CX Insight Magazine

October 2022

Future-Proofing Your CX Investments

by Execs In The Know

Staying in lockstep with corporate goals and objectives will ensure your CX investments are well-positioned and better protected for the future.

Since we cannot predict the future, we need to do what we can to plan for it. The concept of future-proofing is a well-known practice in many industries, including architecture, construction, electronics, utilities, and climate change.
In recent years, it has increasingly gained popularity in customer experience (CX).

As CX leaders, we certainly know the importance of being resilient, planning for the long-term, and protecting the investments we make to improve our customer and employee experiences. But with all the near-term pressure to deliver, how can we plan and launch initiatives that are more likely to serve us in the long haul? That balancing act is important to our success, and there are several considerations to help you win now … and later.

Consideration 1: Strategic Alignment

The first and arguably most important consideration is how well your CX investment aligns with your corporate strategy. Since your corporate strategy sets the overarching direction and goals for the company, having an aligned and supportive customer experience approach is  imperative. With a corporate strategy as your guide, develop a CX strategy and operational plan to maximize the delivery of company goals. Identify ways that CX will advance the corporate vision and create your budget to fund those projects that drive alignment and delivery. Staying in lockstep with corporate goals and objectives will ensure CX investments are well-positioned and better protected for the future.

A second area for strategic alignment can be revealed in your customer data. Dive into the data to uncover how customer wants and needs line up with corporate and operational strategies. From there, focus on developing and funding the opportunities that will make the biggest impact in the long-term. For a comprehensive view, ensure you are analyzing existing and future customer demographics.

Based on the strategy and the insights revealed in the data, you can then define the ideal experience for customers and employees. One of the best tools is tried-and-true journey-mapping, where you can define the model experience and build out a roadmap of initiatives. When doing this work, be sure to involve experienced designers, and include an examination of people, process, and technology to ensure you are taking a comprehensive view of the current and future states, which will also help future-proof your plan.

Consideration 2: Employee Investments

The second area of consideration focuses on our most important asset: our employees. With the labor market in flux, the agent experience is a leading topic in many organizations, and the investment companies make in their employees can have long-term impacts. To future-proof your investment, take a hard look at the experience your company offers across the entire employee lifecycle. Examine recruiting, hiring, training (new-hire, refresher, and uptraining), and performance management. What can you change to help your CX team members enjoy their job more, stay longer, and deliver or support stellar service? Something simple can make all the difference!

Another reliable source for investigation is employee exit data. That data, which can reveal some important insights from the former employee’s perspective, is a resource that taps into unique information that can be addressed to create a positive return. Whether your organization uses surveys, interviews, or a combination of both, when conducted properly, you will gain a better understanding of what’s working and not working in your organization. Offer the opportunity to share feedback to all former employees, not just top performers or long-tenured employees.

The more you can understand the reasons for exit from a departing employee’s standpoint, the better you can address pervasive issues, increase employee satisfaction, and keep employees that know your business — all important aspects of future-proofing your CX investment.

Finally, when considering employee investments that help future-proof your CX spend, a secret weapon is Quality Assurance (QA) roles. Think about it: QA is an important part of enhancing agent performance and improving customer interactions. As an objective resource, the QA team monitors and assesses contact quality to highlight what the agent is doing right, as well as opportunities for improvement. Delivering the highest quality interactions that drive key performance indicators is every agent’s primary goal, and the QA team is responsible for aligning employee practices with the organization’s overarching goals. Keeping score and driving higher agent performance is a sure way to future-proof your employee and CX investments.

Consideration 3: Technology Investments

Technology certainly plays a big part in future-proofing your CX investments to ensure you are spending on technology that will reap dividends for years to come. No one could have predicted the events of the past couple of years and the massive technology investment most companies made to power a remote (and now increasingly hybrid) workforce. But what we do know, no matter the circumstances, is that supporting the agent’s experience with tools and technology is a critical part of future-proofing your investments. Ensuring that you allocate resources for agent assist technology not only improves performance, but delivers a positive return on investment well into the future.

We also know customer behavior is changing dramatically: sixty percent of of all internet traffic now comes from mobile, with desktop usage on the decline. Investing in the integration of customer care resources in your brand’s mobile app or creating a stand-alone app for customer service is a sound strategy. With customers spending more time on their mobile devices than ever before, brands that meet and help customers where they are will win. And, the likelihood that this mobile-first trend is expected to increase makes the investment a wise one for years to come. A great first step to making an investment in mobile support is understanding what your customers expect from this channel.

Listening to your customers is always a beneficial exercise!

The same is true for self-help solutions. We can all agree that keeping the customers we currently have is more advantageous than finding new ones. So, making the customer service experience frictionless and simple is essential. Self-service tools empower customers to get information and help on their terms. In our Self-help Solutions: Exploring Consumer Experiences, Preferences, and Opinions Report, research showed that self-help solutions are quite effective at resolving issues and answering questions with an overall resolution rate of 78%. More important, this research also revealed that getting self-service right is critical to customer perception and use of the tools. To ensure your self-help offerings are future-proofed, take the time to understand your customer and the specific opportunities your brand has. You can also offer customers a way out of the self-service path in case they need it, and test and learn to create solutions that provide a return on investment that lasts well into the future.

Consideration 4: Predictive Analytics

Many of the recommended considerations involve analyzing data to understand what the voice of the customer is saying. Another consideration related to data is predictive analytics, which uses historical data and modeling to forecast future outcomes. Organizations that invest in data science teams and tools that use predictive analytics can uncover themes and patterns and use these learnings to identify risks and opportunities. This information is invaluable input to any strategic and operational planning, as it can help protect investments.

Partnering with your data science team is a fantastic way to get started. Bring the team members into your business and share your current business performance, goals, and needs to ensure that they are familiar with your strategy. The more they understand about your organization, the more equipped they will be to deliver insights that you can use to influence your investment decision-making. Consider asking the team to do a customer interaction analysis, where they examine channel usage, customer satisfaction, and behavioral data to reveal actionable intelligence that exposes gaps in the experience. Based on these learnings, your people, process, and technology investments will be backed and protected by science.

Making Sound Investments

Future-proofing your CX investment is not an easy task. Day-to-day operational demands often force investment in the now, without time to consider the impact on the future. It’s the classic struggle between the tactics to deliver today and the strategy that allows for planning the initiatives and innovations that will power the future.

Although protecting your CX investments is not effortless, the considerations discussed can ease the burden and help ensure a future-proofed strategy. As you consider ways to ensure you use your resources wisely and invest for the long-term, four of the most important actions you can take are:

  1. Ensuring that your operational plan and associated resource allocations are aligned with the corporate strategy
  2. Investing in programs to improve the employee experience
  3. Developing long-term enhancements of your technology stack
  4. Leveraging data science to predict customer behavior

Future-proofing isn’t about correctly predicting what will happen next; it’s about leading with flexibility, resilience, and perseverance so you can adapt to the unknown. It’s also about allocating resources to investigate investments through the lens of the future. At its core, future-proofing ensures that the investments you make are ones that keep customers and employees happy. After all, your organization’s success depends on the experiences you deliver.



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