Do your customers experience a personal touch and on-demand presence in their contacts with your organization? Customer experience, also known as CX – is clearly top of mind among the respondents of NNIT's Expectation Barometer, which in 2019 focuses on Digital at Scale. At any rate, customer experience is top of the list when the Expectation Barometer asks organizations about the primary goal of their digital business strategy.
– It is noteworthy that as many as 80% of respondents, mostly made up of IT professionals at management level, said that customer experience is among the primary goals of their digital business strategy. But this is far from surprising. Customers today make demands that go beyond the actual quality of the purchased product or service. This may be especially true in the B2C sector, but it is also a clear trend in B2B, says Brian Troelsen, Business Development Director at NNIT.
Good customer experiences certainly do not come by themselves. This is why it is worth noting that around 50% of respondents said that their organization only bases digital initiatives around customer journeys to a limited degree (answers scoring 1-4 out of 9). This is something that can ultimately set your company back, emphasizes Brian Troelsen:
– Naturally, creating good customer experiences can be difficult unless you have a basic knowledge of your customers' reflections, motives and challenges regarding the product or service.
He points out that while many may be aware of the customer journey, they miss out on the great potential for interaction if they do not actively convert their knowledge into digital initiatives that help take customer experience in a positive direction.
This is why Lars B. Petersen, Head of Marketing in NNIT recommends that any company with a focus on CX formulates the journey they would like their customer to go through.
– The most successful companies will be those who manage to deliver good user experience in all aspects of their contact with the customer. A customer relationship is long-term – from purchasing considerations, decisions and use of the product; to service and termination of the customer relationship – and it is important that you perform well at all stages, he explains.
It is not enough in itself to have an impressive product range if your stock availability has not been updated. This can lead to customers coming to your store in vain, even though they had checked stock availability online beforehand. It is also not enough to deliver a strong product if the customer subsequently finds that you are difficult to get in touch with when they need help, says Brian Troelsen.
For this reason, it may be beneficial to look at your entire ecosystem – both in terms of vendor networks and related products and services.
– It is worth considering how your ecosystem supports user experience. How do your digital platforms such as user creation, service visits, and stock availability contribute to the cause? Are there partnerships that could enhance the overall experience? Many products are not necessarily used completely independently of others – and in many cases there is an untapped potential in strengthening overall user experience. This can be done, for example, by joining another company's ecosystem or inviting one into your own, explains Lars B. Petersen.
Examples of ecosystems that incorporate the service offerings of other companies include the insurance company Tryg and Aarhus Municipality in Denmark, who have both connected themselves to Airbnb's ecosystem for targeted insurance and marketing purposes respectively.
After this, it is obvious to consider how you can support the customer journey – from both a digital and analog perspective. You might also consider whether your existing legacy can be exploited in the process – without weighing you down.
– We find that some companies are very quick to incorporate new systems and services – and their propensity to invest is of course very positive if new systems can lift the user experience to new heights. Just remember not to fall in love with the technology and its many possibilities alone, but also with your customer and the opportunities for strengthening customer experience.
As an example of "technology over customer", Brian Troelsen points to chatbots, where a number of companies, for example in the banking sector, are now moving away from the technology and back to strengthening personal customer service instead. Because even though robots can work in a rapid and agile manner, they do not necessarily give the customer a good experience. His advice is quite specific:
– Do not choose the technology just for the sake of technology, but prioritize the technologies that can improve customer experience and not just the bottom line.
And how do you know when your efforts for a stronger CX have succeeded?
You relate to your KPIs and adjust them regularly if they prove to be either unambitious or overambitious. So, it is paradoxical when the Expectation Barometer reveals that respondents only use KPIs for digital scaling to a limited degree. On a scale of 1-10, almost half have a rating of 1-4, while a third have 7-10. There is obviously room for improvement.
– It is our clear recommendation that all companies set concrete KPIs for user experience. Otherwise, it's hard to know whether customer experience is actually improving, advises Brian Troelsen.
He also points out that, in some cases, relevant KPIs will lead to organizations rethinking the way in which individual departments are measured. For example, conflicts could arise if the organization has agreed a business objective to strengthen customer experience, but the IT department is still primarily measured on savings.
– Many IT departments are still seen as a cost department with the purpose of streamlining the organization. But IT should instead be considered as an integral part of customer experience. All organizations that work strategically with CX should establish a clear link between overall business goals and the IT department's concrete goals, he explains.
This year's Expectation Barometer delves into the opportunities awaiting Danish and international companies, and their readiness to scale their digital initiatives. What differences are there? And where? And what does it require – strategically, technologically and organizationally – to scale such digital initiatives? We call this Digital at Scale.
Try out the Expectation Barometer and find out what stage your company is at in digital scaling – and get your own personalized Benchmark Map. You also gain access to a series of articles on a number of leading CIOs and their experiences and challenges in digital scaling.
Read more about the Expectation Barometer here