Brexit, the pandemic, war in Europe, supply chain issues – and now, the cost-of-living crisis. It’s hard to recall a more challenging few years in living memory. And not only in the UK – another factor that has been so distinct about the recent hardships is that they have been on a global scale.
The impacts have been severe, diverse and will last long into the future. The relentlessness has felt like it has just been one thing after another, with no chance for us to catch our breath.
As the cost-of-living crisis has progressed, we’ve seen the changing dimensions of vulnerability, as well as the effects of the crisis and what actions businesses are taking. Now, as we move deeper into 2023, the atmosphere among proactive businesses is that there is a true opportunity for growth. Some of the external factors are beginning to have a less severe impact, and an economy that had long been unpredictable is starting to settle down a little.
Now is the time to look ahead. No longer should we be simply trying to survive; we need to be focusing on how we can thrive and create a sustainable future. The mood among UK business leaders is more confident about the nation’s economic future than in any time in recent memory – arguably going back as far as before the pandemic.
Risks must be taken, but still balanced risks. No retreating into our shells, but no putting our heads on the chopping block either. The balance comes from putting innovation and a dedication to continuous improvement front and centre. And all of this should feed into organisations’ CX strategy.
Understanding unmet customer needs
So, what are the paths that can now lead us to improved quality, reliability and business efficiency? How can organisations deliver better customer experiences that create an agile and sustainable business?
There are three core pillars at the centre of providing excellent CX in order to create positive business futures:
1. Actioning data and insight
With increasingly complex customer needs, more accurately predicting, understanding and interpreting customers’ needs can help to deliver more relevant and personalised customer journeys and produce a seamless, single view of the customer that creates greater satisfaction and loyalty.
The quality of customer data can cause difficulties when it comes to CX. Similarly, an overload of data can be overwhelming for any organisation to deal with. For one, it’s difficult for internal teams to work efficiently if they don’t know where the data they need to work with is located, and if they are unsure that the data at hand is accurate and clean. From a cost-efficiency perspective, organisations are likely to overspend on their data storage by hanging on to unnecessary data or by storing all types of data in one place regardless of its sensitivity level.
And finally, without a complete view of your organisation’s data or determined action steps for ‘dirty’ or sensitive data, an organisation could be at legal compliance risk. Moreover, customers are becoming very mindful over the use of their personal data and are demanding organisations use that in a responsible way. Without regulation and policy in place, customer information can go anywhere and be used in any way. It is the responsibility of the organisations collecting the data to create procedures that ensure they treat their customers fairly and ethically.
2. Delivering effortless interactions
As customers become more accustomed to faster, simpler and more connected experiences that give them back more time, technology solutions can create cohesive customer experiences across multiple channels – as well as future services that are on the horizon which will answer to the needs of the next generation.
Customer service should contribute to creating a fairer society, delivering across a broad range of customer groups, making sure to reach everyone and to give each one of us a homogenous service that is also individualised. This goes especially for the most vulnerable among us. And customer service should always be the primary business driver, combined with a direct link to achieving CX ROI.
3. Supporting business with an agile and capable workforce
New ways of working and evolving business models are increasingly required to meet the changing needs of customers, while businesses struggle with increasing levels of staff attrition. So what skills, training and support are needed today and tomorrow to provide adaptable and empathetic experiences, augmented by technology innovation?
We should be thinking broadly about the customer service profession. Yes, contact centres are crucial, but we need to broaden our skills and capabilities across the whole workforce, to better prepare organisations for the future world.
We will need optimism and determination when facing the inevitable further challenges to come. Lessons have been learned, resolve has been strengthened, and the time has come to move forward into a more prosperous future. No more short-term fixes; our attitude must now be firmly in the long-term.
The golden thread for delivering best-in-class CX is for us to really to elevate the power of the value of service. So, when we talk about what’s still to come, it’s with a real opportunity to drive a very exciting future and find the silver lining in the crisis.
Find out more – Creating better outcomes for vulnerable customers | Capita