Making Sound Technology Decisions for the Optimal Customer Experience (CX)

6 minute read, posted on 01/09/2024, by VXI Marketing

Graphic from the VXI Blog titled 'Making Sound Technology Decisions for the Optimal Customer Experience (CX),' featuring Tadd McAnally, Vice President, Customer Experience Advisory. The image includes Tadd's portrait and a background with digital network graphics.

With an underlying assumption that technology will continue to dominate headlines and be a focus for all customer experience transformation plans in 2024, we sat down with Tadd McAnally, VXI’s VP of Customer Experience Advisory (CXA) solutions, to gather his insights on what contact center leaders can do to successfully navigate the CX technology maze.  

In his role, Tadd leads a group of digital domain experts and CX visionaries specializing in experience design, process re-engineering, and digital transformation. Time and again, Tadd and the team hear similar challenges across industries regarding contact center technology and channel optimization.  

Graphic titled 'Top Contact Center Transformation Challenges' with a list that includes: Identifying the right technologies, Understanding what capabilities and channels to invest in, Cross-channel CX consistencies, Knowing how to 'operationalize' new capabilities, Keeping pace with new capabilities, Measuring the return on investment, Balancing and reconfiguring the service delivery model around new capabilities, and Aligning service delivery model with organizational strategic objectives.

Q: How can companies choose the right technologies for managing customer contacts amid an evolving digital landscape?

Tadd: Navigating channel and technology options can be cumbersome, but it becomes clearer when you put the human experience first, understand the processes that are needed to support the best experience, and then consider whether those tools align with your customer engagement and business strategies. 

When it comes to technology, there are many providers to contemplate, and you can look at it from the standpoint of best-in-breed or best-in-suite. The best-in-breed approach (with one-off, niched applications) is what we have seen historically because customer engagement technologies and platforms were so specialized. Now, the cloud has created an environment where providers are expanding their product stacks to offer a full suite of capabilities (all-in-one solutions) to help reduce the heterogeneity and complexity of your overall technology stack and facilitate integration across systems.  

As companies look at choosing new technologies and capabilities, it is important to understand what the pros and cons of each specific solution set, and if you can get similar functionality from your existing providers or partners.  

Most importantly the value of these solutions (whether it’s a specific set of capabilities or a full suite) needs to be mapped back to your overall delivery model and high-value, high-impact use cases for your CX and EX. 

Q: In your opinion, what are the key elements of a modernized service delivery model? How can organizations balance and reconfigure the model to accommodate new capabilities like GenAI?

Tadd: In my experience, the primary elements of a modernized service delivery model encompass journey-based design, data-driven decision-making, cloud optimization, agility, and omnichannel integration.

Graphic illustrating '5 Key Elements of a Modernized Service Delivery Model' which are listed as Journey-based, Data-driven, Cloud-optimized, Agile and iterative, and Omnichannel, each accompanied by an icon representing the concept

Aligning your people, processes, and technologies to deliver the ideal customer experience requires all five elements. The CX and EX journeys should function as your compass in the design and roadmap for your overall service delivery model.  

Technology serves as the means of enabling data-driven decisions and omnichannel capabilities. Obviously, cloud migration is a big part of that; getting to the cloud as quickly as possible is going to provide more integration, consistency, and market responsiveness. Lastly, an agile methodology enables you to implement, iterate, and move quickly — which can enable (or thwart!) transformation.  

Companies that take a deliberate, holistic approach tend to have better designs and outcomes when it comes to reimagining and transforming the model. Most clients we talk to are entirely focused on how quickly they can get gen AI built into their service delivery model. But before reconfiguring the model or adding a new capability, it’s important to take a step back and ask questions like: 

  • How does this new tool or digital approach align with our CX strategy or customer segments? 
  • How will we measure the value of these capabilities (will it improve the human experience or simply reduce costs)? 
  • Does it change the requirements of the job or task at hand (i.e., skillsets, job profiles, etc.)? 
  • Will it break any of my existing processes that will need to be re-engineered?  

Q: What piece of the transformation equation is commonly overlooked by CX leaders when vetting emerging technologies and digital capabilities?

Tadd: One of the biggest things that gets overlooked is having a deliberate data strategy. People assume data is just sitting there ready to grab and use, but it’s not.

Rather than implementing technologies haphazardly and then figuring out how to harvest data for decision-making and iterating later, I would focus on implementing a master data management strategy early on. Those data-based insights, and those business intelligence (or BI) resources, are going to help you decide what is working and what isn’t in your CX strategy and technology stack.

The second part of the equation that is often overlooked is how new capabilities will affect the existing operating model. You need to consider how those IT changes may require you to adjust in other areas of your business so that you can ensure consistency and positive outcomes related to the customer experience. Your business process outsourcing (BPO) partner should be able to help you operationalize the possibilities of your technologies and your data.

Q: In what ways will the converging roles of BPOs and tech companies enhance customer outcomes? 

Tadd: Through the client lens, BPO providers understand the human and procedural aspects of customer engagement. BPOs typically have a large swath of clients and many industries that they can pull customer experience examples from and benchmark against. Being creative and agile is crucial when you’re implementing any new tool or partnership.  

A lot of BPOs are expanding their service offerings into consulting, professional services, and enablement to drive meaningful change, including VXI. Our CXA practice leaders exist to help clients to address business challenges and gaps, to improve operational excellence and service delivery, to test and scale emerging technologies, and more.  

Despite the current AI frenzy, technology is still just an enabler — the human aspects of using those technologies should always be factored in before making any investment. After all, acquiring these capabilities is just the starting point; the real challenge lies in effectively operating and leveraging them. 

Need help navigating the 2024 CX technology maze? Contact us to speak with one of our CX advisors today!  

Professional biography of Tadd McAnally

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