Featured Image for the blog: How Business Digital Transformation Puts an End to Disjointed Customer Experiences 

Hey already frustrated customer, thanks for reaching out. Hop in the convertible and let’s go for a ride. First, we’re going to drive by our most notable monument, unsorted mounds of customer data.

Feel free to park and stretch your legs while the agent helping you fumbles through three separate databases to find information about the last time you reached out to us.

Then, strap back in as we go around the bend and pass the Sorry, I’m not allowed to give you a discount statue. It’s dedicated to all the agents out there who have to run to their supervisors and managers for permission 27 times a day. And it’s a real crowd-pleaser. In fact, a stop at this statue is often met with screams from our customers. What a thrill!

Almost all of today’s customers, some 94%, are frustrated with disjointed experiences when they interact with companies.

Your customer experience shouldn’t be a scenic tour of the inner-workings of your contact center. Outdated technology, siloed communications, and decades of following the same customer experience trends pile up to create tired, frustrating experiences for your customers. Experiences that take more time, effort, and brainpower than they should.

To stop taking the scenic route with your customers, you need to jump all-in with business digital transformation. By 2022, 70% of your customer engagements will be handled by intelligent systems. Businesses are making the shift to more complete, lower-effort experiences for customers (and for employees), and it’s time for you to get on board.

Your agents don’t have access to the data and resources they need.

Your contact center is home to thousands of interactions and data points about your customers’ journeys. But simply collecting data isn’t what’s holding you back from a better customer experience and customer service interactions.

The real challenge lies in how you use the data you collect. And, in how you make it accessible to your agents, so they’re equipped with more knowledge during interactions.

When your data is trapped in a separate database that doesn’t feed into your contact center platform, getting access to important information becomes a manual, time-consuming process. Let’s say you see a certain metric spike in your contact center. You need to dig through your agent-customer interactions and view them side-by-side with hard data, and fast, to see if you can find commonalities or trends that made your metrics spike.

Maybe your system had an outage that caused a jump in call volume. Access to that information means you uncover a problem that desperately needs a fix. Or, maybe your marketing team offered a promotion and customers don’t have the correct contact information. That’s an easy conversation with the marketing manager, and a quick remedy for the confused customers out there.

Whatever the case may be, accessible data pulls back the curtains so you can see clearly.

What to do about it:

Veer left at the next exit… kidding. Look to your digital transformation strategy and operations leaders for help. Work cross-functionally, from your contact center to your revenue-generating departments, to build a case for better reporting and analytics.

You, and your agents, need real-time insights and detailed interaction data to uncover the source of customer issues. Without instant access and digestible reporting, you play a game of 20 questions. You rely on your gut to tell you what’s going on with your customers. That approach doesn’t work. And it certainly doesn’t elevate your customer service, your overall customer experience, or your company revenue.

Sharpen’s real-time and historical data gives you a better view of your contact center and agent performance. Take a tour of our approach to data.

Disconnected systems and legacy technology hold you back.

As legacy technology ages and new solutions come to play in the market, systems get less compatible. Legacy technology floats in its own fragment, unable to connect and seamlessly integrate with the new building blocks of modern cloud technology.

Some 60% of North American enterprises rely on public cloud platforms. That’s more than five times the percentage that did only five years ago. The business technology landscape is shifting fast, but contact centers lag behind with only 36% of contact centers using any type of cloud technology. Often, this means leaving data siloed off from the rest of the company, living in multiple systems that don’t talk to each other.

Without chatter between your CRM and your contact center platform, or your ticketing system and your contact center platform, you task your agents with skimming through multiple systems for the right information about a customer.

Not to mention, the bounty hunt for customer information happens while customers lose time in their day and wait. Your agents get flustered knowing a customer’s on hold while they fumble through multiple platforms looking for interaction history. And they stress over throwing off their target KPIs. Meanwhile, your customers don’t get the service experience they expect, and it tarnishes their entire perception of their customer experience.

What to do about it:

The effort and frustration with contact center tools, like CRM, dashboards, and knowledge bases has the second-highest impact on your agents’ experience, according to CCW. To make it better, contact centers leaders named improving integrations as one of their top priorities in 2019. Take a page out of their playbook and work to integrate your siloed systems.

If you know some of your current platforms don’t work well together or share information, partner with your IT team to see if any integrations already exist. Or, ask your vendor about an option for custom APIs. Digital transformation starts with improving the technology you have and the way you work company-wide to fix pain points in your processes. And if your current platforms can’t work together, start researching other options. Connecting all your systems is unavoidable if you want to keep pace with customer expectations.

Customer journeys aren’t informed by data and customer behavior.

Customer journeys aren’t linear. They occur across dozens of channels, touch multiple different departments, and wrap all of your customers’ intentional choices and experiences into one unique pathway.

Despite the opportunity for deeper connection and personalization, more than one-third of companies still aren’t mapping their customer journey.

Without a map to follow, your agents don’t know when to step in and offer more help to your customers. They don’t know how your customers like to interact with your company – is it through chat, email, or by phone? And they don’t know when customers seek more education on how to use your product, or when they need a solution to a glaring problem.

Your customer service experiences suffer when you don’t have insight into the behavior and pathways of your customers. And those poor service experiences create a negative customer experience, too.

On my own customer journeys, I’ve fallen victim to companies assuming truths about my behaviors and actions, funneling me into the linear path they think I should follow.

Their assumed path for me looks something like this: I research a product; I purchase the product, then I call customer service when I need help.

In reality, I often revisit websites looking for self-help resources and educational content long before I pick up the phone to call customer service.

So, how do I know I was funneled into a journey that doesn’t match my behavior?

After one of my purchases, I returned to the vendor website to find some help articles. When I got to the site, I was served a chat window asking me if I’d like to talk with sales to learn more about the product.

Yes, I would like to learn more about the product, and I have some pertinent questions. But I don’t want you to try and sell it to me. Again. We’re past that.

When scenarios like this play out, there’s no better (or, really, worse) reminder that you’re not a valued customer, you’re a number in a playbook. I wanted more knowledge and customer nurture from the company. But their disjointed systems, siloed business channels, and inaccessible data didn’t give me that. They plopped me right back at the top of the sales funnel and missed an opportunity to encourage customer loyalty.

What to do about it:

Use real-time and historical data to track and map your customers’ journeys and experiences with your contact center. Then, partner with other departments and your leaders to share the insight you find and build a cohesive journey map. Mapping and tracking your customers’ behavior, based on real data, not what you think your customer should be doing, lets you personalize service experiences and tailor the way your agents help each customer.

In a study by MyCustomer, nearly 90% of companies surveyed said mapping their customer journey delivered a positive impact on their business. Some of the quantifiable business results included an increase in CSAT and NPS scores, fewer customer complaints, and lower churn. It’s no coincidence that the impact brought positive results to the customer service side of the business. It’s the area where a single interaction has the most power to make or break the entire customer experience.

Lean into your business digital transformation strategy and your leaders company-wide to help unify your technology and transform the way you work inter-departmentally. Then, give your customers the direct, personalized experiences they want. No need to stop so customers can take a walk to stretch their legs along the way.

Learn how moving to the cloud can help you defeat disjointed experiences and improve your customer service. Head over to our post on the topic for more actionable strategies!