By Nicolette de Wit, CEO of Intuate Group 

JOHANNESBURG – May, 06 2016 – Innovation in customer experience (CX) is – and should be – a top priority for business and technology leaders in 2016.  No matter the nature of your business, improving the brand experience for your customers through innovative technology is crucial to escalate sales, reduce employee and customer agitation, as well as to increase customer loyalty.  Companies can now use advanced information technology, data gathering and analytics to study and further understand their customers, enabling execution of a customer centric approach.

Organisations need to be customer centric to thrive in a very competitive economic environment.  Now, more than ever before it is imperative for organisations to speak to their clients in a language that they understand, and communicate using the channels that they prefer.  A customer expects service via their channel of preference, and if that channel changes during the journey, the service should remain flawless.  The South African market is quickly realising the absolute power that the customer holds and if organisations do not transition and cater for these requirements, it may lead to their demise.  Information holds the power, and it will no longer suffice to send a personalised message to a customer, but rather a message that takes into account the customer’s personal needs and interests.  Therefore, we will see additional emphasis being placed on customer data gathering.

Over the years, we have seen the digital customer experience develop through the Internet, social media and applications; and this will continue to grow as baby boomers and millennials are also leaning more towards digital interaction.  As a result, businesses should pay close attention to these channels and increase customer engagement via their preferred interaction media.  Therefore, insight-led innovation can clear all grey areas, and businesses are able to deliver exactly what the customer needs and wants in the digital age.

Furthermore, with the Internet becoming more accessible and affordable, it makes it easier for companies to reach their target market in an uncontrolled space.  Not only this, but they are also able to see what their customers are saying about their experiences; and how many other potential customers may be exposed to this information.

These reasons are key factors in the increasingly frequent release of products that provide easy to use cross-channel CRM technology.  This means a contact centre agent can engage with the customer on a variety of channels – in real time and provide information on what the customer’s next steps should be.

Intuate Group offers its clients a complete omni-channel solution that facilitates a seamless customer experience across any channel of engagement.  The technology enables a single view of the customer, which builds over time with the addition of social media and customer interaction to enable a complete understanding of customer relationships.

A large UK based retailer achieved tremendous results using the omni-channel solution available through Intuate Group.  The solution resulted in additional revenue of approximately £400 million, saving the company about £10 million in marketing budget.  They implemented a complete omni-channel solution integrating online, social media and in-store to enable a single view of the customer. This was a large-scale transformation project across all customer touch points with the following range of solutions:

  • Contact centre
  • Back-office
  • In-store solutions
  • Loyalty card site
  • Tablet app

When the correct technology is deployed in an organisation, staff turnover should not have an impact on customers’ experience.  It is vital that the CX solution implemented caters for an easy transition between employees that are leaving and new employees.  For example, with complete insight into a customer’s purchasing history or query status, it will not matter who sits behind the desk, as they will have all relevant and historical information at their disposal.  However, with the right CX solution deployed within an organisation, staff confidence will be lifted due to being more efficient and productive, which will lead to increased staff morale and ultimately decreased staff turnover.

It is clear that some companies are willing to engage and learn from their customers and gain a better understanding of the value of customer experience.  During 2016 we’re set to see a hike in interest by big corporations actively using technologies bolstering customer centricity, and these are the companies that will remain competitive over those that do not put a strong emphasis on the modern customer experience in the long run.