December 5, 2019

5 Ways to Boost Customer Experience for IT Professionals

As an IT professional with a few years under your belt, you’ve likely seen a shift in the role your department plays in the company. Historically, you focused primarily on keeping the lights on, servers humming, and firewalls protecting. Today, you and your team are expected to be jugglers–you’re still in charge of keeping the lights on but you’re also expected to develop innovative solutions that improve customer experience for external customers.

A Lot of Balls in the Air

Your day is certainly not without its headaches. On top of keeping your technical skills up to date, you also need to know how to fix old technology that you just haven’t had the time (or budget) to replace. That old software isn’t always on speaking terms with new software, and you’re in charge of thawing that relationship! In addition, you’re constantly on high alert for security issues because Norm in Accounting just can’t resist clicking on suspicious links. All this and you still get asked why IT doesn’t have time to focus on customer facing innovation.

For those of you who have not yet mastered the art of juggling, we’ve got five tips for boosting customer experience (CX) and keeping the lights on!

1. Make CX Part of Your Plan

According to Forrester, revenue growth of CX leaders is 5.1 times higher than CX laggards and customers are willing to pay 4.5 times more for excellent experiences. Even if raising your rates isn’t in the cards, a quality CX can help reduce customer complaints and improve your reputation. Clearly it pays to be customer centric. Innovative technology like chatbots, AI, and preference management services are quickly becoming the norm. Without the support of IT, it can be very difficult for an organization to implement this technology, putting the company at risk of being left behind. All eyes are on your team to choose the right systems because they can dramatically affect customer experience and the bottom line. 

2. Tap Into Your Current Systems to Create an Omni-Channel Experience  

87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience.1 Data is king when it comes to frictionless CX. Focus on tracking your customers and their interactions with your organization to improve customer experience. Remove data silos that get in the way of providing customers with timely, consistent information across all channels. This doesn’t mean you have to rebuild everything. Solutions that tap into your data (e.g. CIS, CRM, OMS, or others) can help collect information from your disparate solutions to build an omni-channel customer experience without overhauling your systems.

3. Get Ahead of Emerging Technologies 

By 2020, Juniper Research expects that 55% of U.S. households will have smart speakers and Gartner predicts the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse. These studies show how important it is to stay ahead of new technology trends–but make sure you choose solutions that make sense for you and your customers. For instance, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are making a splash but are realistically still in their infancy from a customer interaction perspective. Natural language processing in channels like Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger, or chatbots, on the other hand, are quickly becoming a preferred channel for many consumers. Companies are taking note, using chatbots to provide everything from financial advice and bill payments to helping you pick the perfect hair color or recipes. 

Cryptocurrency is also a hot topic when it comes to payment innovation, though not yet something the average consumer is comfortable with. You don’t have to be a cryptocurrency pioneer to offer your customers new payment channels. When you partner with the right billing and payment provider, you can easily rollout Apple Pay, PayPal, and Venmo. 

4. Find Vendors That Put Security First! 

An Ovum study found that 36% of enterprises across all verticals believe they are at greater risk of a data breach than a year ago. In contrast, 50% of utilities, government, and insurance respondents agreed that they would not invest in fraud solutions that add friction to the customer experience.2 It’s true, the wrong security solutions can add friction to CX which creates a conflict between protecting your customers and giving them the experiences they crave. But we don’t have to tell you that security is vital, especially when it comes to payment data. Protect yourself and your customers by offering secure solutions. Look for providers that are PCI Level 1 compliant and that encrypt data using tokenization at every point of the payment process. 

5. Give Customers the Options They Want 

Companies are focusing on delivering better CX in order to boost customer satisfaction, reduce churn, and increase revenue. How do you help? Look for software solutions that give your customers choice. Provide self-service options like web, chatbot, SMS, and mobile apps that deliver across platforms. Be mindful that the way your customers prefer to contact you varies greatly by generation. For example, the KUBRA 2019 Citizen Billing and Payment Survey found that telephone contact comes in last for Gen Y as their choice for reaching customer service, while it is a top choice for the baby boomers.3 Being aware of these trends allows you to develop different channels that work for different generations. 

Embrace your move to the forefront of your company’s CX initiatives by partnering with a customer experience expert like KUBRA. With solutions that complement your back-end systems like KUBRA EZ-PAY to manage customer billing and payments, Storm Center utility mapping to track and report outages, and Notifi® alerts and preference management to offer proactive and interactive communications, you can satisfy the growing demands of your internal and external customers. KUBRA helps you deliver innovative technology solutions that meet your security and compliance requirements, while improving customer satisfaction.

Sources:

1 The omnichannel customer service gap, Zendesk, 2013.
2 Ovum Global Payments Insight Survey, 2018.
3 Mary Meeker 2018 Internet Trends Report, Kleiner Perkins.