When it comes to customer experience design, it is effective engagement that can steer the journey from effort to positive emotion. Taking a customer from 'feeling the need to interact' with an organization to ‘feeling overwhelmingly positive about the interaction’ requires the enterprise to think about the customer experience from the perspective of the customer and not from that of the enterprise. However, most organizations have traditionally been centred around internal departments, and not around the customer’s intuitive needs. It is time for customer engagement to go from being a hygiene requirement to a point of differentiation for the enterprise.
A global lighting and wellness major made this transition effectively when they brought together the sales, service and marketing functions effectively to think from the perspective of the customer rather than the department concerned. To do this, they adopted a process of selling that didn’t begin with a sales pitch but with engagement, harking back to a time when someone at the company knew you and your needs. But to do this on a scale of hundreds of millions of customers required the enterprise to re-think engagement from a customer’s perspective. For example, when a service executive understands the customer’s current problem with a product or service, and can communicate empathy in the engagement, he earns the right to recommend an upgrade which results in a sale. If a significant number of customers call the service team with requests on how to use a service, it could be an input to the marketing team to design a campaign that educates customers on better usage techniques. In both examples engagement serves the needs of the customer first, and not that of the enterprise.
Mobility and Cloud are two technologies that are enabling engagements to be more synchronous and elastic. Most enterprise applications are either already mobile or have a mobile access. Enterprises are grappling with the question of which mobile apps will drive successful customer engagement processes. It is becoming clear that a mobile-led strategy will be at the heart of implementing applications that support customer effective engagement processes. Embracing mobility and cloud offer an opportunity to move away from traditional departmental functions.
The traditional sales function, for example, has followed the tried and tested cycle of lead generation, lead capture, pipeline management, sales funnel management, lead conversion and order capture. But does this hold relevance in the age of the hyper-connected, digital customer? The more enterprises cater to the function, without catering to the engagement with the customer the further they will go from ensuring a positive customer experience. Being true to the engagement with the customer is the way the future of Customer Experience will evolve.
But what could form part of an effective toolkit that helps make this transition? The answer lies in re-looking at the way silos operate in an enterprise, breaking them down to meet the needs of a customer’s engagement with the organization and in using IT that as the glue that binds together the departments with the customer at the centre of the engagement. That is when engagement will become the differentiator for the enterprise, and not just another thing that has to be done.