What is customer experience technology? How does it impact business? What practical steps should we take?
Rogan Hounsell-Roberts was a founder of a successful scale-up; has helped organisations across many sectors achieve success; is a founder of KR5 Consulting; and has a passion for helping ambitious business owners scale-up and exit.
I understand that some owners will have doubts about the merits of customer experience technology. They might feel that tech can feel cold and distant. Owners might be concerned that tech will let their customers down. They might also feel that tech is over hyped, and not worth the investment. These are legitimate concerns, yet you can’t ignore customer experience technology and the impact on how customers feel about your brand. See “How Business systems help your brand”.
This is the third in our series on customer experience. In part one “Why customer experience matters for scale-up design” we looked at how the big picture helps us improve our service. Part-two “Customer experience benefits that drive change” looks at why you’d want to spend money on changing the way you work. Finally, in this part “Customer experience technology is a game changer” we look at how tech is changing the way we think.
Social Media, Mobile & Cloud
Recently my teenage daughter dropped her phone in some water, and it stopped working. Ok, I can hear you laughing – a teenager without a phone – what does that look like? In all fairness, I was impressed that she took it so well, saying to herself that she’d be fine without a phone. Now the repair shop took about a week, and I saw first-hand the impact of no phone. My daughter, like most of us, organises her social life, solves problems, learns, listens to music, looks at her pictures, talks to friends, streams video, plays games – all on her phone.
How many times have you used your smart phone to find out about a business? Followed a business on social media? Answered a customer survey, posted a review, shared a negative or positive experience? Do you use your favourite social media platform to talk to a business? Do you use an app to get the most out of a business relationship such as a banking, shopping or airline app?
The trend is toward digital experience. I’m not saying that technology is the answer to all customer experience, we still need humans. In practice there’s a big overlap between human and digital customer experiences. What I’m saying is that the world has moved on. Digital experience plays an ever, bigger role in our world. See “Digital Transformation – Should Scale-Ups Care?”.
As business experiments with tech, some will work, and some will fail. That’s the nature of innovation. Business will constantly push the limits. However, the fact of the matter is that people like using social media, they like using mobile devices and they like using the cloud. Web, mobile and social media are here to stay. They are key customer experience technology building blocks. When people make comments on their favourite social media, how can a business keep-up at scale?
Content Management vs Digital Experience Platforms
As we’ve looked for answers through the web, mobile and social media, customer experience technology has evolved to meet changing needs. In the beginning web sites were online brochures. In the early days, you needed a developer to create a website. Content management systems allowed non-technical users to organise and publish web content. As the volume of content increased, customers struggled to find what they were looking for. Then came the web portals with personalised experience. You’d have a profile that would guide you to the right content. For example, if you were an executive, you’d get different content to a manager.
Increased volumes of content published across many social media platforms resulted in content silos. Then the challenge of monitoring & responding to social media at scale. There was a need to take advantage of location information and more segmentation. The Digital Experience Platform (DXP) is a response to those emerging needs.
We all see the impact of social media on our lives; you only have to look at people using their phones. Some CRM features shape digital experiences. Leading cloud providers do much more than provide storage and processing. These are some of the digital building blocks that help us reach customers. See “Technology Ecosystem: an SME Game Changer?”.
Fast, secure internet has changed the world. We can pay as we go and pay less, because service providers have an economy of scale. It’s also less costly to use than before as there are more standard ways for machines to talk to each other. This has opened the frontiers of digital innovation.
Then there’s emerging tech. The internet of things (IoT) offers low cost data collection. That data might help better understand customer needs and behaviours. You can make better and faster decisions. See “How can information technology help a business?”. We’re seeing Artificial Intelligence (AI) used to understand speech. Customers can use free text or say what they need in a digital world. Retailers are using virtual reality to help customer see what a product would look like. For example, Ikea have an app to see what a sofa would look like in your home. See “Innovation of technology in Scale-ups”.
There are a couple of approaches. You can look at new tech and try and see opportunities. This way you get fresh ideas and think about new ways of working. The downside is that you can spend large amounts of time on things that don’t deliver as much value as you’d like. The other approach is to look at your specific needs and find solutions. You focus on solutions for real business problems. The downside is that this can be too narrow and can miss big opportunities. The best approach is to have a blend of both around your future business vision.
After growth, for most, the top business priority is improving customer experience and satisfaction. Digital is a key part of improving customer experience. Businesses use digital to improve speed, quality and efficiency, scale and innovate. If you don’t have a plan or you need help making it happen, then why not get in touch.
KR5 Consulting is a business technology consultancy with a passion to help ambitious business owners. We provide a unique approach to business technology to help you scale-up and exit. Our approach delivers high-level views for the board, along with incremental and practical implementation. Our work starts by understanding the business direction and needs so we can work together to create a plan. We create a map of the current and future systems to create a clear overview and monitor progress. Our purpose is to help you accelerate, increase profits, scale-up, acquire customers and beat the competition. We do the heavy lifting so that senior leaders can focus their time on building a successful business.
If you’d like to explore the ideas in this article further or need help and advice, please contact Rogan at firstname.lastname@example.org – to arrange an informal chat.
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