It’s no secret that the art of delivering exceptional service to customers—whether they’re consumers or business buyers—is undergoing dramatic change. Customers routinely expect highly personalized experiences across all touchpoints, from marketing and sales to service and support. I call each of these engagements a moment of truth—because leaving customers feeling satisfied and valued at each touchpoint will have a direct bearing on their loyalty and future spending decisions.
This is why customer experience (CX) has become a strategic business imperative for modern companies. Organizations that provide effective, well-integrated CX across the entire customer journey achieved compound annual growth rates of 17%, versus the 3% growth rates logged by their peers who provided less-effective customer experiences, according to Forrester’s 2017 “Customer Experience Index.”
Fortunately, it’s becoming easier to enter the CX winner’s circle. AI, machine learning, IoT, behavioral analytics, and other innovations are helping progressive companies capitalize on internal and third-party data to deliver highly personalized communications, promotional offers, and service engagements.
How can companies fully leverage today’s tools to support exceptional CX? If they haven’t already done so, companies should start evolving away from cloud 1.0 infrastructures, where an amalgam of best-of-breed services runs various business units. These standalone cloud platforms might have initially provided quick on-ramps to modern capabilities, but now, many companies are paying a price for that expediency. Siloed data and workflows hinder the smooth sharing of customer information among departments. This hurts CX when a consumer who just purchased a high-end digital camera at a retail outlet, for example, webchats with that same company’s service department about a problem, and the service team has no idea this is a premium customer.
In contrast, cloud 2.0 is focused on achieving a holistic view of customers—thanks to simplified, well-integrated services that support each phase of the customer journey. Eliminating information silos benefits companies by giving employees all the information they need to provide a tailored experience for every customer.
Achieving modern CX requires the right vendor partnerships. That starts with evaluating cloud services according to how complete, integrated, and extensible the CX platform is for supporting the entire customer journey. One option is the Oracle Customer Experience Cloud (Oracle CX Cloud) suite, an integrated set of applications for the entire customer lifecycle. It’s complemented by native AI capabilities and Oracle Data Cloud, the world’s largest third-party data marketplace of consumer and business information, which manages anonymized information from more than a billion business and 5 billion consumer identifiers. This means that business leaders, besides understanding customers based on their direct interactions, can use Oracle Data Cloud for insights into social, web surfing, and buying habits at third-party sites and retailers and then apply AI to find profitable synergies.
As new disruptive technologies come to the market—whether that’s the mainstreaming of IoT or drones for business—companies will be under constant pressure to integrate these new capabilities to improve their CX strategies. Modern, integrated cloud services designed for CX don’t support just today’s innovations. With the right cloud choices, companies can continually evolve to meet tomorrow’s CX challenges.
(Photo of Des Cahill by Bob Adler, The Verbatim Agency)