Digital Customer Experience: Part 1
Nearly all companies say: with us, the focus is on the customer. But what does the customer have to say about it? What is the customer experience like when the analogue world meets the digital world? We dedicate our six-part blog series to the digitalization of customer relationships. Part 1: Digital Customer Experience (DCX): The prime field of action for the digital transformation
Personal customer contact need not take place personally, a fact demonstrated by successful e-commerce companies. Take Zalando, for example: this popular online merchant is replacing marketing staff with software. Not primarily to save costs; rather, through the integration of data and AI-driven technologies, Zalando seeks to attain more personalized customer contact. This means that Zalando fashion fans can expect more precisely tailored recommendations in the future. Personalization through automation then?
We wanted to know for sure, so in cooperation with IDG in 2017, 326 qualified interviews were conducted among IT managers, strategic decision makers and C-level managers. The results were compiled in a study entitled, “Digital Customer Experience” (IDG, 2017). The results were eagerly anticipated. While accompanying the digital transformation, we are in the front lines when it comes to optimizing tools for the linking of analogue and digital customer relationships.
What are the main fields of actions in the digital transformation?
If we look at the example of Zalando, as well as the developments in retail, among the banks, insurance and health insurance companies, it seems quite clear: the main field of action is the digitalization of the customer relationship, the digital customer experience or, in short, DCX. The IDG study also came to the same result: more than half the study participants assigned the highest priority to DCX. Before companies even want to consider IoT and new digital products, they are dedicating themselves to the digital customer experience. Particularly board members and executive members give DCX the highest priority – even more than their colleagues from the IT and specialist departments. This coincides well with what we have experienced: we too have noticed that the DCX vision in top management is being discussed at the very highest levels. Nevertheless, besides the vision, hardly any concrete solution proposals and procedures are passed on to the specialist departments. They are dependably handling what is mainly required for the digitalization of the customer experience, but are unable to link the necessary data and tools.
Approaches for companies in the transformation
We deal intensively with customer relationships at BSI. We are investigating the requirements of modern customer dialogue in close tandem with customers, as well as in research projects, and looking at ways to meet the challenges. We have particularly specialized in making analogue sections or the customer journey something that can be captured digitally, thereby facilitating automation. This includes individual process steps such as dark processing, as well as the automation of an entire series of actions and reactions, which we are able to depict in a single digitalization platform. We are talking about trigger-based customer journeys that are controlled on the basis of customer decisions and events – in real time and with a maximum degree of individualization.
Digital focus, analogue requirements
Customers and their present needs may not go under in the course of all the digitalization, automation and virtualization. The study shows that the telephone stubbornly remains the leading contact channel. Despite the many new options, it is still the most important interface to customers when it comes to hearing their concerns and conveying messages to them. This is attributable, on the one hand, to the great convenience this channel offers. On the other hand, it may also have to do with the rather small number of electronic self-service platforms that make a simple around-the-clock service available to customers.
The integration of self-service portals is essential for a continuous customer journey. They offer both easy access to companies – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and also decrease the number of calls received. Customers generally prefer to check the Internet before reaching for the phone.
What will remain are complex consultations. The combination of human-CRM is unbeatable here: intelligent CRM systems will make daily work in the call center even easier, leading to better consultation performance. The sales rep receives a sorted list “next best actions” from the CRM system and, with the knowledge in his head, his intuition and charm, in combination with suggestions provided by the machine, can optimally advise customers. Data protection guidelines are also depicted in a good CRM system. It is little wonder that, according to the DCX study, over half the companies have increased their CRM budget, 11% of them even by two digits. Eighty percent are expanding their CRM system to meet the new customer demands for a continuous digital customer experience. Especially from a digitalization perspective, CRM is an effective tool that makes staff even more successful. Both customers and reps can profit from this tool in terms of a positive and proactive digital experience.