CX Transformation Primer: 7 Tips for Continued Success

Customer experience transformation is happening whether organizations are ready for it or not. The longer a business waits, the wider the gap will become between them and their competitors who are further along on the journey. Along their quest, savvy customer experience (CX) leaders are gathering all the insights they can from others who have paved the way in their journeys.

That thirst for knowledge was evident at the recent Frost & Sullivan Customer Contact East MindXchange event. Customer experience professionals from across industries gathered to share best practices and learnings — and support each other as they determine the right path forward.

Here are 7 key points on how to get started on your CX transformation journey and ensure that it moves forward without stalling.

  1. Rally around CX

Align all lines of business around customer advocacy as essential to long-term business success. Share relatable customer feedback and related insight to gain buy-in from all stakeholders — from the C-suite to the frontline. And use that insight to not only drive improvements in end-to-end customer journeys but also to increase the effectiveness of individual customer interactions.

Additionally, work with partners that align with your brand values and priorities. The right partner can help educate, motivate and focus your internal customer support team.

  1. Balance personalized experiences and automation

Blend a personal touch with a CX digital transformation and innovation to build stronger customer relationships. In doing so, balance the human and automated elements of the customer experience.

One manufacturer prides itself on its customers reaching a live person for every customer engagement; they don’t even have an IVR. But the company is also looking for ways to automate where necessary to speed resolution times, like providing a chatbot for after-hours interactions and using artificial intelligence (AI)-powered automation to support agents with email interactions.

  1. Work holistically

Build cross-functional teams that are aligned around customer-centric goals and will evangelize them internally. A healthcare provider assembled a team of regional leaders to agree on which digital channels and interaction types to use and when to use them.

This creates a more consistent experience for agents and customers. The shift also enables the provider to develop more uniform success measures for continuous improvement.

  1. Take risks using pilot projects to meet customer expectations

Agility is table stakes for keeping pace with ever-changing customer expectations and technology innovation. Pilot projects that allow organizations to fail fast and small also enable them to quickly learn and optimize. It also allows organizations to test everything to ensure there’s no unintended downstream impact.

One retailer looking to use AI to support both the customer and employee experience implemented AI-powered voicebots as its first test case. The trial run was so successful it enabled them to hire 35% fewer employees for their annual spike in holiday-related volume — while also seeing an increase in Net Promoter Score.

The company also saw an increase in average handle time because agents handle more complex issues, but view the time spent as relationship-building opportunities. Overall, AI has saved the retailer millions in operating costs.

That organization is bullish — looking for more ways to add AI into its interactions. So, it plans to test out other AI use cases. For example, it plans to implement AI-powered agent-assist tools and digital customer assistants for chat, email and SMS.

  1. Be where your customers are

Consumers and business-to-business customers alike expect myriad channels options for service interactions. In fact, consumers globally say their No. 1 preferred form of personalization is “receiving the services I need in my channel of choice when I need it.”

One healthcare company has implemented a chat-enabled mobile app and provides chatbots and SMS primarily for after-hours interactions. It also offers customers these self-service options when contact center volume is high. The interactions can be more ad hoc and might take longer, but the customer experience is better.

  1. Take care of the people who care for your customers

Focusing on the employee experience today is as important as prioritizing the customer experience. It’s essential to support agents and provide them with AI-powered tools to help them before, during and after service interactions. You also should provide them with learning and development opportunities.

CX transformation efforts can stall if customer service agents aren’t brought along on the journey.

Several CX professionals attending the event shared their strategies for ensuring agents are informed and engaged, including everything from onboarding to coaching to retention. A few said they assign new hires an onboarding buddy to support them while they learn key processes and technologies.

Others use gamification through leaderboards — but advised using them cautiously to avoid any unintended consequences. For example, agents might hang up on customers just to improve their handle time.

One organization is using sentiment analysis to track agent sentiment, not just customer sentiment. And several are either implementing or testing various agent-assist tools.

But not all companies agreed on how they train employees on various channels. Some train their agents to provide service across channels, while others prefer agents to deliver service in the channels best suited to their skill set — voice versus chat, email and SMS, in most cases.

  1. Stay true to your course

Once an organization determines the goals of its CX transformation initiatives, it should stay focused on what’s needed to achieve its desired outcomes. Determine the sequence of changes needed to reach each goal and follow that path. And don’t get sidetracked by shiny objects and nice-to-haves.

Be agile enough to test new processes and technologies that could help keep transformation initiatives moving forward.

Organizations should also learn from past experiences and bring best practices forward. But, if necessary, “burn the bridges” — so there’s no turning back. For instance, instead of running an on-premises and a cloud version of a solution simultaneously to ease the transition, it might actually be best to remove the on-premises version to encourage adoption of the new solution. This will ensure continued forward momentum.

It’s About the Transformation Journey, Not the Destination

The most common piece of advice shared at the Frost MindXchange was this: A CX transformation should be ongoing. There will always be new and better ways to support customers and agents as technologies evolve and as processes shift, enabled by those new tools.

That’s especially evident today with the all the focus generative AI has brought not only to the possibilities of that technology, but also to the capabilities of conversational and predictive AI.

CX professionals also should expect that whenever they meet their objectives along their CX transformation journey, they’ll need to set new goals — always with one eye to the horizon to see what’s possible.

As they consider what’s achievable today, as well as potential future opportunities, CX leaders can look to peers as one valuable resource, like the executives attending Frost did. They can also look to their technology and implementation partners for insight because they bring the experience of all their prior transformations.

Preparing for the Future of CX

CX leaders understand they need to prepare for the unexpected. And to do this, they need the right technologies in place to address customer pain points, enhance the overall customer experience and improve employee engagement. With an open cloud platform, you can deliver the connected personalized experiences your customers expect.

Read the “2024 Contact center buyer’s guide” to get insights into how to create the most value for customers, employees and your business. You’ll also get guidance on some key questions to ask vendors about their solutions to help you make your best buying decision.