Technology moves fast. Today’s consumer technology is almost unrecognisable from what existed a decade ago. In the coming years, we will see a host of new technologies receive wide consumer adoption – from super-smart chatbots and voice-activated assistants to seamless video messaging apps and immersive augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) experiences.
These innovations present an opportunity for brands to engage with consumers in an entirely different way. Yet, most businesses find difficulty in keeping up with the pace of technological change and rely on the customer to lead the way.
Often, a business only deploys a new service after enough customers demand it. For example, evidence may suggest customers are active on a particular app or social media platform. Aiming to seize the opportunity, you build a business case for adoption, get internal buy-in, and then rearrange your channel management processes to accommodate. By this point, however, your competitors have already moved in and you fail to stand out.
If your approach is simply to move to where the customer is going, you’ll always be two paces behind. Instead, you must
Changing systems and processes midstream is never easy, and so an agile mind-set m
That’s not to say you rush out and spend your entire sales budget on adding artificial intelligence (AI) to everything down to the company coffee machine. It means simply creating a framework that allows for experimentation. This may involve adopting more cloud-based services that allow you to be more agile, or reorienting budgets to allow for faster approval of innovation projects.
If staff have a hunch that a new technology, channel or approach would improve customer outcomes, you can test the theory without disrupting existing policies and processes. If it doesn’t add to the customer experience, it can be easily removed. If it does, you’ll be able to deliver a service that sets you apart from competitors. Maximum upside, minimal downside.
The next decade will be a pivotal time for businesses across industries. To those that can stay ahead of the pack in delivering on customer demands lays the spoils. To the late adopters, the ‘wait and see-ers’ and those still debating the pros and cons lies certain oblivion. Evolve with your customers, anticipate their needs, and deliver beyond their expectations.
It all begins by thinking one step ahead.
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The original blog post can be found here.