New Era’s sales mantra for 2023 is to Embrace the Change. Hearing that at our recent company-wide Sales Kickoff took me back more than two decades, where in the late 90’s the manufacturing mantra was Innovate or Die (attributed to Peter Drucker). It was a fitting mantra then. You only had to look ahead to 2011 to see Kodak’s bankruptcy filing and to 2013 to see the end of Nokia’s glory days as the global leader in mobile phones. Both behemoth companies succumbed to comfortable complacency that felled them from their place of dominance. A comfortable complacency that blinded them to the change happening around them. You could say they fell because they failed to Embrace the Change of that season.
What can we learn from that today? Technological advancements continue to accelerate, pushing change at an ever-increasing rate. Consumers are keeping up with the pace of technology changes, which consequently makes a continual evolution in customer expectations.
Because of today’s customer expectations, no business is exempt from embracing a culture of change. Regarding the Contact Center, the hub of all things “Customer Experience “ related, how do you know what to focus on that will ensure your existence in the next ten or more years? Now is the time of year when there is no shortage of predictions; however, based on our observation and experience, we will affirm there are three key CX areas to focus on:
- Conversational Natural Language Driven by AI Instead of “Press 1 for x or Press 2 for y,” think of asking, “How can I help you today?” as the start of your customer’s journey. As your customer speaks, they are authenticated by their voiceprint and led on their journey in a secure, pleasant, and intuitive manner.
- Personalized Customer Journey Delivering a tailored and contextual experience throughout the customer journey is a critical strategic imperative that hits the bullseye of an optimized customer-centric experience. With today’s analytics and algorithms, it is possible to deliver a journey that lends a truly personal touch that makes your customer feel understood.
- Automation to Support Self-Service Imagine being able to quickly obtain a credit or return label, change your delivery date, confirm/change/cancel an appointment, and do so more quickly and securely across various digital channels.
These three offerings have in common that they align with the highest level of the Center of Excellence CX Maturity. The Center of Excellence CX Maturity Model describes the five levels of CX maturity as:
- Level 1 Initial: Reactive based on a rudimentary understanding of your customer
- Level 2 Managed: Tactical and usually a part of a larger IT project
- Level 3 Defined: Strategic initiatives aligned to research and analysis efforts
- Level 4 Measurable: Foundational, where CX efforts are coordinated and fit very intentionally within well-articulated strategies
- Level 5 Optimized: Customer Centric as measured by customer satisfaction
The highest Customer Centric level is evidenced by services that intertwine digital and non-digital aspects. At this highest level of maturity, interactions occur when and how it is most convenient for the customer, and systems and channels are built around the need of the customer.
Achieving the highest level of CX maturity is not aspirational nor a differentiator—it has become customer expectation.
Ultimately, it’s about more than Embracing the Change; it’s about embracing the enthusiasm and passion for creating an exceptional customer experience that will delight your customers. In my biased opinion, the place to start is to align with a partner who shares the same enthusiasm, understands your customer’s needs, and can navigate the vendor landscape to find the right solution to elevate your customer’s experience with proven ROI. It’s essential to choose wisely as your future can depend on it.