Perfecting The Digital Experience At The Customer Edge
Feb 7, 2022 (Forbes) By Iain Scholnick, CEO of Braidio
There’s no question, consumers have grown accustomed to having their actionable business and personal life available at the swipe of a finger. In essence, this is the “consumerization of digital transformation.” In every industry, companies have scrambled to provide a flawless digital and human experience to not only attract new customers but to also make sure existing ones don’t jump ship, otherwise famously known as “stickiness.”
The need to reach customers at the mobile edge has never been greater, yet mainstream adoption had lagged, as brands were fearful to fully embrace the next wave of digital transformation. But with the advent of Covid-19, the rapid transformation to a hybrid model of work, home and mobile is now driving (forcing) the need for collaboration and engagement at the mobile edge. This means that turnkey CPaaS solutions integrating data silos, voice, video and chat collaboration have become a critical success requirement. Now, at this point in the digital transformation journey, it is important to understand what will be effective in the future of work and what will fail for mobile edge-driven engagement.
In part thanks to our Covid-driven reality, we have figured out that collaborative access to internal applications is important; your team and your customers need to have appropriate access to mission-critical data as well as the tools to work across teams, offices and countries and share success outcomes. The next step in the evolution is making sure those internal tools are working together with customer-facing applications to create a seamless or “braided” customer experience. We’ve seen companies like Twilio jump on the app-building trend, offering low-code customer-facing products on the backbone of powerful APIs but leaving the customer experience and engagement to others who are closer to the customer edge.
So now we know we need “sticky” collaboration and to drive our customer and company success outcomes. How do we accomplish these twin goals? By threading tools like real-time chat functionality and API access and orchestration of our relevant data silos into a customer-facing UI and UX. While this gained widespread adoption from the developer community, the mainstream business world still hasn’t been able to flip the switch as fast.
However, it is becoming clear that targeting company growth by using a few solution partnerships, new product- and revenue-focused projects and even targeted acquisitions will drive digital transformation via project-oriented company growth. This also enables institutional knowledge transfer by allowing your organization to introduce more tools and experiences but within a collaboration and engagement framework. This will allow your company to embed things like AI and chat functionality and get them working well together to drive stickiness, customer value and growth. You don’t want to be the company selling individual solutions, you want to be the company creating the future — a “one swipe to engage them all” transformative future.
The key to perfecting the experience at the customer edge comes when you’re able to thread or braid all these great technologies like CPaaS, live video and voice chat and AI and machine learning into one platform, where customers don’t need multiple touchpoints or to open multiple apps via a convoluted workflow to get what they need and to get success from your business. Consumers overwhelmingly like simple solutions that distill into a successful outcome. And with low-code technology coordination and API orchestration of data, third-party apps and services into intuitive customer engagement web, mobile or app workflows, it’s easier than ever to embed all of these tools into one digital experience platform. Embedding these edge-driven turnkey solutions allows you, and your customer, to gain the maximum output and success from each targeted engagement solution.
The pandemic has continued to drive customers toward new digital experiences, with 60% of customers stating they prefer to use digital self-serve channels. The key to retaining these new digital natives will be simplicity, making them comfortable by providing all of the perks they’re used to when speaking face-to-face with a customer representative. That is worth repeating: simplicity. They need the peace of mind that an online payment will go through securely, they need face-to-face access to their doctor or sales rep at the click of a button and they need a scheduling feature that integrates directly with their personal calendar. In order to attract and retain, all of these tools need to be braided into your branded application so customers know exactly where to go when they need to interact with you. What folks categorically do not want is engagement and experience friction that is convoluted, such as an endless forest of workflow clicks to navigate to an outcome and delayed success — in essence, the cloud version of being put on hold.
The key to enterprise digital transformation success regarding customer experience is to target additional and orchestrated functionality that drives rapid success outcomes within the mobile, web and apps with which they interact over added but far less actionable features (i.e., what we call feature chrome or fluff). So work with a partner or two to identify and target a revenue-focused project with definable, short-term customer and company success goals that promote collaboration and engagement features without adding friction. Companies that are planning for future success are spending more on orchestration and CPaaS-fueled digital transformation, which has accelerated with over $2 trillion predicted to be spent by 2023. But fair warning, we’ve seen failure from companies overly enamored with their strategies versus their success outcomes. Unless you’re focusing on the right aspects of delivering a successful digital experience, such as simplicity, you’re not going to see much of a payoff.
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