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Blog Series: Rethink the Role of the Customer Experience Vendor (Part 1)
A business is like a living being. The people and culture collectively behave like an individual mind with a distinct personality. It might be bold and brash or cool and reserved. It may be international and sophisticated or local with a personal touch. It may name its conference rooms after capitol cities or Star Trek episodes.
A business also has competencies acquired through experience and maturity, and since no two business journeys are the same, neither are their capabilities. These competencies are the survival skills of any business, and when your skill set includes the art of delivering an ideal customer experience, you’ll stand out amongst your competitors.
But competencies aren’t acquired overnight. Every business is at a different phase of development in knowing how to apply customer experience (CX) technology towards a business outcome, so having the right tools is only part of being equipped for success.
In this blog series, I’m going to take you through some business stories that we at Genesys have seen over and over, each featuring a hero in a particular phase of CX maturity. I call this story, “Slaying the Status Quo.”
The hero of this story is a business who is faced with deploying its first proper CX platform in order to gain a competitive edge and win loyal customers. This hero quickly finds that the biggest enemy isn’t its competitors, it’s the Status Quo! (Insert villain music here.)
The Status Quo dictates that CX technology can only be purchased with a perpetual license arrangement, and deployments are incredibly expensive and complicated. This overwhelms our hero and most often results in no decision at all. We’ve seen this kind of decision paralysis time and again in almost 30 years helping thousands of businesses through this.
Which is why for many businesses, the story ends here. The business buys a quick fix solution that checks a box but does little towards building the competency it requires to be truly competitive. This happens so often because most vendors of CX technology only sell perpetual licenses and then abandon you after deployment, which is all you can expect from a “vendor” (i.e., someone who sells you something and then walks away counting your money).
To move beyond this terrifying step of the journey, you don’t need a CX vendor, you need a CX Provider — a partner who acts as your guide at every step of your development to point the way towards achieving your goals. In an increasingly customer success-oriented world, this is what every vendor should aspire to be whether they sell hot dogs at baseball games or omnichannel solutions to global enterprises.
Here’s how the story can continue with the right guide.
To ease the burden of getting started, a Provider assumes a portion of the commitment to your success by not demanding reimbursement in full up front. By allowing you to begin with a subscription model instead of requiring the entire investment all at once, a Provider begins the relationship on the right foot with an eye towards the goal of long-term maturity.
A Provider also takes the time to understand the individual needs of each business and then prescribes a design to meet those needs. In the same way you need to start seeing some weight loss and muscle tone in order to keep perceiving the exercise routine as valuable, a business needs to see returns as soon as possible to maintain faith in the Provider, so time-to-value is of utmost importance.
A Provider has enough experience to know that preparation is key to winning, so the plan for success includes making sure that the very first steps you take point directly at victory, which is only possible with a thoughtful strategy.
The first part of that strategy includes making changes to your daily regimen to prepare you for the task ahead. You’ll need to develop muscles you never exercised before and wield tools you’ve only seen others use. You’ll need to acquire new instincts and adopt new habits before going live in order to move to the next developmental phase.
A Provider won’t see this step as optional and provide it on the side for an additional fee. As investors in your success, Providers should prepare you to overcome the obstacles they know are coming.
When your platform goes live and you begin delivering your customer experience, the Provider’s job has just begun: you need to monitor your operation to know whether you’re on track to realize the outcome envisioned during the strategy phase; depending on the natural ebb and flow of change, you can experience fluctuations in demand, foreseen and unforeseen, that test your design and threaten to disrupt the achievement of your goal; changing customer habits can require optimizations to keep your technology aligned with your market. Your CX education is far from over at this phase.
However, this is exactly when vendors check out and leave you stranded. Everything that you’ve invested into your shiny new CX platform means nothing if you don’t know how to maintain it and adapt to change. A vendor will ask for additional money to even have a conversation about how to handle this phase of the journey, whereas a Provider understands the challenge and sees this as part of the original commitment.
Your ability to battle the Status Quo — to adapt to change and continuously improve — are direct reflections of how well you’ve been taken care of by a Provider or abandoned by a vendor.
The key to defeating the Status Quo lies in building a core competency for CX delivery, and that can only be done by nurturing a business like the individual that it is.
When you need to temporarily increase your licenses for a yearly event, a Provider allows it without requiring an increase to your base commit. When changes in the market force you to reprioritize which channels customers use to engage you, a Provider allows you to trade in the value of your unused licenses and leverage that investment towards the future. When you need to prove to your stakeholders that you’re hitting your goals, your Provider should show you how to produce the key metrics that measure success.
A Provider won’t lead you to the monster and then watch as it eats you alive. It’s an art and a science to prepare, deliver, maintain, and evolve CX technology — the burden of learning to wield it like a pro shouldn’t fall solely on you.
Check out the Genesys subscription plan that turns this CX story into a reality.
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