater company loyalty, and a greater number of referrals. Studies show that investments in the customer experience can significantly improve customer lifetime value.

7 Essential Technologies for a Digitally Optimised Customer Experience

While there are countless ways to digitise the customer experience, a number of technologies stand out when it comes to delivering value, both for businesses and their customers. Here are seven essential technologies you should consider to revolutionise your customer experience:

AI Chatbots

Web-based chatbots used to be frustrating to use and limited in their functionality. Now, thanks to artificial intelligence, chatbots can autonomously handle organic customer enquiries and provide recommendations and guidance based on preferences, prompts, and browsing histories. Moreover, chatbots operate 24/7 to provide the immediacy of service that’s come to be expected in our modern world.

The Cloud

Cloud solutions have arguably played a greater part in the customer experience revolution than any other technology domain. The cloud has become a customer experience mainstay by supporting and streamlining backend processes and enabling companies to quickly scale customer service resources in response to changing demands. Thanks to failover systems and redundancy, the cloud supports a resilient and secure customer experience. With platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings, businesses of all sizes are empowered to explore new technologies and develop bespoke CX solutions.

Data Analytics

Data has become one of the most valuable commodities in business, providing the insights necessary to increase sales, optimise processes, and make accurate financial predictions. A data-driven, digitised customer experience allows you to identify bottlenecks and issues within your customer journeys. Cloud-based analytics tools can be used to gather and analyse data across multiple touchpoints, allowing you to optimise processes, tackle pinch points, and track behavioural trends to drive better sales and marketing outcomes.

CRM Software

Customer relationship management systems act as a centralised repository for customer information and data on past interactions. CRMs make it easy to search for and retrieve customer data, facilitating seamless and professional interactions should a customer have to reach out for support. Modern CRM systems feature automated sales and marketing capabilities, enabling businesses to streamline and automate campaigns and yield maximum value from their sales pipelines by leveraging data insights.

Self-Service Portals

Self-service portals fulfil a critical function within a customer experience framework. They provide a convenient and accessible source of information and allow customers to perform account management functions or access support with no (or limited) intervention from customer service agents. Knowledge bases, chatbots, and account management web applications are just some of the ways businesses support self-service functionality in their customer experiences.

Marketing Automation Solutions

Marketing automation software can help businesses launch more effective marketing plans based on data aggregated across multiple digital touchpoints. Software can gather and track a range of customer data metrics, including purchase histories, preferences, browsing behaviours, and demographics. By analysing this data, businesses can better tailor, schedule, and coordinate marketing campaigns, ensuring outreach efforts achieve maximum return on investment.

Virtual/Augmented Reality (VR and AR)

VR and AR are set to make waves in terms of how customers interact with vendors and service providers. These emerging technologies enable businesses to provide a visually immersive virtual experience that conveys the benefits and qualities of a product or service, ensuring the customer can fully grasp what’s on offer before committing. VR and AR can be useful for removing doubt and uncertainty from the customer experience and help to drive sales through more valuable customer engagements.

In Summary

With a backdrop of a competitive digital marketplace and evolving customer expectations, strategic use of digital technology in the customer experience context has never been more important. We hope this short blog series has served as a useful introduction to customer experience technologies, and inspired you to consider how digital solutions could enhance your business’s service and support functions.

4TC Services – Managed IT, Support, and Solutions for London Businesses

Secure, reliable, and tailored IT is a pre-requisite for success in our digital age. Here at 4TC, our mission is to help businesses across London and the Southeast realise their untapped potential using technology. From IT management that minimises downtime, to custom solutions that address persistent operational challenges, we can help you harness technology to grow and deliver the best possible outcomes for your customers.

To find out more, get in touch with 4TC today. We’d love to hear from you, and help you overcome your IT challenges.

Elevating Customer Experiences Through Technology – Harnessing IT for Better Customer Outcomes

In recent years, digitisation has been a key driver of revenue growth for many companies. Digital solutions have enabled businesses to better manage their sales pipelines, achieve more conversions, and offer their services in new and innovative ways. Today, there is greater focus than ever before on improving the customer experience through digitisation.

So why is that?

Building and maintaining an online presence has evolved from a ‘nice to have’ 20 or so years ago, to an absolute necessity for any business intent on growing in our digital age. Customers can now compare service offerings at the click of a mouse, with buyers basing their initial judgement of the business on the quality of the customer experience delivered to them. In many cases, this digital journey is the main distinguishing factor between rival products, so it’s vital to invest in it, and aim for consistent quality across every digital touchpoint.

Why is a Digitised Customer Experience Important?

A common misconception about customer experience is that customers always want a complaint, query, or issue handled by a ‘real person.’ While this is true for some individuals, and can prove the best course of action in some scenarios, today’s customers want choice, including the ability to self-serve. A digitised customer experience should therefore complement, rather than replace, traditional communication channels such as email and phone. This ‘omni-channel’ approach that combines employee-supported with independent, self-serve options gives customers control and flexibility over how they interact with your business, which in turn can support better customer satisfaction outcomes.

Customer Experience vs Customer Service – Understanding the Difference

Customer experience and customer service are associated concepts, but the two terms should not be used interchangeably.

Customer experience is used to define the engagements a customer has with your company between their initial contact and the close of a transaction. A good customer experience should aim to create an efficient, frictionless process that’s easy to navigate, and makes the prospective customer feel positive and supported.

Customer service steps in whenever a customer has an issue, query, or complaint, either during their customer journey or thereafter. Optimal customer satisfaction is achieved by investing strategically in both the customer experience and customer support functions. A digitised customer experience that functions well will support a seamless customer journey, and effective customer service channels will ensure there’s a friendly agent on hand to provide clarity and resolve minor issues.

In short, customer experience refers to an individual’s engagements with your brand on their journey to becoming a customer, while customer service refers to the support you provide if an issue or obstacle arises along the way.

Why Should You Invest in Your Customer Experience?

In the crowded digital marketplace, a first-rate customer experience will set your business apart from the competition. The quality, ease, and refinement of the customer journey can influence a prospect’s subconscious judgement of the underlying product or service; deliver a clunky, outdated experience, and the customer could lose faith in your offering.

Furthermore, customer expectations have never been higher. Today’s customers don’t want convoluted processes or communication channels with restricted hours of operation. Increasingly, there’s an expectation that the customer journey should be a near effortless experience, with a company’s digital infrastructure doing the ‘heavy lifting’ to facilitate this.

The experience your customers have is second in importance only to the quality of the service or product being provided. Provide an excellent customer journey, and you’ll benefit from high customer loyalty, enhanced brand reputation, and a greater chance of referrals.

The Role of Technology in The Customer Experience

Digital solutions can support a better customer experience in a number of key ways:

Automation and Self-Service Options

Customers don’t always want agent-assisted service or support. For many, there is satisfaction to be found in self-service; for others, there’s a desire to avoid the dreaded ‘on hold music,’ as it is passed between departments on lengthy phone calls. Self-service solutions allow prospects to take ownership of their customer journey, and in some instances, this can expedite the customer experience overall. Online forms, document upload portals, FAQ pages, and even video tutorials, are a great way incorporate self-service elements into your customer experience.

Automation is another technology that can be leveraged to deliver a smoother experience. One example of this is the use of automated appointment scheduling systems. These allow customers or prospects to view availability in real-time and choose an appointment time that suits their schedule. Once a time is selected and booked in, the system can be programmed to issue confirmations and reminders to the customer, as well as provide options for cancellation and rescheduling to further enhance convenience. Automation that’s well integrated into the customer experience can deliver a wide range of benefits, including reduced human errors, greater convenience, faster processes, and a reduced burden on the company’s staff.

Slick Customer Support

Sometimes it’s necessary to provide customer support to help a prospect transition from one stage of their customer journey to the next.

Thanks to intelligent digital applications, technology can now play a pivotal role in customer support, helping customers get their questions answered and problems resolved with minimal hassle.

AI powered chatbots serve as a useful example of such technology in action. These powerful applications use natural language processing to interact with customers in real-time, and deliver relevant, insightful information about the product or service in question.

A Tailored Experience

Customers today increasingly expect an individualised, tailored customer experience, one where their needs and desires are assessed and catered for in every interaction. Personalised recommendations based on factors like browsing history and preferences are one of the ways technology can deliver an individualised customer journey. Recommendations can help users identify the product or service best suited to their needs, and reduce the time spent sifting through product or service menus.

By providing a tailored experience, you can save your customers time and deliver a journey that is centred around the individual, resulting in better satisfaction outcomes.

In Summary

From initial contact to closing a sale, customers now expect a trouble-free, encumbered experience from beginning to end. A well-conceived, digitised customer experience can make all the difference when it comes to building brand loyalty, improving retention, and enhancing conversion rates. By investing in customer experience technologies today, you’ll give your business a solid foundation for growth, one that’s based on high satisfaction levels and a commitment to customer-centric service.

Up next, we look at 7 essential technologies for enhancing the customer experience.

4TC Services – Managed IT, Support, and Solutions for London Businesses

Secure, reliable, and tailored IT is a pre-requisite for success in our digital age. Here at 4TC, our mission is to help businesses across London and the Southeast realise their untapped potential using technology. From IT management that minimises downtime, to custom solutions that address persistent operational challenges, we can help you harness technology to grow and deliver the best possible outcomes for your customers.

To find out more, get in touch with 4TC today. We’d love to hear from you, and help you overcome your IT challenges.