Adapting to change: customer experience in the digital age

Mitch Cornelia, director, Paragon Customer Communications, explains why delivering a successful customer experience, and forging deeper relationships, can present new opportunities.

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As organisations take stock of the past year, aside from the obvious disruption and changes to the social and economic landscape, one significant development is how the nature of interactions and relationships between corporations and individuals have been transformed.

Over the last year, digital migration has been the hallmark of consumer behaviour as they have adapted to change. The result is a marked shift in how organisations engage customers: there’s a greater need to keep channels open, maintain clear and consistent communications and engage consumers across a broader range of channels than ever previously. This has led companies to re-evaluate their CX strategies in an effort to generate more compelling, relevant and timely engagement across multiple touchpoints.

A customer-centric view

To be effective, CX strategies need to be implemented proficiently across the spectrum of digital and traditional channels and this means brands must first deploy advanced technologies and new communications channels to meet the demands of evolving customer journeys.

They will need to offer convenient, customer-centric, data-intuitive solutions and services, as well as create the systems that run them. While this is a process that requires a fundamental change in the way organisations operate, those that adopt these technologies put themselves in pole position to benefit from the longer-term transition in consumer behaviour.

A barrier for many organisations is that their existing IT infrastructure and legacy systems lack the capacity for rapid deployment or the ability to implement widespread change across the numerous communication channels. They are, as a result, unable to provide the necessary delivery infrastructure needed to support data-heavy CX strategies or the
customer communications management (CCM) delivery models that are essential for today’s customer journeys.​

Crucial to delivering a successful CX strategy is having a comprehensive understanding of the customer, including their unique behaviours and channel preferences. This, again, requires a fundamental change in the way companies operate.
As chief marketing officers (CMOs) seek a ‘quick fix’ for improving CX, many focus their attention on delivering improvements across digital channels such as web, social and mobile – largely due to their perceived importance in the online age, and ease of adaptation.

And while such a singular focus on digital proficiency clearer has its merits – particular as online channels become a key enabler for driving positive CX, with 91% of UK marketers reporting an increase in the use of online services by consumers 1 – it also has some considerable disadvantages. Perhaps most notable of these is the neglect of traditional communication channels such as print, which may still have a fundamental role to play in customer journeys.

Given that 70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty 2 , the failure to consider unique customer journeys and adapt the channels that consumers engage with most often, creates the very real risk of creating customer journey disconnect.

To achieve omnichannel CX success, therefore, marketeers will not only will they need the data and analytical platforms that provide essential insights about individual customers; they will also need to unify previously fragmented customer data across all touchpoints. This is essential to support truly frictionless omnichannel customer communications.

A unified ‘omni-com’ ecosystem Putting this in place requires the deployment of a single, centralised system that incorporates a cohesive eco-system of modern customer communications technologies. This not only provides an organisation with a delivery infrastructure to support future-proofed communications, but also enables it to unify its previously fragmented communications technologies.

Of course, having the right technology in place is only part of the solution. Organisations will also require the expertise to drive their digital transformation and empower marketeers to solve problems and make decisions.

Working alongside an experienced communications partner, like Paragon Customer Communications , that can seamlessly support business operations is the preferred solution for many marketing professionals dealing with new technologies. With expert support, they can maintain complete visibility of all communications and activity, while being better placed to make the most of the digital opportunities.

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