Technology as a driving force behind the customer experience

Competition is intensifying and customers expect a hassle-free digital experience that matches their preferences. In order to gain customer trust and differentiate, it is crucial that organizations optimize the customer experience.

Customer interaction should be seen as a major issue rather than an afterthought. This requires a major turnaround that can result in an impressive ROI. Forrester surveys show that experience-driven companies (ITs) experienced 1.6 to 1.9 times greater annual growth in customer retention, repeat purchases, average order amounts, and customer lifetime value relative to other companies.

In addition, Gartner states, “… the main reason customers drop out is the amount of effort they have to put into solving a service problem.” This makes it all the more clear how necessary it is to look closely at the customer experiences that are being delivered.

Automation is the key

If you look at banks, they now offer a range of automated, digital options for arranging your banking. This is often an addition to the traditional service, and sometimes it is even a replacement. From apps to web portals, signing up for new services, completing transactions and answering questions are now often arranged with a click or chat.

This automation makes it so easy for the end user to arrange banking that customer service is virtually unnecessary. The benefit of this is higher customer satisfaction. It also has a positive impact on employee satisfaction as there is more room to help customers with complex issues that cannot be solved with automated systems.

Automation also has a positive impact on employee satisfaction, as there is more room to help customers with complex problems that automated systems cannot solve.

Wijnand Pauwelyn, Enterprise Account Executive at Mendix

The idea that customer experience has an impact on employee satisfaction and vice versa is not limited to one application or even one sector. Take, for example, the manufacturing industry. Here, investments in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as sensors that monitor the crucial stages of a factory’s production process, can help to proactively warn of impending maintenance or possible defects.

By making sure you are facing major problems, you can keep everything running behind the scenes. This ensures a flawless customer experience and also strengthens trust in the organization.

Automation does not stop with IoT devices. Automation of business processes can also indirectly play a role in the customer experience. If an organization works with interconnected support systems that employees need to switch between to solve problems, you increase the risk of a negative customer experience. Workflow automation so you can move away from complex, multi-user spreadsheets or out-of-hand email discussions allows employees to spend more time on more important things.

Complexity versus simplicity

In order to successfully automate the customer journey, you need to find a balance between the simple goal – the smoothest possible customer experience – and the complexity of achieving this goal. If you try to get around this with a quick-fix or emergency solutions, there is a chance that you will miss the target.

Start by designing the customer experience together with designers and experts. Think about how you can make the transition between channels and forms of interaction smooth, so that customers only have to share important information once. Once you have captured the customer journey based on a holistic approach, you have mapped the required degree of automation per. channel.

In order to automate the customer journey successfully, you need to find a balance between the simple goal – the smoothest possible customer experience – and the complexity of achieving this goal.

Wijnand Pauwelyn, Enterprise Account Executive at Mendix

Improving and automating requires a lot of backend of the systems in a business. In many organizations, the knowledge and data about specific customer experiences that employees need is spread across different systems. From CRM to production to ERP systems. In some cases, home-built systems with very specific technologies are used.

To ensure an optimal customer experience, it is necessary to make a backend to the frontend. This is a layer that sits between the technology in the backend and the user at the frontend to present the data accurately and completely to the user.

This is an area in which Mendix specializes. As a platform, Mendix has extensive backend technology for developers that can be connected to their own systems, while the end-user experience remains the same. Whether it’s a customer, or an employee helping a customer. We help organizations leverage existing technologies, as many are already doing to their cloud infrastructure. This allows them to take advantage of the features that hyperscalers integrate into their software, such as multilingual chatbots.

Mendix has the Atlas UI framework for this with a standard design tool that allows developers to quickly develop consistent and visually appealing experiences. These experiences can be easily reused in other applications or in components across all channels and touch points in a customer journey.

Intelligent services like the future

With the advancement of technology, we are already seeing companies move from automation, as we know it, to the integration of intelligent services into their systems.

Intelligent automation integrates technologies such as artificial intelligence, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or machine learning with processes and applications. This enhances the human decisions that are often required in customer processes. Intelligent automation provides new opportunities for innovation, recommendations and solutions based on such large amounts of data that a human user can not process them. This in turn leads to smoother customer experiences, lower costs and increased productivity.

Despite a wealth of technological advances and new best practices, many companies fail to automate their customer experiences. This creates a lot of space for competitors to take advantage of this. Although it is a significant effort for the entire organization to rethink the customer experience, there has never been a time when this effort has yielded as good a result as now.

This is a contribution submitted by Wijnand Pauwelyn, Enterprise Account Executive at Mendix. Learn more about the company’s low code solutions here.

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