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Ignore the customer experience at your peril

Keri McCool, Marketing Manager, Exception

Digital transformation requires more than simply integrating new digital technologies. True digital transformation translates to overhauling processes, re-architecting operations and reimagining products and services. But are companies truly considering the customer in their digital strategies?

Customer experience (CX) has become a key factor for company success and businesses are rethinking operations and organisational culture to ensure customers remain at the heart of their digital transformation strategy.

The pandemic has only accelerated this, as consumers and businesses alike have had to change their behaviours and pivot to digital products and services.

Digital interactions have increased massively as consumers find new ways to access products and services safely.

What is CX?

Customer experience, or CX, is all about how an organisation interacts with each and every customer whether in digital spaces, in the physical world, or a combination of those.

At its core, it all comes down to how a person feels about the experience of interacting with brands and services.

Great CX is about providing a valuable, easy-to-use, and enjoyable experience to every customer. Delivering an exceptional customer experience can be what sets your business apart from its competitors.

Every customer journey is marked by a set of interactions. These days, most of these are digitally enabled which is why IT leaders must work closely with their CX counterparts.

Delivering Customer-Centric IT

When it comes to digital transformation, organisations often start by focusing on digitising manual, analogue processes.

While these can make a real impact in terms of increasing operational efficiency, these processes tend to be internally focused and may not directly have an impact on the customer.

In the past, IT leadership has often prioritised technology availability, efficiency gains, and infrastructure modernisation.

While these requirements are still vital,  IT leaders now must focus on leveraging all those elements — availability, efficiency, modern infrastructure — to create the experiences that “delight” customers.

Barriers to CX Success

IT leaders cannot create a customer-centric digital strategy in isolation.

IT departments don’t often have a direct line to their organisation’s end customers. In many organisations, even IT’s interaction with employees, their internal customers, can be quite poor.

Marketing and other customer-facing disciplines must work together, conducting thorough analysis into customer wants and needs and then communicate those requirements effectively to IT.

 IT, in turn, must provide the technology capabilities required to deliver on customer expectations.

Keeping abreast of ever evolving trends, markets and customer desires is also very important.

While identifying customer desires isn’t IT’s role, IT must recognise its importance and ensure that that information is being communicated to the team.

IT leaders should be constantly monitoring the digital landscape for new ways to satisfy those customer needs.

If the organisation’s mindset is still very traditional around IT, developing a customer-centric IT strategy will be difficult. This is because it’s likely that it doesn’t have the processes or level of engagement with other departments that a customer-centred strategy requires.

Likewise, if  the customer is not at the heart of the wider business strategy, then developing a digital agenda that is customer-led will be challenging.

Ignore the customer at your peril. Organisations that don’t consider the needs of their customers and make tech-focused investments may find that those investments actually impede their ability to connect with customers.

Such action can, ultimately, have a negative impact on customer retention and the bottom line.

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