Unlocking CX in 2020
As CX continues to represent a priority for business leaders across all sectors, the events of this year have shone a spotlight on the extent to which a good, or indeed bad, experience can impact customer loyalty and long term profitability. With positive engagements driving loyalty, increased share of wallet and profitability, poor experiences are seeing customers close the door on a brand for good.
This is largely because in times of a crisis, a customer’s interaction with a company can have a profound effect on trust and loyalty. In the wake of heightened emotions, the value of empathy, care and concern in addressing demand is greater, therefore strategies which support cohesive, tailored communications are crucial. And this doesn’t just apply to the current times. Getting it right can help reverse transiency and attrition to help companies position themselves as CX leaders and build market share in the long term.
Challenges to good CX
But achieving confident, comprehensive CX isn’t always easy. For those organizations with legacy, disparate systems, in particular, achieving the kind of visibility and speed necessary to underpin positive, profitable communications, can be hugely challenging, if not impossible.
In light of this, of course, one option is to undertake a full CX-centric digital transformation, replacing older systems with modern cloud capabilities. But for many, the cost and commitment involved renders it prohibitive, particularly in the wake of a more cautious approach to spending during the Covid pandemic.
Another option is to fully integrate all systems via traditional middleware as part of a sizeable project. However, this approach is notoriously complex, expensive and time-consuming, with high volumes of interdependencies and data flows to map and connect. Add to this the fact that return on investment (ROI) is limited, as these integration benefits quickly become redundant as soon as new systems or updates are introduced and further work has to be undertaken, and its viability really comes into question.
Testament to these challenges is Gartner’s view, which points to the prioritization of digital investment; ability to deliver high quality customer service; and management of technology or process transitions as the three main challenges to achieving good CX in 2020.
A hybrid approach: introducing the hub
So where does that leave companies looking to overhaul their customer strategies in 2020 and beyond?
Thankfully there is a third option. Hybrid cloud, in its many forms, has soared in popularity over recent years and is predicted by analysts and technology companies to be an even bigger trend than pure cloud. Such approaches are being adopted as companies take a more measured, pragmatic route to modernization. While the model of course varies substantially, one hybrid solution we believe is a major game changer is the API-led integration hub.
Essentially a platform which acts as a bridge to connect to proprietary and third party systems, APIs have grown in prevalence as a simple way of allowing multiple applications to talk to each other. In addition to improving visibility and collaboration, eliminating errors and minimising risk of attrition, they can support better forecasting and customer value.
Using the hub, all of an enterprise’s systems, whether on-premise, cloud or mobile, can be accessed in just a few clicks, to deliver a truly personalized experience. All relevant information on a particular customer can be accessed instantly and these vast repositories of data can quickly build a detailed, accurate customer profile and influence the response to underpin potential up-selling opportunities.
For example, a customer might call in with a query about a competitor offer seen on Twitter, and using APIs, the call handler is able to quickly view all relevant data. By identifying the offer, the customer’s history, including loyalty and overall profitability, available discounts can be offered to nurture that relationship, foster a positive experience and in turn, increase profitability.
Transformation without disruption
This API-led hybrid model is incredibly powerful for those firms who have invested heavily in best-in-class systems, and are keen to optimize them rather than embark upon major business transformation.
A robust gateway to delivering a seamless, interconnected approach, and rapid insights from which to inform decision making and deliver the best experiences, it is not only a cost effective alternative to multi-tenant cloud, but it can represent a flexible, affordable foundation from which to capitalise on AI and machine learning, and establish processes from which to build a pure cloud strategy in the future.