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Keeping pace with the customer experience awakening

Technology is revolutionizing the business landscape with velocity, at scale. Where do you focus? Where do you invest to keep pace?

July 25, 2019 | By Burk Buechler, TEKsystems Director of Digital Solutions

digital experience abstract image

The stakes are high. Digital experience can make or break your customer relationships—they want what they want, when and how they want it.

On The Agile World podcast hosted by Greg Kihlström, I sat down to chat all things customer experience. In this podcast we explored the barriers and breakthroughs in delivering an experience that meets your customers at tomorrow. Below I highlight key themes from our discussion.

Listen to the full episode of Version Next, Now on The Agile World Podcast click here.

Brands have never had it better

After decades of struggling to fully understand consumers, brands now hold the key to complete enlightenment: customer data. Armed with smartphones, tablets and laptops, many consumers relinquish their personal data so that brands can provide them with unique, personalized experiences. Because of this, there has been a CX awakening, and the faster a company can adopt, personalize and release the newest applications, the larger the competitive advantage in the market. Realize that every application has a customer experience. The question is whether that experience is relevant and meets expectations.

Success doesn’t come after waving a magic wand

So, where do you start? Organizations struggle with customer experience, and typically it’s due to a strong misalignment between the business objectives and digital initiatives of the company, leading to failure and the inability to deliver on the promised benefits.

Typically, there is agreement on the direction and initiative of the overall company strategy, but if you dig a bit deeper beneath the surface, there are ill-defined business models and goals. These goals don’t appear weak until the project reaches a point of no return. How to combat this issue? Explore the underlying business model early on and align to how digital serves that model.

Personalizing experience at scale

Customer experience is extremely dynamic. It’s crucial for organizations to continuously innovate in their space. An issue brands face is being able to understand their customer journey to enhance interactions with every customer on a larger scale. In other words, using data to better understand how customers perceive the brand experience and use that insight to deliver the right content at the right time across the right channels.

CX success requires a strong alignment to tested frameworks and methods—performing customer experience techniques the right way. Design-based thinking, for example, is a framework used to accelerate innovation that allows organizations to optimize processes using an outside-in view, while rapid prototyping is a way to speed up the execution and go-to-market time for these types of CX solutions.

Adapt for disruption

Superior digital and customer experience is a matter of survival, which is why we’re seeing all these initiatives and conversations taking place all the way up to the C-suite. Companies that deliver strong customer experience are threats to those who are not adapting, which inevitably leads to falling behind or even going out of business.

Customer-centric transformation accelerates organizational learning and ROI. There are four initial rules of the road to successfully implement a positive customer experience:

  1. Raise customer experience to the C-suite to stay ahead of the game
  2. Adopt a customer-centric and design-based thinking for digital across the customer life cycle
  3. Prioritize IT investments around improving the customer experience, using frameworks and methodologies—like lean agile—to bring investments to market
  4. Leverage service partnerships to help overcome the challenge of hiring and retaining the talent and leadership needed to succeed 

How to measure success

Given the obstacles and roadblocks a company may face during this process, it’s important to define business goals at the very beginning. As part of our (TEKsystems Digital) process, business goals are defined in what is known as the inception phase of the project. This phase aligns the KPIs to the business values and goals. Example metrics to look at: customer retention, conversation rates, customer and employee engagement, new revenue models, etc. It is important to map out these goals and KPIs initially, with the intention to revisit throughout the process.

While there are many actions a company can take to improve, CX is not a set-it-and-forget-it initiative. Lean agile practices, design-based thinking and rapid prototyping are just a few of the immediate actions you can take to continue optimizing your CX journey for the long term.

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