Navigating a turbulent economy is tricky. Citizens and organisations are struggling amid high costs, inflationary pressures and supply-chain issues. Within the UK, concerns over the economy are being felt at all levels, with struggles to uphold basic standards of living predicted to continue through 2023.
So how do organisations steer their way through a turbulent economy and survive these uncertain times — and help customers withstand ongoing volatility? Customer experience (CX) needs to be prioritised, with those that do focus on CX more likely to thrive. Efficiency is essential if organisations are to address the increase in customer enquiries that tends to result during economic challenges, whilst also staying within tightening budgets.
The traditional tools that companies use are not effective for responding to these new challenges. Data is often inaccessible, communication channels are disconnected, processes are inconsistent, and too much manual intervention is required. A better approach is needed to serve customers, improve employee experience, and enhance efficiency into the future.
Digitalisation of CX can expose process gaps and disconnected processes, resulting from poorly-designed and disconnected customer relationship management (CRM) applications, which lead to disjointed customer experiences.
With the right platform capabilities, organisations can overcome these issues and create the capacity to give customers the attention they deserve. All without further stretching margins, causing unnecessary stress to workers, or upending current digital infrastructures.
The pandemic blueprint
The innovation and digital transformations seen during the pandemic showcased the potential of organisations during trying times. Whilst we all hoped the economy would get a reprieve following the pandemic, past experience shows us that we can prevail through these times and even come out stronger.
Dreams, the UK-based bed retailer, prioritises CX. So, when the pandemic hit and customer interactions tripled as a result, they adopted a technology platform for customer engagement and automation. This enabled Dreams to connect its systems, giving each adviser a complete view of related information for each enquiry. Advisers were, subsequently, able to place customers in workflows, process their enquiries faster, and seamlessly make needed changes. The platform’s support prevented advisers from being overwhelmed by the inundation of service requests.
Nationwide, a U.K. building society, used a low-code platform to build a social media manager. The Social Manager monitored conversations across social channels, deployed sentiment analysis to prioritise replies, and provided audit trails of conversations so member enquiries could be referred to and governance regulations adhered to.
When Covid-19 hit, the Social Manager had to deal with a 300% surge in activity. The platform seamlessly handled the conversations, empowering Nationwide to continue to offer quick, uninterrupted service to members.
Done right, organisations and businesses can leverage platforms to unleash innovation and productivity — whilst also building the resilience and efficiency needed to withstand difficult economic times.
How a platform approach helps your business and customers weather the economic storm
In today’s landscape, customer expectations are on the rise amid growing challenges, with employees leaving in record numbers, and organisations struggling to find the right digital solutions to fill their skills and talent gaps. Leaders must expand beyond siloed and disconnected infrastructures to build a strategic technology portfolio that delivers on the CX vision.
For many organisations this should include omnichannel capabilities and an AI-powered contact centre as a service. This enables companies to better personalise their customer experience and automate elements of customer service, providing an overall improved experience — which then helps with retaining customers and attracting new ones.
Internally, an omnichannel engagement platform provides improved contact centre operational efficiency and worker productivity, creating time to focus on the important human touch aspect of customer service and providing fast and accurate problem-resolution for customers.
The customer benefits include:
- Support across channels without breaking their journey
- Self-service of routine interactions for efficiency and improved focus on complex matters
- Prioritisation and organisation of customer queries using AI support
Customer engagement does not live in isolation from other activities delivered by organisations – it is driven by the outputs of processes. Subsequently, by utilising platforms to deliver automation that improves workflows and activities, the customer experience is optimised.
Low-code application platforms (LCAP) allow for rapid and cost-effective automation and digitalisation, that is customisable to organisations’ unique needs. These are ideal for orchestrating workflows that have customer and employee front ends, such as web forms and mobile apps. Information silos are connected, creating visibility for employees so they have the right information when they need it.
By combining this with robotic process automation (RPA) and AI, more operational costs and employee time are saved. This means they can focus on complex or complicated tasks and customer cases.
From turbulent uncertainty to long-term agility and stability
Although these are economically uncertain times, engagement and automation platforms offer a way to navigate current obstacles while also presenting long-term opportunities. By embracing agile methodologies, businesses can improve their ability to innovate, adapt and respond to market demands.
Digitisation has become a permanent fixture in our world, with customers and employees alike demanding it. Organisations are realising they need to embrace digitisation to remain competitive. The gap between those that do and do not undergo digital transformation is increasing, and the latter group risks its long-term viability.
A comprehensive technology platform that offers AI-powered customer engagement and automation can help fill resource gaps, which CIOs say is one of their most pressing challenges. It can also build long-term resilience and adaptability, insulate against the worst impacts of economic turbulence, and effectively address shifts in customer demands.
Navigating a turbulent economy with technology requires organisations to be flexible, innovative and proactive when it comes to adopting new technologies, managing change and mitigating risks. By leveraging technology, businesses can improve their operational efficiency, customer experience and financial stability, which helps them weather the storm and emerge stronger in the long run.
German-born, Simpsons-obsessed and with a not-so-secret penchant for Welsh techno, Richard is Netcall’s long-serving CIO – he’s been with us for an impressive 19 years, meaning he’s somewhere between ‘living legend’ and ‘part of the furniture’ around here.