As another strange holiday season approaches, we can all relate to the emotions we go through on our way to the check-in desk at a busy airport. The excitement, the anticipation and in some cases the fatigue and frustration.
Our customer experience includes, the taxi journey, finding the right queue and even waiting in line before we finally make it to the check-in counter.
Now imagine if the person at the check-in is not prepared or unable to find our details, or unable to confirm the flight we are so looking forward to! What if they don’t have seamless access to the systems and services they need to process our check-in?
This front office is extremely important, however a great customer experience also depends on systems, services and people beyond the front office. This collection of vital customer information, special tools and processes supports the front office in delivering the best possible customer experience. Let’s call this the middle office, our desktop or our CRM desk.
Another key factor is the happiness of the people delivering this experience. It is a fact that the person behind the desk can make or break the experience. A simple smile at the front office can take away all the frustration of waiting in that queue.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. If there isn’t a seamless connection between the front office, the middle office and the back office, we will never be able to complete our journey.
Almost all business service centers work in this way. The best end to end customer experience is delivered through seamlessly connected front, middle and back offices.
Why is an end-to-end experience so important?
Research shows that customers are likely to mention a positive customer experience to an average of 9 people, while they are likely to tell 16 people about negative experiences. Conversely, customers who enjoy positive experiences are likely to spend 140% more than customers who report negative experiences. Also, customers who enjoy positive experiences are likely to remain customers for 5 years longer than customers who had negative experiences.
The world is now a different place and the recent shift to remote work, together with dramatic fluctuations in the demand for customer support, has created significant challenges for many organisations.
In some cases, wait times have increased from 20 seconds to 20 minutes. That’s a staggering 6000%. There is a pressing need to move fast to adapt to this new wave of customer demand, while delivering a service which is still personable and drives loyalty.
On the other side, employees delivering the experience are facing their own challenges – unprecedented volumes, scattered data and disconnected systems. Employee experience is just as important.
These are just some of the reasons why it is important to deliver an amazing end to end customer experience together with a great employee experience.
Some common challenges
Traditionally, different parts of an organization own the different aspects of the experience. There may be a call center which owns the front office experience and a separate team which owns the middle office. Often, CX investments are made in separate areas and not harmonized to deliver one seamless journey.
For example, a company may choose to invest in a new telephony solution, but not a supporting desktop CRM solution. Or they may invest in a CRM solution, but not invest in integrating the back office. It is important to have a well thought through roadmap, but where do you start?
Companies worry about disruption for their customers, adoption issues internally, escalating costs and technical risk and complexity. Sometimes It is simply because companies have not transitioned from being department centric to customer centric. This needs a transformation.
Delivery expertise is also dispersed. There are companies who specialize in telephony, but are not experts in CRM. There are companies who know CRM well, but are unable to execute a systems integration strategy which will really deliver end to end benefit.
How can companies enable the best end-to-end experience?
Technology gaps, process alignment and challenges with delivering cross channel personalization all require thoughtful response and planning.
As businesses and consumers adapt to the new landscape, it is increasingly important to take a holistic view and implement a truly seamless end to end experience. This is more of a transformation than a tactical solution. People, processes and technology are all key to enabling the desired customer experience.
To enable amazing end-to-end experience, you need a transformation, not an isolated tactical solution.
Technology implementation plays a key role in meeting fast-changing customer needs. Implementing these technologies and shifting toward coherent, connected customer experience platforms that offer greater flexibility and interoperability can help solve some of the major challenges faced by businesses today.
Though you may achieve the transformation in smaller manageable steps, you must think about the end-to-end journey. Think about the multiple factors which would inform a workable roadmap and think about technical components which come together as one seamless scalable solution which can grow with you and deliver the ultimate customer and employee experience.
Another key ingredient to being successful, is choosing the right partner to guide you on the journey. Regardless of what some commentators say about the ease of implementing modern solutions, it can be complex and you most certainly need the right expertise.
Choose a partner who can co-create with you, a partner who can draw out a roadmap, knows where to start and can bring innovation, deep understanding of technology and broader industry experience to your transformational journey.