Using technology to improve your customer experience
By Jack Miller
Organisations are transforming their customer experience by making use of new technology to gain deeper insights from their data and better engage with customers. Getting customer experience right is increasingly important for competitiveness - in a 2016 Forrester survey 72% of business leaders named customer experience as a top priority for their company and 63% have prioritised investing in new technology aiming to improve customer experience.
Technologies set to make waves in customer experience include artificial intelligence, chatbots and the internet of things (IoT). Each offer businesses new ways to understand the voice of the customer and unlock the powerful insights within - arguably the most critical component of a CX strategy - or to connect with their clients throughout their journeys and across touchpoints to boost customer sentiment. Technology also plays a role in supporting back-end operations, with faster and more reliable solutions enabling businesses to deliver better everyday experiences, for example, faster transactions at banks and reduced downtime on e-commerce stores.
Using technology to understand the customer
Decision-makers are now able to turn to data to make more informed decisions through artificial intelligence. The vast volumes of data that many companies hold has previously been overwhelming and underutilised - in a recent survey, 74% of respondents said that this had been a barrier to understanding customer opinion. AI enables the aggregation and analysis of vast amounts of unstructured text data, such as customer reviews, survey responses and social media interactions, so that the weakest aspects of customer experience can be targeted and monitored. Combining robust analysis of text data with metrics such as Net Promoter Score allows organisations not only to monitor performance but also to make the right decisions by understanding the ultimate drivers of customer sentiment.
Taking control of your data
Using automated, artificial-intelligence based technology to aggregate and analyse feedback gives more time to evaluate findings and take real action to improve or perfect the customer experience in an organisation. Not only this, but it means that more metrics can be used to do so, reducing reliance on a small number of KPIs. As needs change, you can quickly adapt your method of measuring performance or access breakdowns of figures by demographic or segment. Many organisations are moving to software that offers them a single view of the customer across channels and touchpoints to see everything they need to know about their customer experience performance in one place and track trends over time, that is easily accessed throughout entire teams within an organisation.
Improving communication with customers
Companies are increasingly turning to fast developing technologies such as chatbots - computer programs trained to conduct a conversation and provide answers to customer needs - to automate their customer support. Chatbots can make support more accessible, and when used effectively, relieve customer service teams from simple enquiries that typically clog up support phone lines and live chat. Better computer and data storage systems also offer support staff more information about a customer’s complete journey and history of interactions. This allows customers to be treated more like individuals and develop a relationship with a business, no matter how large the customer base.
Employing this technology correctly in an organisation boosts customer sentiment in an organisation - findings from our recent research analysing the customer feedback of many high street brands in the UK discovered those offering live chat and chatbot technology consistently performed better in customer sentiment analysis.
Collecting data using the Internet of Things
Customer experience managers, product teams and marketers alike will benefit from more information from the Internet of Things (IoT), which will deliver smarter, connected devices that can provide real-time feedback on customer preferences, diagnostics and usage data to improve customer experience. As devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home speaker become commonplace, companies could ask customers for verbal feedback on their experiences - to be returned to the developers. The IoT may also bring more contextualisation to data, as new touchpoints like smartphones, sensors and other connected devices in households share greater information, with information such as location (as a result of GPS) having been just the start.
This ultimately reinforces the importance for organisations to understand what this increased amount of data means for their business, and categorising and analysing this information is another application of technology like artificial intelligence in customer experience.