You can’t build a house on a weak foundation. In the same way, the standard of customer experience that consumers expect isn’t achieved without technology to bring together disparate channels and make consistent, seamless experiences an easy thing to achieve.
Thanks to the growth of omnichannel strategies in recent years, there’s no shortage of customer experience (CX) platforms out there. But in the same way that CX can be applied differently within different organizational areas, many CX platforms can be similarly varied in functionality. Some might be more appropriate for marketers, some for operational functions and others aim to meet just about everyone’s needs.
Despite this, there are some overriding considerations that will help you identify the right platform for you, regardless of the nuances of your CX strategy. Some things in CX just don’t change, like the need for personalization or easy agent training.
Read on for my full checklist of five criteria to help you find the best customer experience platform for your business.
- What depth of personalization options are available?
- What segmentation capabilities are available for customers in different regions or languages, or of different demographics?
- What kind of data is provided and does it provide the right insights to create more personalized experiences?
- Is there intent-based routing available to automatically direct inbound queries to the right department the first time, without triage or transfers?
- Can integrations and APIs be used to connect the platform to other systems, making deep personalization automatic?
Bottom line: Quality CX platforms allow companies to create personalized messages to customers based on their geography, browsing history, shopping cart activity and more. These personalized touches should be able to be used at many different points of the customer journey, whether pre- or post-sale and throughout the customer’s lifecycle. It’s through personalization that companies get to demonstrate deeper customer understanding and build stronger relationships with their customers.
- Would your agents get excited about the capabilities of their new platform?
- Is the interface user-friendly and intuitive for agents to pick up quickly?
- How long will it take to train new agents on?
- Can agents see a customer’s communication history across different channels on one screen?
- Does it integrate with knowledge bases to allow for internal knowledge acquisition and learning?
- Does it help make agents’ work faster or more accurate?
- What other innovative tools or capabilities (like AI) are available to help increase efficiency and pave the way for future automation?
Bottom line: Your agents are your primary end users of any new platform, so it must enhance their ability to do great work without needing lengthy training or workarounds. 98% of organizations state the agent experience (AX) is a key part of any successful CX strategy, so any good customer experience platform needs to enhance AX as much as the CX.
Customer experience versatility:
- Does this platform make issue resolution smoother and easier than the status quo?
- Does it provide efficiencies that reduce wait times and unnecessary friction?
- Can this help to provide better quality service and support to my customers?
- Is this platform easily accessible by the right internal stakeholders?
- Does it provide the raw data to help track and adjust different parts of the customer experience as strategy changes over time?
- Does this platform perform over different devices, operating systems or browsers?
- How well does the platform integrate into my current technology stack?
Bottom line: The right customer experience platform should be versatile enough to contribute to every single one of an organization’s customer experience metrics and be flexible enough to adapt to any technology stack through customization options.
- Does this platform help my customers get service that’s fast, friendly and accurate?
- Will this platform improve conversation quality while ensuring there are no trade-offs in terms of time spent?
- Does this platform allow you to access information to suggest when you should proactively offer help to customers – even before they ask for it?
- Does this platform offer rich media features that can speed up time to resolution (e.g. image or document sharing)?
- What are the customer satisfaction benchmarks for this platform? Does the platform provide the ability to make and track improvements?
Bottom line: Quality conversations build stronger relationships, but they shouldn’t occur at the expense of efficiency. Organizations need to make sure they’re taking full advantage of a CX platform’s full capabilities – file sharing, co-browsing and more – to provide quality interactions through tactical, interactive experiences that fuel greater customer satisfaction.
- Does this platform meet my industry’s security and compliance standards?
- How is data stored and processed on the platform (if a cloud platform)?
- Does this platform offer on-premise installation, if tighter security is needed?
- What security measures are available on the agent side (password protection, SSO)?
- What type of encryption tools are used at rest and during data transmission?
Bottom line: Safeguarding customer data will always be non-negotiable. Good CX platforms feature should have multiple layers of data protection and compliance with data standards like ISO 27001, GDPR, PCI, HIPAA and more.
Today’s omnichannel CX platforms have the ability to deliver better experiences on a lot of fronts. They should be able to handle incoming communications, allowing you to create service that’s fast and high quality. They should help you to gain new insights into your customer data to make more informed decisions and react quickly to change. And they should enable you to take the first steps into automation with AI capabilities that can be relied upon.
At the same time, companies need to remember that customers want to be treated like human beings, not data points. The advantages of efficient platforms mean that your agents should be able to rush less and spend more time helping customers with the queries they most need human help with. That’s truly a win-win – when entire organizations can reap the benefit of a strong CX platform which helps agents, businesses and customers in spectacular new ways.
Originally published here.