13 Sep 2021 | 10.41 am
Guest Blog: Daniela Illuminati, TELUS International
The cost of not investing in customer experience
13 Sep 2021 | 10.41 am
CX needs to be a company’s North Star, to which all functions and parts of the business are oriented, writes Daniela Illuminati of TELUS International
At TELUS International, we partner with companies that, like us, understand the value of customer experience — as opposed to viewing it as a cost.
For a long time, and still nowadays to a large extent, CX has been used as a synonym for customer support and treated as one department within a business. In reality, customer experience is so much more than that, as it encompasses every aspect of the business.
CX is the sum of all the touchpoints throughout a customer life cycle that builds their overall experience with a brand or a product, from when a potential customer first hears about a brand or product through marketing campaigns, to when they become a customer and ask for support, to when they recommend that brand or product or are, instead, disappointed by it and abandon it for a better option.
Because of that, CX is cross-functional by nature and requires companies to take a step back from their traditionally siloed structure and reorganise around the needs of their customers.
The landscape becomes more and more complex when you layer on top another trend: technology. Innovations in digital solutions and artificial intelligence have led to a dramatic shift in how CX works and created opportunities for more seamless, efficient and effective service.
Brands want sophisticated solutions
Brands want more sophisticated solutions that can deliver the experience that their customers now expect in an increasingly digital world. The challenge for CX providers is not only to deliver, but to keep on innovating.
Because CX requires a cross-functional approach, every part of an organisation and its partners need to play their part. At the top level, a company needs to set its CX strategy and goals, and every unit within the company, from engineering and design to marketing and sales, needs to contribute to those high-level goals through KPIs and metrics that are aligned to the overarching customer-centric strategy.
Disconnected approach, disconnected experience
A disconnected approach will lead to a disconnected experience for the customer. On the contrary, an inter-connected approach will create synergy, enable the exploration of new opportunities, and, crucially for the modern business, allow the identification of the right metrics to be used to assess the progress and continued success of a company.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the less a customer ‘notices’ their experience with you, the better. When a customer comes to you with a problem, they don’t want to be wowed by your response; they want their problem solved, and they want it solved without hassle.
Customers want an experience that feels effortless so they can go right back to using your product or service with as little work as possible on their end.
Even if their problem is solved, a high-effort experience can drive a customer away, while a low-effort one can create real loyalty.
That’s backed up by research by Gartner which showed that 96% of customers who reported a high-effort experience with a company were disloyal, compared to just 9% of customers who had a low-effort experience.
The goal of CX innovation should be to reduce or, even better, eliminate friction for customers, replacing ‘one size fits all’ approaches with a service that is smart, contextual, and tailored to the customer.
For example, we recently introduced the intelligent TELUS International Assistant, an intuitive chatbot that helps our customers solve simple problems quickly by analysing their requests and sharing solutions from a central repository of media.
Reduce repetitive interactions
This AI platform, built by our own team of data solutions experts, reduces repetitive interactions for our team and allows them to focus on more complex problems, lowers wait times for customers, and streamlines the customer experience.
Data analytics and AI allow us to do that, by creating systems that understand customer profiles, can respond efficiently to problems, and can even preempt friction by leveraging predictive analytics.
Technology cannot replace human interaction, but can definitely enhance it. At its core, CX is about people, both the customers as well as those helping them and the innovations that allow our team members to lead the way on digital CX.
Innovation needs to be prioritised and ongoing. What counts as low-effort today could be perceived as burdensome in the future, so companies need to keep up and continue to invest in CX to stay relevant and find new ways to create positive, effortless experiences for their customers.
As with any aspect of business, falling behind your competitors comes with costs and with the rapid advances being made in CX, the costs of sidelining it are high. Just as the brands we serve are experts in their industries, Telus is an expert in CX and leads digital CX trends instead of following them, so we can always keep our partners at the cutting edge.
• Daniela Illuminati (pictured) is director of operations, site lead and CX innovator at TELUS International