Shaping the future of customer experience
Given its importance to the bottom line, customer experience is high on the priority list of CEOs, CMOs and CIOs alike. Research from Gartner found that nearly a third (31%) of CEOs had customer projects as their number one strategic priority for this year, and 37% said that customer experience management was their most important area of technology investment over the next 5 years. No wonder that the number of inquiries to Gartner concerning CX rose by 40% over the last 12 months.
Reflecting this, the analyst’s annual European customer experience event, to be held in London between 10-11 May 2017, is going to be larger and more in-depth than ever before. Eptica is a sponsor of the Gartner Customer Experience & Technologies Summit, and will be exhibiting and speaking at the event.
The Summit’s theme, Shaping the Future of Customer Experience, aims to equip attendees with the information and skills they need to create a CX vision for their organization and then to successfully turn it into reality. As part of this Gartner has outlined the four steps required to build a compelling vision:
1. Build an emotional connection
To drive real loyalty in competitive markets, organizations need to connect with their customers at an emotional level. This means going beyond simply providing good service to understanding their needs and delivering what they require, time after time. Customers want to have a dialogue with brands, and that can only be based on empathy and emotion. Technology, such as natural language processing and artificial intelligence, helps to achieve this, with Eptica’s solution analyzing, understanding and automatically delivering the insight and answers that are needed to underpin meaningful conversations.
2. Deliver customer value that sets you apart
Companies cannot survive simply by copying the competition – they need to be seen by customers as providing something that cannot be delivered by rivals. This means businesses have to build strong relationships with customers, understand what their requirements are, and then use this information to drive improvements and innovation. For example, if 90% of your incoming digital queries around a particular product ask if it is available in blue, it is a sure sign that you should consider releasing it in that color.
3. Make it simple
Customers don’t have time to grapple with complex websites when trying to complete a transaction. And they don’t want to wait hours for a reply if they get in touch through digital channels. 91% of consumers expect a fast and accurate response to their queries, according to the recent Eptica Retail Customer Conversations Study, for example. Brands therefore need to reduce the effort that customers need to put in, both by providing fast answers to their queries, and allowing them to get in contact through their channel of choice, day or night.
4. Be committed
To succeed at CX, you need to set clear expectations about your customer experience, with consumers, employees and the entire company. Customer experience is the job of everyone in the organization – not just those that work in the contact center, so ensure that all staff understand this. Once you have set expectations, continually monitor to make sure that they are being met – and take action if not. 40% of consumers surveyed by Eptica said that retailers didn’t keep their promises when it came to response times – this type of behavior damages or even destroys relationships and causes customers to take their business elsewhere.
Turning your customer experience vision into reality can seem tough – consumer expectations are constantly rising, existing corporate structures can inhibit the collaboration needed to deliver a superior experience and funding for projects can be tight. Nevertheless, it is imperative for businesses to overcome these challenges – and that means creating and implementing a strategy that makes your organization truly customer centric, underpinned by a technology platform that enables you to have meaningful conversations with your customers, time after time. The Gartner Summit promises to help organizations successfully deliver the customer experience today’s competitive markets require – I hope to see you there.