Can quality CX provide a significant commercial edge for business? Here Webhelp Chief Customer Solutions Officer, Helen Murray, provides insight into innovative customer experience and its role as a competitive differentiator in the digital world.

In today’s internet-dependent society, almost everything is digital – from ordering a takeaway to checking a medical record. As a result customer expectations are increasingly heightened by access to innovative products and processes. The impact of online customer experience, both good and bad, is increasing as digital channels become the new norm.

As digital innovations are reshaping our society, economy, culture and lifestyle it’s becoming more certain that CX will be the competitive driver for future advancement, with the International Data Corporation (IDC) recognising this trend:

“Both technology vendors and their end customers are now investing heavily in customer experience technologies. European CX software spend will increase massively from $34 billion in 2018 to $47 billion in 2022 as CX becomes the competitive differentiator for the future enterprise.” Source IDC

IDC claims that 45% of Western European enterprises are using (or piloting) speech analytics solutions for CX. With tough competition, brands must stay relevant and improve the way they interact with their customers or lose out to competitors with slicker and better adapted CX offerings.

To accomplish this, brands must adapt and invest in more ‘human-like’ automated systems, as (according to Gartner) a quarter of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020. They provide some insight into the reasoning behind this growth here:

“AI in sales allows for more efficiency and effectiveness in business processes, often with up to 30% higher conversion rates when engaging prospects or leads. It is becoming an attractive alternative for sales organizations with high volumes of lead processing, opportunities and forecasting processes because it provides fast and accurate support when performing the different sales stages.” Source: Gartner Newsroom

They conclude by asserting that by 2020, 30% of all B2B companies will employ artificial intelligence (AI) to augment at least one of their primary sales processes – taking their figures on board, it is not a stretch to foresee a wave of inevitable investment in CX technology, making it more crucial than ever to stay ahead of the curve.

This can be accomplished by adopting cutting edge AI and Automation in CX technology, a subject that we have taken a deeper dive into in previous blogs. But this alone isn’t enough; I believe that it will be personalisation and the human touch which will be the deciding factors in inspiring engagement in customer purchasing, retention and loyalty.

We need to stop thinking of customers as commodities and start engaging in real and valuable conversations with them. This applies whether these conversations are interactions through AI (Chatbots, Voice Assistants) or real-life contact with skilful human advisors trained in solution resolution.

So what tangible benefit does excellent CX actually offer to make investment worthwhile?  In fact, relatively small increases in customer satisfaction can have a tremendous impact on company turnover. Bain & Company suggest that by increasing customer retention rates by just 5%, brands could increase profits by a minimum of 25%. They also recommend establishing a smooth and streamlined online journey, as a cost-effective way to increase loyalty, recognising that:

“Companies that focus on building loyal relationships that by their very nature keep costs to a minimum are far better positioned to remain strong in the face of market turbulence.” Source: Bain

In conclusion, what we need to deliver the best results, is an in-depth understanding of the level of the customer’s emotional engagement. At Webhelp, we work with our clients to gather insight at key points, creating customer journeys that inspire positive engagement and build loyalty and trust.

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