By: Karen Astley, Vice President, APAC, Appian.
It’s easy to downplay customer experience (CX) as a soft business metric. But there’s nothing squishy about the facts: 70% of your business has something to do with how you make customers feel, CX will surpass price as a key brand differentiator by 2020 and, 80% of global contact centre execs say that improving CX will be the biggest driver of technology investment.
Yet, customer experience is precisely where many companies stumble.
In fact, Forrester’s 2018 CX Index results showed a bleak outlook, with CX scores not improving for the third year in a row. The report noted that customers see the utility that many brands have to offer, but any loyalty they have is not being rewarded.
A huge part of the problem is the disconnect between customer touch points across the organisation. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s much better to create a single, holistic view of customer touch points across your organisation and leverage intelligent automation to optimise them.
Case in point: Aviva.
As the largest insurance company in the United Kingdom (UK), Aviva has operations in 16 countries and over 36 million customers. Officials at Aviva wanted to unify disconnected customer data and processes that were walled off between several departments and systems. For front-line customer care employees, resolving a single customer service request could mean accessing up to 22 different systems.
To simplify and streamline service delivery, Aviva used Appian Cloud to unify numerous systems and provide a single unified platform for call centre operations. This gave call centre agents a 360-degree view of Aviva customers, which dramatically accelerated customer response times.
“When a customer calls, our front line advisors can launch a screen in Appian that surfaces every policy that a customer has with Aviva,” said Paula Whitwell-Lumsden, UK Customer Operations Strategy & Transformation Director.
“In the past our advisors would have to access and navigate anywhere from 12 to 22 systems on a daily basis. Now, they’re down to one system.”
Convergence of technologies elevates CX
Aviva was able to use case management functionality as the unifying system of engagement for data spanning multiple legacy systems. Additionally, Aviva was able to simplify customer self-service by connecting a low-code development platform to their customer portal (using Web APIs). This allowed customers to transact business without having to go through Aviva’s contact centre.
As a result, the company and its customers reaped the benefits of a 9X Increase in service delivery speed. And, Aviva used the case management and robotic process automation of a low-code platform to reduce operational service costs by more than 40%.
Barclays is another case in point
As a transatlantic, investment bank based primarily out of the UK and the US, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 83,500 people. Bank officials wanted to replace the company’s aging call centre software and individualise CX for customers interacting via desktop, mobile, automated self-service or call centre agent. Using a modern, low-code development platform, Barclays was able to deploy nine processes in 10 months, and score an 84% reduction in processing time on the back-end and a 64% increase in customer satisfaction within the first month.
“With Appian, we’re on a hugely transformational journey in a low-code environment, where we can build advanced, highly-automated workflows and business processes that create value for our customers,” said Roy Aston, CIO, Barclaycard Group.
The intelligent contact centre: Cracking the omni-channel code
Back in the day, software development was mostly about driving efficiency. But the overwhelming majority of modern companies prioritise CX over cost savings. Not that cost reduction doesn’t matter, it’s just not the #1 driver of application development anymore.
“Just three years ago it was like pulling teeth to get the operational excellence people to think beyond the operational box—which is doing things cheaper, better, faster and thinking internally rather than outside the operations box,” said Digital Clarity Group Customer Experience Management expert Connie Moore.
“But the topic of journey mapping is coming up in conversations on the operational side of the organisation and some operations people are playing a leadership role in it.”
Which brings us to the buzzworthy topic of omni-channel.
“Yes, it’s a buzzword,” said Moore. “But senior execs should take it seriously. You could place a phone call and hit one line of business. Then, you could end up getting transferred to a different line of business in the same company. Which means you may have to start the customer service process all over again to get your problem resolved.”
“When that happens, you want your customer data to travel with your customer, no matter where they go within your organisation,” added Moore.
The problem with traditional approaches to multi-channel customer experience—via voice, Web, SMS text, social media, whatever—is that they are limited by a fractured view of the customer journey which provides little or no context to optimise CX.
Omni-channel is the opposite of that. It provides a unified, 360-degree view of the customer journey no matter how, when or where customers interact with your brand.
And this matters because research reveals companies that take an omni-channel approach to customer engagement retain an eye-popping 89% of customers, compared to just 33% for companies that don’t.
Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank)
The story of UnionBank highlights the business value of omni-channel and unified CX.
UnionBank is one of the largest banks in the Philippines. With a modern low-code platform, officials were able to launch the bank’s first fully digital branch called The ARK. There are no tellers in the ARK. You are greeted by highly trained staff called Ambassadors. They hand you an iPad with all your accounts in one place, so you can transact from anywhere within The ARK. With straight through processing, requests are submitted and automatically routed to the right place. No need to wait in a queue. You get an email receipt or SMS text when you leave.
As a result, transaction times have been reduced from an average of 1 hour to only 15 minutes.
Anticipating customer expectations
What it all comes down to is this: Every day you spend without omni-channel visibility into customer interactions is another day you put customer engagement at risk.
And the risks are high with 89% of consumers say they have switched brands after a poor experience and 82%have stopped doing business with a company following a bad customer experience. Additionally, 86% of consumers are willing to pay up to 25% or more for better service.
The good news is that technology will play a major role in improving CX metrics in 2019 and beyond. The phenomenal evolution of artificial intelligence and machine learning, for example, will elevate CX in everything from language translation to making more precise predictions about what your customers will purchase in the future.
Appian provides a low-code development platform that accelerates the creation of high-impact business applications. Many of the world’s largest organizations use Appian applications to improve customer experience, achieve operational excellence, and simplify global risk management and compliance. For more information, visit www.appian.com.