The Top 3 Challenges to Providing Great Customer Experiences

When it comes to selling both B2C and B2B products and services, customer experience is rapidly becoming the deciding factor for buyers. In fact, according to the research firm Walker in its study “Customers 2020,” within the next two years, it will overtake products and price as the most important differentiator of a brand.

Nevertheless, companies often run into problems when attempting to deliver a good customer experience. Here are three challenges our clients frequently encounter, as well as some insights on how to best resolve them.

Challenge #1: Outdated Technology

ethernet-cablesOutdated technology can put you at a significant disadvantage compared to your competitors. You might be trying to keep up with innovations such as chatbots or SMS support by implementing fixes or changes that your technology simply isn’t equipped to handle. Or perhaps you’re trying to integrate other systems into your existing one — and not succeeding.

You can tell your technology is outdated by the following signs:

  • The costs of adding a fix or implementing a new feature are too great.
  • You’re experiencing low customer satisfaction.
  • You’re seeing a large number of dropped calls in the contact center.
  • Your customer support agents are unable to keep up with the inbound call volume.
  • Your customer support agents aren’t getting the right information from the system.

So how can you best approach this challenge?

Before assuming your technology is outdated, it’s important to first do a technology assessment or gap assessment. What’s key here is to also look at your internal processes and people. Once you have a 360-degree overview of all of these factors, you can determine where you need to make changes.

You might find that the technology doesn’t need to be replaced, but it does need to be customized to how your operations are set up. Or you might find that you need new technology such as a new contact center infrastructure or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. And if your legacy system is local and onsite, this can be a good opportunity to move it to the cloud, which provides many more efficiencies.

When it comes to implementing new technology, it will have to be integrated with your existing systems and customized to your specific needs. In addition, your people should also be trained on how to use it. This enhances performance and helps improve the customer experience.

We encountered this with one of our clients, an Internet payment company that had experienced massive growth in a short period of time, and had an outdated telephony system that couldn’t handle its inbound call volume anymore, resulting in call backlogs and abandonment.

We implemented an open-standards IVR system that improved call routing, which eliminated transfers and abandoned calls. We also implemented a custom mobile payment app that enabled users to connect with customer service. The result was a scalable, multi-channel solution that enabled the customer to accommodate further growth while still providing an outstanding customer experience.

Challenge #2: A Lack of Customer Data

customer-dataIn order to be competitive, it’s critical to collect customer data so you can enhance your understanding of your customers, prevent churn and predict buying patterns. However, if your technology is outdated or not set up correctly to collect data in a holistic manner, you won’t be able to leverage customer data to your advantage.

Especially when your contact center systems and CRM aren’t integrated, the disconnect can be very frustrating for the customer, and for your agents. For instance, your sales team is using CRM data to try to sell to a customer who’s still upset that a support issue has not been resolved, which would be housed in the contact center system.

The solution is to ensure your contact center infrastructure and CRM are integrated and set up correctly. This enables your customer support agents to see if a customer has been contacted by sales, and if so, how many times — and vice versa. And this in turn provides you with a broader view of the customer journey.

We saw this with a client — a newly-formed company that needed to create a seamless buying process, provide the best possible customer experience and predict future purchasing patterns. After evaluating the company’s people, processes and technology, we implemented a unified Enterprise Customer Support System that integrated the contact center with the CRM solution, as well as other back-office support systems. This provided the client with a holistic view of the customer, regardless of whether the point of contact was sales, service or marketing.

Challenge #3: Understanding the Customer Journey

customer-journeyAnother obstacle that can compromise your ability to be fully competitive is an inability to understand the customer journey. Because although your energy is invested in selling products, you might not have a focused vision regarding the best way to acquire new customers and retain existing ones.

The best way to approach this is to create a map that enables you to understand the customer journey. This so-called customer journey map should be based on an evaluation of how customers interact at different points in the process, whether that’s with marketing, sales or customer support. As a result, you gain insights into the customer’s experience at every point of contact, from the initial engagement with your company all the way through to — hopefully — a long-term customer relationship.

For example, one of our clients, a leading provider of car loans and other financial products, was experiencing issues with customer retention. We crafted a customer journey map as a foundation for optimizing the web and phone user experience. Based on this data, we created a solution with multilingual self-serve options, which resulted in an improved customer experience and more retention.

Get an Outside Perspective on Your Challenges

With customer experience becoming the most important differentiator of a brand, you can’t afford to let technical, data-related or behavioral challenges stand in your way. At PTP, we’ve helped numerous companies like yours overcome similar obstacles and find the best possible solutions for their business models. If you’d like to benefit from our experience and find out how we can help your organization, contact us for more information.

Mark Pendolino

Authored By Mark Pendolino

Mark Pendolino is the Director of Marketing at PTP, overseeing the creation of customer experience content focused on helping organizations discover best practices for evolving the customer journey. Prior to PTP, Mark managed teams for companies such as Microsoft, Smartsheet, Fujitsu, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Mark holds a master’s in Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington, and a bachelor’s in Technical Communications from Metropolitan State University of Denver. In his downtime, Mark likes to thrash a bit on the drumkit and pretend he’s a rock star.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *