Customer experience is a broad discipline that touches just about every aspect of your business. Creating and maintaining a CX strategy can be a lot of work. And in a market where a strong customer experience is crucial, any help you can get is hugely valuable. Which leaves a lot of businesses wondering: what is CX technology, and how can it help you level up your customer experience?
When you invest in customer experience strategy, the returns are significant—as we’ve firmly established right here on this blog. A great experience is a priority for today’s consumers. They’re willing to pay more for it, and when they find it, they tend to stick with it.
Digital transformation continues to reshape the way businesses operate, and customer experience isn’t immune to its influence. CX strategies and tools that rely on the digital landscape are helping companies provide their customers with a whole new kind of experience.
The right technology can empower your customers, deepen your relationship with them, build loyalty, reduce friction, and provide you with the insights that will fuel future growth. Here’s how.
Technology is a tool that supports great CX—not a replacement for it.
CX technology is a fantastic tool for enhancing, and even reinventing, your CX strategy. It can increase efficiency and visibility, making it easier for you to manage a unified end-to-end customer experience. It can also make new channels of communication available to you and your customers, transforming both sides of the experience.
But even the best CX technology can’t replace the human touch. At the end of the day, people still need to feel heard. Customers want to know that brands care about their humanity, and that’s something you just can’t automate.
CX technology is at its best when combined with company values that focus on the customer. Capable, empowered employees can use those tools to exceed customer expectations—which, research shows, isn’t a very high bar.
Only 38% of US consumers feel like the employees they interact with understand their needs. And nearly 60% of US consumers think that companies have “lost touch with the human element” of customer service. That human element is going to become even more important as digital transformation continues: 82% of US consumers say that improving technology makes them want to talk to a human even more.
People want to talk to other people, and they want to know that those people have their interests at heart. Fortunately, CX technology makes it easier for companies to meet their customers where they’re at.
How can CX technology help?
Technology solutions that support customer experience strategy are focused on enabling some of the most important components of CX. These include aspects like communication, enhancing customer options with multiple channels and high availability.
Tech also streamlines customer touchpoints with automation and data collection. That collected data supports personalized experiences and customer insights that help you target your audience more effectively.
These digital solutions are also more capable of tracking activity logs and KPIs, helping you constantly fine-tune your company’s performance. Below are some areas where technology can have the greatest impact on CX, and some of the tech solutions that are doing the job.
Software tools can make customer research much simpler. Sales intelligence platforms collect customer data and help sales teams stay up to date, so they can make informed choices during the sales process.
On a broader level, customer relationship management software keeps track of not just sales and prospect information, but the history and preferences of current customers as well. It offers a centralized location for all your customer relationship details, and a way to gain quick insight into your clients’ needs and wants, so you can just focus on the delivery.
A customer data warehouse, on the other hand, helps you unify all your different streams of customer information. It stores massive quantities of data and lets you retrieve and recombine it in different ways. Similar to a CDW is a customer data platform or CDP, which offers additional features for slicing, dicing, and analyzing the data your business has collected.
There’s some overlap in the uses of these different applications. Some are more feature-rich and consolidate a lot of different functions, while others are more focused on a single purpose. You have options, and can mix and match based on what’s appropriate for your unique business.
An exceptional customer experience is hugely dependent on your ability to communicate, clearly and at the right moment, with your customers. Lots of customer experience technology focuses on enabling communication: smoothing and streamlining the process, and in some cases, automating it to help you reach customers exactly when they need it.
On that point, marketing automation lets you craft messages that will speak to your audience, and send them on a large scale with a minimum of effort. These platforms can track whether the emails you send are opened, viewed, or clicked on, so that you know what kind of impact you’re having.
Email automation also comes into play in customer service and transparency. Immediacy is a big concern for customers—US consumers prioritize it, and can start to feel frustrated quickly when they don’t sense that their questions and concerns are being taken seriously.
Automatic systems can update your customers in multiple ways—on the status of orders, for example. Or, automation can reassure them that their service request has been received, and set expectations for when they’ll get a response—freeing up your employees to focus on providing top-notch service.
In a digital world, phone communication might seem old-fashioned, but many customers prefer it to email or live chat because of the human aspect and the immediacy. And accordingly, phone systems have also undergone their own CX technology transformations.
Modern voice over IP, or VOIP, systems are computer-based, and enable sophisticated call center routing and self-service functions. These help your customers get where they need to go swiftly, prioritizing them according to their needs, and sending their calls to appropriately-skilled agents.
Speaking of immediacy—what’s more immediate than being able to solve your own problem, on your own schedule? CX technology can empower customers to find their own answers with end-user knowledge bases and self-service workflows. That way, you can filter out a lot of frequently asked questions before they even make it to your agents.
Account updates, straightforward orders and product returns are all great candidates for self-service. It offers customers a sense of control, and builds the trust that you’re invested in meeting their needs.
Self-service technology can also offer advantages to your own employees. Consolidating institutional knowledge in an internal knowledge base helps your service teams quickly locate best practices, previous solutions, and answers to customer questions. That way, they can offer consistent, high-quality service at the speed your customers want.
Creating a knowledge base is just the first step in taking advantage of the collected expertise of your customers and employees. Broader knowledge management technology enables you not just to collect and access the information, but draw insights from it and share it effectively.
Part of providing a great customer experience is ensuring that customers don’t have to explain, over and over again, who they are and what they need. Tracking that information lets a customer know their issues matter to your company.
Technology eases the process of centralizing that information and sharing it in real time. Strong collaboration platforms are crucial to providing that smooth experience for your customers. When your employees can communicate quickly and effectively, not just within but across teams, you can earn your customers’ confidence and avoid frustration.
“Feeling heard” is a theme in CX strategy, and with good reason. When customers know that you place importance on what they think, they’re more invested in your brand and more likely to stick with you. Having a plan for soliciting customer feedback is a key component of creating that relationship.
CX technology offers ways to automate that feedback, helping you send surveys after key touchpoints in the customer journey. With that information digitized and centralized, you can also leverage tech to extract insights from your customers’ responses. When you can pinpoint areas of improvement—or of positivity!—in your customer journey, you’ll be better situated to build on both.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. We’ve spent a lot of time talking about customer experience metrics, because understanding them provides the key to monitoring and improving your CX performance and strategy.
If there’s one thing technology excels at, it’s logging information. All the CX technologies we’ve discussed so far have the advantage of being able to track a variety of activities: touchpoints, interactions, communications, and time between events as well.
These might seem like fine-grained details. But they all contribute to a deeper understanding of your customer experience efforts. And as you track your behaviors and your CX outcomes, you can begin to understand the connections between the two, and identify your company’s key customer experience drivers.
When you’ve pinpointed your drivers, you have the levers you need to adjust your strategy and change course as needed. And your metrics will continue to offer performance monitoring, so that you can reassess on a regular basis.
CX technology can take your customer experience to the next level.
Knowing how crucial an outstanding customer experience is, companies are looking for every advantage. Software developers know this, and are constantly improving their offerings to support CX objectives. The right tools can enable you to take your CX strategy further than you ever imagined.
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