Why your tech partner is key to thinking customer first
Innovative companies have trained us to have a certain level of expectation when it comes to the CX experience – and smaller businesses are held to those same standards. As a CMO, you might find yourself involved in the fringes of a CX project, or conversely, asked to take the owner/MD’s vision and make it happen – all on a slender budget. It’s not surprising that CMOs are struggling to sleep at night.
Digital experiences enhance our lives. We know to check our phones for an email when we book a table at our favourite pizza restaurant. We relax knowing that we can track our children’s spending, or our partner’s route home on their bike. We expect our Amazon Prime orders to land the next day. We consume these beautifully simple experiences without much thought about the complexities the company has taken to get there.
Accessible tools for companies of all sizes
What’s encouraging is that the tools, services and tech businesses needed to deliver these CX projects are available to companies of all sizes. Sure, you might not have tower blocks full of developers, but, as we will cover later in the next chapter, there’s a lot of accessible tech out there.
More importantly, you don’t want to start your CX journey without talking to a partner first. You only know what you know. Experienced agencies, with a huge network of contacts, can help bridge the gap between what you have and what you need to transform your customer experience.
When to engage an agency
Your website agency might not seem the most obvious place to start/resume your customer digital transformation journey. However, your website is where most digital journeys converge, so talking to whoever built it is a good place to start. From there, you can explore whether your website agency has the expertise and partnerships to solve your problem.
Setting your vision – examples of CX across industries
The first step is to have a vision of what you want your ideal customer experience to look like, rather than trying to fit your technology to the experience. Here are some real-life examples to get you thinking:
Client A is a luxury hotel offering gift experiences. Its vision is that customers will receive a text notification when their parcel has been shipped along with the tracking number. This client knows they need to link their ecommerce site with their fulfilment partner data, but isn’t sure where to start.
Client B is a large charity which organises lots of fundraising events. Its vision is to automate the flow of information from its website. For example, when someone signs up for a fun run, their details automatically go into a CRM system for further profiling rather than a staff member having to manually enter the data into the ERP system. They’re unsure whether they can use their existing ERP or need something else.
offers heating solutions nationwide. Its vision is for customers to book engineers directly via the website, and for details of the booking to go straight into the engineer’s calendar without any human intervention. The client recognises their current planning tool falls short but is wary of spending too much money on the project until they know it’s achievable.
offers an online review service where customers can compare and review salon services. Its vision is for software to automatically moderate customer reviews so they can be published swiftly rather than relying on an operator to look through them. The company is aware that AI can help, but needs guidance.
In all cases, the agency partner can advise on the practicalities and the solutions to achieve their desired end result.
Why call a partner?
- Cost visibility – a partner will make an early assessment of whether the work can be undertaken in-house, and/or when to bring in specialists, saving money upfront.
- Vendor neutrality – there is a danger that your existing tech partner may be tied in with certain partners, resulting in an ill-fitting off-the-shelf solution. Asking your website partner to advise is far more likely to result in a bespoke solution that accurately meets your CX vision.
- A wider pool of knowledge – a partner has hundreds of technical experts’ experience at their fingertips, and can link these together to create an efficient collection of tools and processes.
Questions to ask your partner:
- What experience do you have of integrating ecommerce applications?
- Can you provide examples of digital transformation in my sector?
- What platforms do you work with?
Start small, scale fast
Smaller companies can compete with their larger competitors on many levels, not least their geography and personal customer service. But without a good digital experience, your customers may not even get that far.
Initially, improving your customer experience is less likely to be a single one-off investment that covers everything but rather the first of many smaller projects that underpin a wider CX effort. When selecting which CX project to start, consider:
- Where is the most manual work taking place?
- Where are your customers struggling or getting frustrated?
- What part of your business is likely to grow the most? Could you handle these processes if your business grew tenfold?
- What is your competition doing that’s best in class? Automated bookings, live stock updates and personalised content are all examples.