New opportunities for a superior customer experience

New opportunities for a superior customer experience

How do we go about delivering a superior customer experience? There’s a plethora of tools, including data management, CRM and ERP systems, automation technologies as well as BI solutions. And it will largely fall to businesses to implement these solutions. It’s also an increasingly complex field, and more than one solution may be required to orchestrate a single view of the customer.

This is what Ian Wilson, Territory Lead at Altron Karabina, had to share when asked the following questions.

  • What shifts and trends are you seeing in the local CRM market?

Customers want to be empowered and they are driving towards self-service. Most people want to go onto a website and start getting information, whether it is support, information around the business, its sales or products, because they want to be empowered by the time they connect with you (the company) they’ve done a lot of research.

Companies then have an opportunity to make this seamless through an app, portal, website or their CRM systems. That is where we are seeing a trend where companies are using different technologies to connect with their customers and deliver a superior customer experience over their competitors. There is technology available to help companies, and if you look at the Microsoft stack, Microsoft can do everything on one platform. Which reduces risk in terms of changing it in multiple systems – you can change once and deploy across.

In the local CRM market, there is a focus on moving systems of engagement and systems of record and moulding the two. Traditionally, companies used to have ERP systems. What they now want is a system that is able to pull statements, pull invoices and pull customer insights all from one system. Which means all a company’s line of business applications need to be speaking into its CRM systems.

Artificial intelligence (AI) needs to be infused into the entire process to guide customers and employees. Equally important AI needs to be surfacing insights into the data in real time to aid insights to customer behaviour. Data by itself is irrelevant, its more about how it can highlight action like “Next Best Action” to deliver a superior customer experience, can you ask questions about your data and what are you seeing. Proactively, your data needs to let you know about trends in your business.

Another thing about CRM systems is, as the workforce expands and you have churn in sales workforces, more and more you need internally guided processes to teach your sellers what is your next best action and what are the cross sell and up sell opportunities. Experienced salespeople know how to do it naturally. Inexperienced people need the guidance, a guiding tool and empowerment to self-learn. By embedding videos that are concise and are easy to consume into your organisational hub, you give inexperienced sellers an opportunity to empower themselves and learn.

There is also an increased use of bots. We are seeing more and more portals, customer service areas and sales enquiries all going through a bot and the bot needs to do intelligent scoring to filter out what is a genuine application and what is interest or fact finding.

The experience on CRM systems need to be more user-friendly for staff, especially for a repetitive process that needs to take place. You should be able to put any necessary information into an app form and be able to upload the information into CRM. Most systems end up not getting used because they are not user friendly.

  • What are your customers struggling with?

Having numerous systems of engagement raises the question of how do companies integrate the systems? How does it not cost the company a fortune? And how can companies keep that technology so when they upgrade one of their systems, it doesn’t impact the company financially and there is a need to upgrade your entire platform. A lot of customers also do not want to put all their eggs in one basket, they do not want to sit in one complete environment. They have different applications and different needs that need to speak to each other, and that complexity adds a lot of risk and customers want to de-risk that. That’s what they are battling with. Customers want to become agnostic of the technology and that any company can support the technology.

We have seen two really big shifts; either companies want to take extreme ownership, or they want a technology partner to be responsible for everything end-to-end and that is where cloud services are playing a huge role.

Companies that have multiple partners introduce risk because there could be finger pointing. Being able to find a partner that can do your end-to-end is ideal. Your mission critical systems and your integration layers should be run by one partner, this allows companies to have consistency and avoid having multiple partners pointing fingers at each other.

  • What role is automation playing?

The use of bots and self-service apps has increased as consumers do not favour calling a contact centre. If you want to get any important documentation from your internet service provider or your medical aid or any service provider you use, you want to be able to log into your mobile device or your laptop quickly and get that information sent to you. Consumers expect to see their important information and documentation (invoices, balances on accounts, statements) at any time.

Automation is also playing a big role where consumers can now send an email and the automated system within the organisation can identify what is required by the consumer, collect the information and present it back to them.

  • What are you seeing with cloud adoption?

Cloud is starting to become mainstream and there has been a lot of people who have been resistant to Cloud in previous years because of the inability to predict the costs. CIOs were very resistant because of the horror stories of companies spending significantly more by moving to Cloud. Because of the consumption rate and the amount of data, the spend was not understood. We now have tools that can accurately predict what your spend will be and in many cases, we can reduce the costs because we can right size the environment. Instead of doing a straight lift and shift from what you had, it is better to have a look at the utilisation of that machine, and ask, was it overspeced from the beginning and can you work with a lower spec machine which costs you less to run and have the elastic scalability that Cloud offers you.

  • Where are the technology opportunities?

Managed service for cloud environments. We are seeing a growing interest in companies moving into the Cloud, which takes away the risk of their infrastructure. Especially from how we’ve seen Microsoft being the first hyperscale datacentre to move to the African continent. This has enabled easy connectivity, and data residency has become a lot easier. We will see other hyper Cloud providers follow suit when they open datacentres here, it will be a great thing for the economy as it will allow more companies to really start adopting Cloud. We have seen a lot of our customers really embrace that they do not have to put up with latency and connecting to European datacentres. Cloud has become a lot more real and tangible for our customers. The overriding message that we are getting from our customers is that they want it simple, they want it to look like an app and give insight into their data.

If you are interested in offering a superior customer experience, get in touch with us. Our experts are ready to help your business.

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