In this fourth exploration of the findings of our Connected Customer report, produced in partnership with IDG Research, we look at the vital customer experience aspect of digital transformation.

With CX a key metric in every sector, the responses from over 100 companies of different sizes in a range of sectors provide an illuminating insight into the possibilities of CRM transformation and the metrics that should drive it.

‘Customer service has become the main expression of the organisation’s ongoing brand experience – and very much decisive when it comes to customer loyalty.’

Customers must be front and centre of your strategic vision

It may seem obvious to state that customers should be the pillar around which any CRM transformation is planned, but our report points out that, for customers, a superior experience is absolutely critical in their future purchasing decisions. As a result of the changes we’ve already examined in customers’ expectations, the pre-purchase stage of the funnel can no longer be considered of greater importance than post-purchase service, because that’s simply not how customers see it.

Their perspectives on brands are now more holistic; customers perceive each brand as a whole and don’t see their relationship with those brands as a series of disconnected, discrete interactions. Indeed, some 54% of modern customers expect connected, synchronised customer-facing actions from the brands they engage with.

‘Now, customer service has become the main expression of the organisation’s ongoing brand experience – and very much decisive when it comes to customer loyalty.’

So, it’s probably no surprise that in part three of our discussion on the report’s findings, the four pillars of design thinking that should inform CRM solutions were all focused on customers’ expectations. Rather than being irritated by cross-selling, for example, they now expect personalised offers from their favourite brands.

Where the connected customer is concerned, service operations are where companies win or lose. Businesses must be prepared to embrace technology that improves their CX offering, including AI and machine learning, as critical components of process optimisation. The right solutions leverage the right tech in the right places to deliver optimised customer experiences and turn customers into engaged promoters.

Yet some of the responses show that, for many organisations, there is still a long way to go. Only just over a third of respondents – 34% – viewed themselves as having even ‘partially automated, multi-channel’ customer service capabilities. Asked about a connected, seamless, and omni-channel CX offering, that number drops to just 2%.

Demonstrable, measurable results

Even among companies that have reached what our report calls third-stage digital maturity, with improved knowledge of the customer, 44% of those respondents are unable to use the data they capture to generate value. As a result, instead of strategic CX evolution, their actions are tactical. They produce short-term results but aren’t creating long-term solutions. In short, the report says, ‘the customer continues to be a stranger to the company’.

‘Customers don’t treat each communication with a company as a disconnected action. They remember and even keep a record of them on their devices. Consequently, companies cannot treat them in isolation, even when they take place in different areas within their organisations’

In contrast, the results that can be achieved with a holistic, CX-focused digitalisation process are evident in the experience of Baleària, a major player in what is not typically a digitally mature sector. As a company employing over 1,800 people, operating on multiple continents, and across different lines of business for both consumers and B2B clients, their scenario was complex. But in just four months, processes were streamlined and simplified in a CX transformation that optimised their offering in an omni-channel solution.

That’s what we do here at redk; our experience in building centres for customer-service excellence helps organisations to optimise their CX offering, boosting customer loyalty and satisfaction. You can download the full report here, and in the final part of this examination of its findings, we’ll take a look at some of the overall conclusions in The Connected Customer.