Why enterprises must prioritise the customer experience.

It can be overwhelming to think how quickly the customer experience has transformed in the last five years – and how, as a result, it’s easier than ever to lose out to your competition. Long gone are the days of visiting a physical store, local bank branch or travel agent. Instead, you can sort your shopping and banking, or book a holiday, online within a matter of seconds. Yet if the experience on offer isn’t good, then it’s easy to switch to an alternative at the click of a button.

As a business, this one click can be critical. Not only do you face a loss of revenue and reputation with a single disappointed customer, but you also risk losing out on all the future customers that could have come from that one person’s recommendations.

With the competition only ever one click away, it’s imperative you prioritise the customer experience. This means offering not just the best price, but the best of everything to keep consumers engaged
and loyal.

But What Does a Good Customer Experience Look Like?

Customers want more than just a bargain. They want brands to become more intuitive. Accenture found that almost three quarters (72%) of consumers now expect businesses to act instinctively when it comes to the customer experience, knowing exactly what it is they want and need. In the same survey, more than half expected more convenience to be offered alongside a seamless journey.

Essentially, a business offering a good customer experience should aim to also provide a complete service. This could include food delivery companies keeping track of what you have previously ordered and suggesting personalised recommendations.

Or it could see an online pharmacy service automatically reminding you to reorder a specific medication or book an appointment. It could even be as simple as offering click and collect, price comparison, or buy now pay later services. Whatever it is, it will demand a holistic approach towards customer service, to ensure all their needs are met.

Unlocking The Big Picture

Doing this requires being able to build a detailed picture of what exactly people expect, as well as their preferences and the channels they’ve used to get to you. In order to create this picture, organisations need to be extremely digitally agile – with the ability to integrate data from multiple systems and applications and build new digital services at will.

The issue remains that many organisations are struggling to achieve this level of agility. In fact, recent research found that 82% of IT decision makers weren’t able to pursue digital transformation projects due to a lack of resources or funds, a lack of skills to deliver projects, or the complexity of implementing technologies. These hurdles will have made it difficult to access data as and when needed – whether because it is siloed away and difficult to access, or because if it is accessible, there’s a lack of skills or resources that make it difficult for organisations to use data with the degree of agility and scalability that modern applications and consumer behaviour demand.

In turn, this makes it much harder for businesses to develop a coherent picture of what people want and expect. And without that, it becomes virtually impossible to provide the best possible customer experience. The trick is to improve data accessibility and implement technology that allows DevOps teams to use their existing skill set and the programming language of their choice to ensure data is being utilised effectively.

For instance, many enterprises have an understandable reliance on legacy technology – which offers a proven capability to perform the tasks the business needs at scale. Even though this technology will have been designed to provide greater agility, switching the reliance from a legacy service can cause complications which prevent data access for businesses.

Enterprises should therefore investigate whether there is technology that can sit alongside – e.g. as a cloud service – that will allow them to easily retrieve whatever data they need from a variety of sources, then use and reuse it however they like seamlessly within different apps and services, all without losing control.

Making Improvements

UK fintech company Revolut, is just one example of where the customer experience has been improved thanks to upgrading its approach to technology. The company was able to develop a machine learning-based fraud prevention system, which continuously and autonomously monitors card user transactions to watch for suspicious payments. Any that are spotted are flagged to the user in real-time via a push notification, to keep people alerted of any potential fraud on their account. Another example is UK retailer Tesco. It replaced its older relational database with a modern database that can support a superior shopping experience for customers. Enabling personal recommendations, running price and promotions as well as the ability to track deliveries, Tesco has been able to revolutionise its customer experience.

Both these cases show how technology is fundamental to improving the customer experience. And already we know that in today’s online world it’s easier than ever for consumers to switch to the opposition within just one click. It’s therefore critical that enterprises ensure they have the level of digital agility required to fully meet customer expectations. This will entail ensuring they can draw data at will without needing to worry about it being siloed; whether it will scale; or whether it can be used in the way they need. Doing this will mean that businesses are setting themselves up to be the winners of the race for clicks.

Perry Krug

Director, Shared Services
at Couchbase.

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