Pega’s recent survey of customer satisfaction with service at German companies produced some surprising results. While German businesses may think they are delivering a customer-focused experience, most customers don’t. Less than half of the respondents were satisfied with the service they received, and only 26% felt service had improved in the last few years.
In my view, companies need to recognize that digitalization, big data and global integration are having a profound effect on customer expectations. Too often, CRM systems deliver an experience designed for the consumer of 10 years ago, rather than the modern consumer who uses multiple channels, expects every engagement to be a “just for me” experience, and demands every order is fulfilled without a hitch. In this blog, we will explore the effects of these forces and how CRM technology can be used to successfully address the changing customer relationship.
Digitalization Requires a Unified Experience
Like everybody else in the world, digitalization has empowered German consumers. When they see a product that interests them or need help, they pick among multiple channels and devices to engage with a business — and they expect you to be at the other end of the “line” no matter what.
As channels have multiplied, we might think that one channel would replace another. But this is not the case. Social media, online chat, the phone and local branch all of these can be used during an interaction. Unfortunately, companies often treat each channel as an independent interaction, while to the consumer it’s just one engagement. CRM must address this expectation, delivering a seamless and consistent omni-channel experience that focuses on the engagement as a whole, not each channel.
Data Must Be Combined with Context to Personalized Each Engagement
Because consumers now expect engagements that are tailored to the individual, companies use big data to create a 360° view of the customer. Theoretically this promotes a more personalized experience. But the theory hasn’t always proven true because the 360° view is static, failing to take into account the customer’s intent and the context of an interaction.
So companies have gone a step further, using analytics to predict customer behavior and applying these predictions to customer-facing processes. However, the predictions are also static, applied no matter what may actually be taking place during an engagement. What CRM technology really needs to do is use the real-time responses of the customer and the flow of the conversation to inform the predictions and dynamically guide the next-best-action for the individual and the situation.
Front Office, Back Office — The Customer Doesn’t See a Difference
As communication and integration technology have enabled connection between everything and everybody, customers expect companies to leverage this interconnectedness. A good example is the common process of fulfilling an order. To customers, this is a single, integrated process from the moment they engage with your company. But for many businesses, the front office and the back office are still two separate worlds with legacy systems disconnected from the front office and from each other. In fact, 70% of customer experience executives say organizational and IT system silos are the biggest hurdles to a better customer experience.
Addressing this need requires broadening the view of CRM to include the back office as just another step in the process. Using modern, agile technology to connect back-office operations directly to your front office, you can facilitate seamless integration between systems to deliver the experience customers really want.
To see out Back Office Blues infographic, click here.