You’ve probably noticed that customer experience has become kind of a big deal.
What used to be a marketing concern has rocketed to the top of every CEO’s agenda and become the number one differentiator for brands.
This is all pretty unsurprising.
Digital technology has brought businesses and customers much closer together.
And those who’ve capitalised on this have become the most successful (and wealthy) organisations the world has ever seen.
But here’s where it gets strange.
When’s the last time you enjoyed a satisfying or joined-up customer experience?
It’s a lot more likely you’ve had a frustrating experience.
A bad call.
An annoying conversation.
An irrelevant message.
So what's the problem?
The CX Disconnect
Improving the customer experience seems simple — you invest in the departments that face your customers — marketing, sales and service.
But your customer experience doesn’t just depend on the people dealing with customers everyday.
It depends heavily on processes and technology.
And that means it depends heavily on the people behind the scenes — IT people.
In most organisations there’s a huge gap between these two parties.
The customer-facing people are on a totally different page from IT people.
So when someone in the contact centre flags a broken process that only technology can fix, their request gets ignored.
That’s not because IT doesn’t care, it’s because they have a thousand and one other things to do.
They can’t drop everything to solve one small problem.
But when it comes to customer experience, small problems add up.
If a customer can’t apply for a mortgage because your app is broken, that’s annoying.
When they can’t get through to customer services because your lines are busy, that’s infuriating.
And when they don’t receive a response via email, that’s…
well that may be the end of the relationship.
Customers aren’t the only victim of the CX Disconnect. Frustration ripples through your entire business as well…
Your line of business leaders in customer-facing departments are frustrated as they can’t effect change.
Their employees are hobbled by bad processes. Plus they have to deal with frustrated customers.
Your IT teams have to tackle ungoverned, insecure, non-compliant shadow IT solutions developed by LoB. And at the same time, they’re being bombarded by a constant stream of tickets and requests from demanding business users.
This is a big, broad, ugly problem. And you’d imagine a big (expensive) solution would be required to solve it.
But this isn’t necessarily the best option.
The trouble with digital transformation
The obvious answer here is some sort of digital transformation program.
You overhaul the people, processes and technology that support your customer experience so that everyone can work together more effectively.
But there are a load of issues with digital transformation. It’s…
— you’ll almost certainly have to hire a consultancy, agency or some other third party to help you, and these aren’t cheap.
— big change programs always create a certain amount of unwanted disruption in the form of lost talent or needless change.
— these programs always consume huge amounts of time — you have to plan the transform, hire new people and source new tech. Plus, most challenging of all, you have to convince people to get behind the change.
That last point is perhaps the most important.
Most organisations can’t afford to wait around for two years while everything is reshuffled, replaced or reimagined.
Your customer experience is too important. You need results now.
A better way
The good news is that there is another, better way.
Bring your customer-facing and IT people together. And give them the tools they need to solve customer experience problems as one team.
Imagine the scenario:
Business users do most of the heavy lifting themselves – creating applications that solve the underlying issues that damage the customer experience.
IT is consulted to ensure new processes meet compliance, security and quality standards.
Developers only get involved in rare instances where sophisticated solutions are required.
If this all sounds like pie in the sky, that’s because none of it was possible until recently.
If you haven’t heard of low-code, it’s essentially application development on steroids.
It lets non-developers build, test and launch applications without writing code. And they can do it all in a safe and compliant environment that’s governed by IT.
Make no mistake, this is huge.
Now, for the first time, your business users can share the development burden without compromising on security or compliance.
We call this Collaborative CX.
And it lets you do some pretty amazing things.
Why Collaborative CX?
The big reason why digital transformation programs are so slow is because they’re top-down initiatives.
You make big, sweeping changes at the top of the pyramid and everything falls into places below.
Except it rarely happens that way.
Big change disrupts everything and it’s very rare that everyone is happy to come along for the ride.
This is the major advantage Collaborative CX has over digital transformation.
It lets you make big changes fast.
And that’s because it’s a more organic and pragmatic approach.
The people who understand the problems — IT and customer–facing teams — lead the charge.
And because citizen developers — regular business users — can take on much of the development burden, dozens of applications can be built in weeks, not months.
Now you can make huge, business-defining changes rapidly.
And a lot of these changes happen naturally.
IT bottlenecks evaporate overnight. Processes improve instantly.
Clunky and disjointed customer journeys suddenly become smooth and seamless.
All of this adds up to a better, joined-up customer experience.
And these benefits ripple out across your organisation and beyond…
Customer-facing teams are less frustrated and more effective
IT is liberated to focus on its priorities (and doesn’t lose control or visibility)
And, the biggest benefit of all, your customers are happier.
Replacing the airplane’s wings (while flying)
There’s no doubt that your customer experience is important.
But few businesses can overhaul their business just to improve their customer experience because:
It’s too time-consuming.
That’s what’s so exciting about Collaborative CX. It gives you another option.
You can improve your customer experience
And you don’t have to rip and replace legacy systems or hire an army of developers.
For the first time in history it’s possible to improve the customer experience quickly while actually saving money.
This is a huge, exciting development. And it’s arrived just in time.