By Heath Turner, Digital Platforms Transformation Lead at Altron Karabina
The events over the past two years have seen a shift in how brands and consumers interact and engage with each other, with rapid growth in eCommerce necessitating the need for underlying digital transformation within organisations. Changing user behaviours means that this trend is here to stay, and businesses are increasingly looking toward using data to enable better experiences in an effort to attract and retain customers for the long term.
The business challenge of providing a good customer experience was a far more simple prospect in the past – say perhaps ten or fifteen years ago. People interacted with companies in a very one-dimensional way, be it either through telephone or email and it was easier for the organisation to have a basic customer relationship management system to have a single view of the customer.
In today’s world, we are in a society where the customer has the power to decide what they want to do, when they want to do it, and how they want to do it. They want to be able to use multiple touchpoints and devices to interact with the brands. This can be as varied as digital options, such as a website, mobile app or social media presence, or even by visiting a physical brick-and-mortar store.
The changes to the way we now do business makes providing a good and consistent customer experience a more complex undertaking. While past efforts at improving customer experience might have focused on improving the efficiency of back office processes – and perhaps ensuring that customers in the store were well attended to – customers are now interacting with businesses through several of the above-mentioned methods.
It further becomes crucial that businesses identify the customer and continue with the ongoing conversation in order to provide a seamless experience, and as such, they are dedicating more people toward learning and mapping the journey that a customer will take as they interact with various touch points across the organisation.
In order to provide their customers with these convenient and improved user experiences, and predict how they might react in a highly complex environment, businesses need to invest in technology such as visualisation tools which will help them improve their business processes, while sophisticated data management platforms that have been implemented in the right way will help them understand more about their customers.
From the outset, customer journey mapping will help businesses engage with their customers through four key ways: using tools to gain deep insights that allow organisations to better understand customers; ensuring market share growth opportunities by developing targeted campaigns and lead generation activities; providing a map to guide customers and deliver the promise of delightful customer experience, and to retain customers by improving each step they take on their journey with the business.
And, businesses don’t have to go it alone; partners such as Altron Karabina, a leading technology solutions provider across Africa and the Middle East, can help businesses in implementing the underlying customer experience platform, getting data into a structure that allows the organisation to better use it, helping key stakeholders drive adoption and use of the technology within the business.
Modern tools such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement can consolidate data from various departments within a business to give a single, holistic view of all customers in real time. This enables employees to make quick and informed decisions on everything from upselling and cross-selling to improving customer communication and responsiveness, and even managing sales and marketing.
The technology and the partner ecosystem expertise to drive improved and seamless customer experiences across multiple touch points exists, and it now comes down to organisations adopting the right technology as they mature.