Let us look at a typical customer’s journey of interacting with a brand. She starts out by clicking a link on a social media campaign that leads her to the company website. She then scrolls through the product reviews and calls the call centre for more details. She finally walks into a physical store in her town. In just a few taps of a smartphone screen, she has been through the brand’s marketing, sales and service interactions. Though she is hoping for these transitions to be seamless, the fact is that no two departments see her in the same way. The reason is - the traditional silos in which companies operate do not allow departments to see the customer in the same way. She keeps re-introducing herself, her issues and order history to the company each time. This is an exhausting and time-consuming process, leading to a nature of engagement that is far from satisfactory - leave alone the delight that comes with feeling familiar.
There is irony in the fact that the customer, an organization’s most important entity, has the least regard and utility for the organization’s internal matrix - its hierarchy, divisions, and designations. It does not matter to your customer whether the problem she is facing is an issue fit for dealing with sales or service. All too frequently, the resolution of a client issue runs into heavy weather because of these departmental silos, resulting in a negative customer experience. Many organizations have come to realize that it is easier said than done to claim customer centricity. In reality, it is harder to walk this talk owing to the way an organization is structured to serve itself first.
In this scenario, astute organizations have begun to view IT differently. They are no longer looking at a system to enable the task of a department. IT is now being seen as a tool that helps departments speak the same language, and have a common, up-to-date view of the customer. It is as if you walked into different branches of the same restaurant chain; and each time they knew what you had ordered the previous time, your favourite dishes and allergies. Approaching IT as an enabler of this unified view of the customer is a step towards achieving vastly superior customer experience.
Life can change dramatically for marketing, sales, and service departments if they all had a common view of the customer - instead of the proverbial blind men ‘seeing’ an elephant differently. The blindfolds come off, and different scenarios begin to emerge from the synergy. Past order information from the sales department would help the marketing design personalized, relevant offers through real-time decisions and dynamic offer generation. Similarly, the service department could embrace the customer’s choice of the channel through an omnichannel customer engagement centre. You could improve sales velocity by providing more accurate quotes with configurations, prices, and proposals linked to current campaigns and target segments.
For instance, a leading global luxury automobile manufacturer adopts modern IT solutions that leverage cloud and mobility and gains significant results. The manufacturer transforms customer experience digitally for the entire lifecycle from customer inquiry, test drive, buying experience through service delivery. This enhances customer satisfaction, improves lead conversion and sales pipeline accuracy.
In conclusion, the journey towards better customer experience has milestones that are not easy to reach for the traditionally structured organization. But when they deploy IT - with the full potential of what it can enable by bursting the silos, a positive rub-off on customer experience is inevitable - and that’s a critical journey to embark upon!