Riding the Customer Experience Rollercoaster
By Alok Kulkarni, CEO, Cyara Solution
Delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX) today often feels somewhat like riding the roller coaster at your nearest amusement park. As the coaster car struggles to make it to the top of the summit, we throw up our hands and scream as we plunge onward to the next summit. This analogy may be too dramatic, but the dizzying speed of innovation is a reality when meeting the expectations of today’s customers.
Certainly, the importance of the customer experience (CX) has never been higher, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, Gartner’s latest study on customer strategies predicted that by 2018 more than 50% of organizations would implement significant business model changes in their efforts to improve the customer experience.
As a company that focuses on customer experience testing, mapping and monitoring, Cyara has helped many of our customers transform their customer experience. Along the way, we have learned some lessons and noticed some trends that are worth sharing.
Customer Experience is the New Differentiator
Price has been marginalized to the point where it is no longer a competitive advantage. So, what is the new differentiator? A 2013 report on global contact centers by Deloitte showed that 62% of organizations view customer experience as a competitive differentiator.2
In our experience, we see this differentiation. Cyara recently completed a project with a large retail energy company in the UK where government regulations make rates consistent across the board. The retailer chose to make major investments in their contact center infrastructure to provide a better customer experience than their peers, including automated testing. As a result, in a stagnant growth environment, they have seen their customer base grow by double digits and a dramatic 15% improvement in their customer satisfaction scores.
Desire for Personalization is Increasing
There is also a definite trend toward increased personalization. Enabling customers to engage using the channel of their choice is an example of this trend. In many cases, customers are also offered an experience that seamlessly spans multiple channels. Insight from the Deloitte survey showed that 92% of the organizations that believe customer experience is a differentiator offer multiple contact channels.
Cyara customers are, however, taking the personalization trend much further. It is now common for more forward thinking organizations to combine CRM data in their contact center to identify and personalize customer engagement. In the future, we see predictive analytics becoming more common to add actionable insight into the customer experience for even deeper personalization.
Change is Constant and Is Constantly a Challenge
Going back to the rollercoaster analogy, innovation is both the fastest route to an improved customer experience that can differentiate an organization and the shortest path to derailing the organization’s reputation. The reality is that change in today’s contact centers is constant, and change is always challenging.
What is surprising is that many organizations still rely solely on manual testing to validate their changes. Typically, a significant contact center change produces hundreds of test cases, but with manual testing only 20% of the test cases is executed. This leaves an 80% chance of a defect that will be discovered by customers. Moreover, let’s face it, the customer experience is a differentiator only when it works as intended to make customer engagement faster and easier to complete.
By comparison, automated testing has been shown to consistently reduce headcount needed for testing by up to 80%, cut the length of the testing time by two-thirds and reduce the risk of customer-facing defects by up to 70%. These are significant savings that can get any organization off of the roller coaster ride, confidently able to cope with today’s rapid innovation.
Back to the Basics
In retrospect, however, customer experience applies on multiple levels. It’s not just about helping customers deliver a better customer experience.For Cyara, it starts with the customer experience we deliver that has made the company 100% referenceable from day one. CX is the differentiator that has led to Cyara’s remarkable global growth.