How is digital technology employed in managing the customer experience?

Digital technology’s initial role in managing customer experience is by serving a need. A customer has a requirement, and technology steps in to fulfill it.

Fulfilling needs stems directly from personalization and its expansive applications. From advanced marketing tracking to the plethora of devices we use to engage with businesses, there’s an enormous amount of information that savvy customer experience teams can use to better understand customers. 

Then the smartest of these CX experts can use this to strategize and make the customer experience even better.

1

How has technology impacted the customer service experience?

How digital technology is employed in managing the customer experience can be broken down into a few categories. Effective within their own functions, each of these becomes even more powerful when implemented in a complementary way. Let’s take a look at some examples of these:

Accelerate communication speeds

As CX technology has advanced, so too have customer expectations of what levels of service are and aren’t acceptable. Speed plays a big part in this. Most customers won’t wait more than two minutes in a phone queue, and 13% say that any amount of hold time is unacceptable, according to research from Odondo

As we look into the types of technologies in customer experience management, we’ll examine how these communication speeds have benefitted from multichannel approaches.

More direct results available

Another major factor in aiding customer satisfaction is self-service. Rather than adding unnecessary pressure to customer service reps, deploying self-service and automated channels means that customers can quickly and independently solve their own issues.

Cost reduction

By easing the burden on customer service and customer experience teams, costs also go down as customer satisfaction goes up. The outlay for automated services can be quickly recouped via savvier CX journeys that don’t rely on a bigger, faster workforce. 

The results are impressive too; chatbots can deflect 30% to 50% of caseloads away from agents, according to Pascal Bornet in Forbes. That’s a lot of time given back to customer service staff.

Improving customer outcomes

We’ve all been there. Hanging on the line for what feels like an eternity, only to be told your issue can’t be solved straight away. The frustration can be enough to kill your relationship with a business. 

Again, automation can help, and so can multi-channel support. Knowing the preferences and buying habits of your customers also means you can tailor their journeys far more deliberately. 

And in a time of wobbling financial markets, digital maturity can mitigate against downward trends by as much as 23% (according to Deloitte).

Want a more in-depth introduction to customer experience technology?

Have a look at our introductory page on CX technology.

2

How can emerging technologies improve customer experiences?

Emerging technologies have played a huge role in broadening the number of channels customer service teams have available to engage with customers. This has lightened the load on these teams as well as improved the ways that we can track customer journeys and customer engagement.

Let’s break down four ways technological innovations are helping improve consumer experiences:

Providing omnichannel support
Use chatbots to improve customer experience
Gamification in customer experience
Improve customer experience with Virtual Reality

“An omnichannel customer experience is when a customer is able to switch seamlessly between the different channels a business operates on (e.g. SMS, live chat, email, etc.). With an omnichannel approach, all of these channels are connected so that a business can provide continuity and personalization to its customers even as they move between devices and different touchpoints.” Segment.com

As customers increasingly find themselves working on the move and out of the office, strategically implemented omnichannel approaches mean that journeys and resolutions aren’t fragmented if customers move between channels.

“Most companies now operate globally which means that your customers could be from any location (and thus any time zone). Customers do not want to wait for answers to questions that may affect their purchasing decision, so you want a way to answer immediately (where possible). The use of IVR software and chatbots can help with that and an efficient chatbot platform can answer as much as 80% of all the questions it handles.” Jessica Day of Dialpad

From 24/7 support to cost savings and agent team streamlining, there are several ways chatbots have become fundamental to better customer experiences.

More and more companies are making their user experience more fun, which leads to higher customer loyalty, a greater overall spend, and increased interest in the company’s offerings. Gamification also has psychological perks: Game developer Jane McGonigal, author of Superbetter, explains that playing games can have several benefits in your life, including increased positivity and better communication skills, both of which can lead to a better overall experience with your company.Kelsey Jones at Salesforce

Gamification is a widespread and maturing trend within customer experience. Gamification methods have evolved from old-school loyalty cards and have become even more pervasive among customer experience practitioners (more on why that matters later).

“As brands and businesses seek to strengthen and grow the relationship between their services or products and their customers, immersive technologies like AR and VR offer practical, emotional, and creative routes to enriching these relationships while building brand loyalty and increasing sales.” Eran Galil, for Venturebeat

What used to be only in sci-fi novels and films is now accessible like never before. From (still pricey) VR setups to plastic phone-holding goggles that utilize mobile accelerometers, VR and its cousin Augmented Reality (AR) are rapidly entering the mainstream.

Jump to our page on Digital CX trends for 2023 and beyond for more on this.

3

How to provide an omnichannel experience

Think about the best businesses you’ve engaged with. Chances are that they’ll have made numerous ways available for getting in touch with them. From SMS and call centers, chatbots and email, social media, and even VR in some cases, omnichannel CX meets customers where they want to be, on their terms. 

And the very best customer experiences seamlessly link these channels together, ensuring continuity and personalization throughout omnichannel journeys. A study by ClickZ found a 250% increase in purchase frequency for shoppers that engage with a brand through three or more channels.

To flip a multichannel approach into a truly omnichannel one, you need to hit some key stages, as detailed in this piece by Acquire:

  • Know what your customers want
  • Enable fast responses
  • Implement self-service capabilities
  • Offer mobile-friendly services
  • Leverage tools and technologies
  • Develop a customer-centric team

All of the best omnichannel experiences enable the free flow of information between all of your channels—that’s the true core of a successful omnichannel approach that lets you capture valuable insights for continuous improvement.

4

How to use chatbots to improve customer experience

Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots are transforming the customer experience with several key functions. But more than that, they’re also making enormous baseline differences in business.

The first is that they’re increasingly the preferred method for consumers that want fast resolutions. As chatbots are a simple portal to use AI with branching logic, they can prove a powerful source of quick information: Is this item in stock? What is my current balance? What is the best number to contact sales through? For issues with a clear and simple answer, chatbots can supply fast service resolutions, and save significant customer service team resources.

The figures? In banking alone, chatbot operational savings are expected to reach $7.3 billion by 2023, according to Juniper Research

If you want to see what AI can do for your customer experiences, check out our AI solution—Aigent

By allowing fast access to customer information, chatbots can help you engage with the increasing trend toward self-service. Given the choice between calling a help desk to find out your account number or simply asking a chatbot, it’s clear which option is more efficient for both parties.

Chatbots will continue to evolve via machine learning. Much is being made of natural language processing capabilities (NLP) as a way to evolve chatbots from rigid and binary understanding to taking on more complex queries.

If you’re interested in diving deeper, check out our page on how digital technology impacts the customer service experience.

5

How to use gamification in customer experience

Gaming culture is a pervasive force globally, and customer experience experts are increasingly stealing practices and adapting them to their world. 

To recap, gamification is not a new concept. Offers like collecting air miles have been around for a long time.

But as our understanding of consumer psychology has improved, the potential for gamification has never been greater. In customer experience, there are two areas of focus:

For the customer

From simple points collection to “leveling up”, customer experience journeys have been gamified for a long time. This fundamentally relies on rewarding the customer and giving them a way to track their progress.

Points, tiers of customer loyalty, discounts, bespoke, and personalized offers all contribute to customers enjoying a gamified experience that feels like they’re being seen as an individual rather than a faceless consumer. 

For example, the McDonald’s Monopoly game has led to as much as a 6% increase in sales for the 30-plus years it’s been running.

For the customer experience agent

Gamification is also an important and increasingly exciting area for customer experience and customer service teams. 

“In today’s collaborative world, using clever technology that integrates the concepts of game theory is essential to gaining the support of younger staff members. At the end of the day, they are tomorrow’s business leaders. Engaging them in a way that entertains and educates is vital to creating a dynamic and thriving work environment.” Neil Penny of Sunrise Software

Customer service agents tend to deal in volume, making sure all customer needs are met. Despite advances in business process outsourcing and technologies such as self-service and chatbots, it can be a busy role.

Your ability to track, reward, and codify good work is a powerful tool that can lead to improved customer and agent experiences.

6

How to improve customer experience with VR

On top of new ideas and methods for more positive customer experiences, there are also new channels emerging as customer service accelerates.  There are two hugely powerful, closely connected, but different technologies here:

Virtual Reality

VR takes over your vision to give the impression that you’re somewhere completely different.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality lets you see your current environment, but with an overlay of new information—think looking at your coffee table and seeing a dinosaur walk across it. 

Between these two technologies, customer experiences are entering a new dimension. Imagine that you’re looking to purchase a new kitchen. Rather than leafing through material samples and blueprints of kitchen layouts, you’re instead transported into a 3D, walkable space that’s based on your kitchen and designed in the new style. 

And that’s powerful. 

As explored in this great piece from VentureBeat, from customer-centric experiences like a home improvement to the training service staff or showing them additional information on the spot, the benefits are significant:

  • Informed decision-making: VR and AR offer a more accurate “try before you buy” experience.
  • Reduced buyer’s remorse: Visualization is a powerful tool to help customers decide if they will be satisfied with a potential purchase.
  • Enhance customer service: A total reimagination of customer experience. For example, moving from reading an Ikea instructional booklet to being shown step by step a 3D model of the furniture.
  • Convenience: Consumers’ time is at a premium. Showing them a car in a virtual space saves them a trip to the dealership.

7

Why Customer Experience Management is important, and how digital technologies can help

As we finish exploring customer experience technology one question might remain: Exactly what is customer experience management technology? And…why is it important? 

Abbreviated as CXM or CEM, customer experience management is a set of strategies that help nurture your brand’s relationship with customers (via Qualtrics). It’s the glue that holds all areas of customer experience technology together.

CXM organizes customer interactions by recording, organizing, and syncing customer touchpoints. 

Through CXM, you can see what’s working, and where the bottlenecks are and discover actions you need to take to deliver more effective customer experiences. CX moves fast and contains a massive amount of information—this technology lets you keep up with your customer’s needs, ensuring there’s minimal delay between finding issues and solving them. 

At Ubiquity, we’ve spent decades helping businesses scale their CX capabilities across channels. If that sounds like something you need, we should talk.

For further reading on CX insights, trends, news, and education resources, take a look through our learning center.