Almost two-thirds of Australian customer experience managers say their ability to engage better with customers is being held back by technology, according to new research from direct marketing company Salmat.
The survey of 70 customer engagement managers from Australian big enterprise and government organisations asked participants to divulge their biggest challenges and barriers standing in the way of better customer management.
Around 63 per cent felt technology is one of the biggest inhibitors for customer management. More than half (52 per cent) ranked customer experience as the greatest customer management challenge currently facing their organisation. People and capability was cited by 32 per cent as a barrier while 25 per cent pointed to multi-channel communication as their biggest challenge.
Scott McMillan, general manager for business consulting at Salmat, says the findings show organisations are too quick in adopting the newest technology without creating a strategy and vision for what they want their customer experience to look like and how best to achieve it.
“We all know delivering the right experience for your customers is the most powerful differentiator an organisation can possess. But clearly there’re still major obstacles that are occurring within organisations, and it’s the c-suit (the CEO in particular) who need to take control,” McMillan said.
“Improving customer experience can’t be achieved by chance; business objectives, commercial data and a clear strategy need to be created to effectively deliver a meaningful experience. As an industry we are too focused on the micro and are forgetting to think about the bigger picture. We know the best way to improve loyalty is to focus on making it easier for your customer to engage with your brand and remove unnecessary obstacles.
“But what organisations forget is the business side – their staff – who need to use those systems; inefficient processes and systems cut productivity, encourage burn & churn and will certainly impact your customer’s experience.”
A report from Ventana Research found 49 per cent of organisations struggle to integrate the systems required to support the customer experience while 47 per cent have multiple channels of communication, but manage them as individual systems.
McMillan says a simple solution to creating a more homogenous customer experience is to switch to a completely integrated contact centre system and take advantage of the cloud.
“A centralised single view for the customer, regardless of the channel they use, streamlines the process and provides a seamless, low effort experience,” he said.
“Modern systems allow organisations to turn various channel capabilities on and off depending on which they are using and integrates all customer conversations into a central source.
“Your contact centre has the potential to be a cost-effective way to connect with your customers and stimulate loyalty but, to reach this potential, organisations need to make sure their staff are trained to deal with today’s complex multi-channel customer interactions.”
McMillan says this means putting three simple things in place.
“You need the right technology to empower your executives to deliver a seamless customer experience, coaching and training programs to ensure your team has the skills to deal with complex situations and employee engagement programs to keep staff motivated,” he said.
- Technology alone will not deliver a competitive advantage: use it in the right way to enhance your customer experience
- Integration is key: a single customer view across multiple channels allows for a smoother customer journey
- Don’t underestimate the power of a skilled and motivated workforce: implement training and engagement programs