No doubt. Customer Experience has been shaped by technology. Mostly because customers’ expectations have been rising by the way they use technology on their personal lives. In particular by the way they communicate with family and friends, using messaging apps – Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.
No doubt. Customer Experience delivered by most companies has not been up to the standards. Mostly when it comes to engaging customers on their preferred channels (you guessed it, the ones mentioned above). It’s true that customers are adopting new channels faster than companies can establish a presence on them. But that’s no excuse.
Blake Morgan, in More is More, says “Technology doesn’t just enable consumers, it enables brands to evolve their offering as well (…) leverage technology to enhance Customer Experience“. It is surprising how this may sound news to some companies, when it is so bloody obvious! If not more, because technology vendors knock on their doors every day!
The truth is there are some companies that do acquire and implement technology, to try and make their operations more efficient, enter new markets, enable new channels, or even provide a better Customer Experience. But it is also true that those efforts, more often than not, do not deliver the desired results or expected return on investment.
I’ve been a consultant in this area for more than a decade. As I see it, there are a couple of main reasons why companies keep failing in their efforts to improve with new technology implementation. On one hand, those implementations are technology-focused only. On the other hand, there is no technology strategy or governance.
I’ve wrote it once: “technology alone does not solve all the problems, nor turn around a poor performing business (…) technology is one part of the solution and should not be expected to “save the day” in isolation. Processes, culture and people are also critical, and must also be taken into account“.
And when it comes to acquiring technology, companies should have a well-defined strategy and governance, to avoid different departments buying their own technology platforms (as if they were sticking plasters for their own issues or needs), which then don’t talk to each other, and spread crucial customer data throughout multiple (and most times difficult to access) databases.
This doesn’t mean that companies need to be chained to one particular technology vendor, hoping that in its roadmap that vendor has a complete Customer Experience Platform, that serves every business area, process, department or team, and stores every bit of information into one single (and necessarily monstrous) database.
Companies could (in my opinion, should) buy technology from different vendors. I bet you the Supply Chain Management platform that best suits your business is most likely from a different vendor than the Voice-of-the-Customer platform that better meets your Customer Experience management needs.
But that should not be a problem. As long as those platforms are flexible enough to allow alignment between technology and your business processes, as well as have pre-built connectors or public APIs that enable integrations with each other. And if you choose the right specialist partner to help you implement it.