Consistently achieving the high expectations of today's customers is what separates great brands from the rest of the pack. This requires a tireless devotion to understanding to customer needs and then designing coherent and delightful customer touchpoints for the website, contact center, chatbot, and more. To effectively deliver a great CX requires that the CX team, which represents the business requirements, and the IT/ digital team, which represents the technological possibilities and can execute on those, collaborate effectively.
To better understand this dynamic, Cyara and Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) fielded research on the state of collaboration between IT/digital teams and CX professionals in North America. The survey's respondents represented client-side CX executives and practitioners: 58 percent were senior director level or above, with 26 percent representing executive management. They worked at companies with 2018 revenues of over $100M, of which 49% had 2018 revenues over $1B.
Four key findings and associated qualitative guidance resulted from this research, providing some useful best practices that IT and business teams should embrace in their pursuit of delivering exceptional CX.
1. Digital transformation is mainstream and is largely data-driven
Many organizations are undertaking digital transformation initiatives to overcome disruption caused by new competitors and heightened customer expectations. We found that 82 percent of respondents are in the midst of some form of digital transformation initiative — be it on a broad scale or a project-based approach. Since many organizations strive to differentiate their brand through the customer experience they offer, CX is typically the focal point for digital transformation initiatives.
There are many drivers for digital transformation projects but, given that many of these initiatives focus on enhancing customer experience, the majority of respondents reported they are grounding them in customer input. Still, 19 percent of respondents said that their digital transformation initiatives were not driven by customer data at all, but rather were based on executive direction or best practices. 60 percent of the respondents stated they are grounding their digital transformation initiatives primarily based on customer input and data.
Several useful insights emerged from this area of the research:
■ Successful transformations begin with the design of the experience and are enabled by technology and digital transformation.
■ Convene both business and IT resources to work on agile teams.
■ Find case studies and build stories around the success of experience-based transformation and how it delivers financial value.
■ Business leaders and practitioners should take time to build knowledge and competency to understand technical architecture and tools.
2. Project maturity fosters successful collaboration
Another key finding from the research is that, not surprisingly, those organizations that have more experience with CX are able to deliver a better CX. And interestingly, as organizations evolve in their CX maturity, the challenges they face change. CX veterans say their top challenge is pressure to execute quickly on their digital transformation goals, while CX newbies are focused on getting their initiatives funded or applying resources.
Lessons learned here include:
■ To complement your team's experience, use data and feedback (customer, employee, product, and brand) as input into digital design.
■ Identify mature and skilled personnel for digital transformation and CX initiatives.
■ CX practitioners should find a digital mentor in the organization and trade CX knowledge for digital acumen.
■ Establish baseline measures and metrics for defining and targeting the financial impact of digital transformation.
3. Speed causes mistakes or poorly designed CX
Our third key finding is that pressure to execute quickly causes mistakes. 58 percent of respondents reported that unrealistic expectations on time to market resulted in errors or poorly designed CX. The need for speed is generally driven by rapidly changing customer expectations as well as competitive pressure.
Two recommendations emerged from the research:
■ Reduce cycles by collaborating early and often.
■ DevOps, with its focus on automation, is a key enabler to achieving speed and quality, and thereby ensuring the success of digital transformation initiatives
4. Collaboration is key for CX success
When asked to describe the quality of inter-department collaboration, most respondents report having a solid working relationship with their peers in IT. However, 92 percent said their projects had been impacted by poor collaboration that resulted in creating inferior CX, missed deadlines, and failing to match to original project specifications.
Some useful tips gleaned from qualitative responses provide excellent guidelines for IT teams and CX business teams as they seek to collaborate:
■ Research collaboration maturity models (e.g. thefutureorganization.com) to define where you are and steps to improve your outcomes.
■ Include IT in customer journey mapping exercises.
■ Ensure that senior leadership from both IT and business are aligned on goals.
■ Lead digital experience with dedicated members who have relevant technical knowledge and a good understanding of agility and collaboration.
Align business outcomes with technical improvements
Businesses across industries and across the globe are all facing the need to digitally transform. Technology is front and center in these transformations, but a successful outcome requires both business acumen and deep knowledge of the technological possibilities. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that CX and business teams collaborate effectively with IT and digital teams to design and deliver the outstanding, differentiated customer experiences that will delight customers, and keep competitors — new and old — at bay.
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