Mastering Customer Experience Transformation: Beyond Technology Integration

5 minute read, posted on 10/03/2023, by Neil Rae

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In the post-pandemic era, technology is woven into the fabric of every organization and, in turn, every customer interaction.

Many contact center operations use 12+, integrated customer-facing and behind-the-scenes platforms to deliver customer service.

With technology such a dominant feature of today’s customer experiences (CX), it’s easy to see why leaders expect dramatic improvements in CSAT or financial results when a new technology is introduced. Technology is touted as the solution to all problems. All IT changes, even small ones, are dubbed “digital transformation” projects.

All too often, leaders confuse optimization and customer experience transformation. And it’s preventing them from making meaningful, long-term improvements within their contact centers.

Little has changed since we wrote about optimization versus transformation in a 2018 blog.

Optimization Transformation

When resources are limited, then, where should CX leaders focus? Should they tweak and optimize for today, or transform and prepare their contact center operations for the future?

If the goal is to win and retain customers, the answer is that they should do BOTH. To stay competitive, organizations need to undertake both optimization AND transformation projects simultaneously.

Table showing Optimization vs. Transformation VXI.jpg

In working with hundreds of customer care teams, I’ve observed that a CX transformation increases the need for optimization, and CX optimization often accelerates the path to transformation. They work hand in hand.

Optimization improves efficiency and effectiveness relatively quickly to address the problems of today. In a contact center, this may include introducing a new channel, a dashboard, a scorecard, a training module, or a knowledge base to address hot-button concerns.

But adding technologies and altering processes ad hoc to improve a metric or address an immediate need is not really transformation. It may reduce the pressure that a manager feels, but the value is limited to solving one or two problems.

A CX transformation, however, entails a radical, fulsome change in the way business is conducted. It aligns strategic, organizational, financial, and brand-related growth goals – in one-, three-, and five-year timeframes – with the contact center function. It addresses the challenges of today and tomorrow.

A transformation involves multiple, sequenced initiatives related to people, processes, and technologies.

It fundamentally changes the way the contact center works to generate better returns for the business, shareholders, employees, and customers.

While transformation includes technology, it doesn’t start and end with digitizing an existing, ineffective process.

The people and process parts of the equation – even though contact centers exist to help people – is often the most reported reason for transformation failure.

Diagram showing Role of Process Excellence

New Technology Next-Gen Contact Center

The term “CX transformation” is often used in association with the phrase “next-gen contact center.”

In pursuit of the “next-gen contact center,” companies have been quick to jump on the AI, automation, analytics, and digital CX bandwagon. But they are disappointed when these technologies aren’t the panaceas they were promised to be.

Chatbots are a good example of this. When implemented, they are celebrated as CX transformations destined to increase convenience and cost. However, 60% of customers face frequent disappointment in their chatbot experiences, citing inaccurate and unhelpful answers, the need to repeat information, and difficulties with the handoff/transfer to human agents as problems.

Although chatbots (and other modern technologies) can serve as an important piece of a CX transformation when implemented in isolation, time and again a puzzle piece is discovered missing from the customer perspective.

The voice of the customer – and the voice of the contact center team – is still lacking from most transformation efforts.

People + Processes + Technology = CX Transformation

In the interest of successfully juggling day-to-day obligations with longer-term ones, many CX leaders choose to believe that the quick addition of a new technology will address their biggest challenges and make customers happy.

CX technology providers perpetuate this belief.

Lack of coordination across teams, employees’ resistance to change, and mistaking digitization for digitalization are among a Forbes list of 13 reasons why companies fail at digital transformation. But IT providers are biased toward the technology part of the puzzle, and adjusting processes and preparing people for change (customers and employees) is unlikely their focus or forte.

Even leading brands need customer service experts – people who truly understand the customer mindset and the processes they need to achieve their goals – to lend a hand with CX transformation while the regular teams meet daily obligations.

With a deep understanding of contact center operations, a CX Advisory Team working directly with a broad range of customers every day can ensure the people and process puzzle pieces are factored into today’s technology implementations and tomorrow’s transformations.

Contact us to better map organizational goals, customer needs, team capabilities, and contact center processes with new technologies to deliver long-term value.

About Neil Rae

Neil oversees VXI’s CX Advisory and Digital Solutions businesses and is responsible for strategic consulting engagements and CX roadmap development for some of the world’s most respected brands. Neil also leads VXI’s digitalization efforts to combine our operational excellence, employee experiences, and our clients’ CX needs, with more intelligent insights, better tools, and smarter processes. Neil joined VXI in 2019 with executive-level experience garnered at several international BPO companies.

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