Eric RossmanAugust 26, 2019

5 Reasons Brands Fail at Customer Experience

If I were to ask you if you understand the importance of customer experience, you would look at me like I have three heads. You might even say something along the lines of, “Duh, Eric, I don’t live under a rock.” Fair enough. But do you understand what an amazing customer experience looks like?

Think about that for a moment.

Yes, you understand the financial implications of improving customer experience; the majority of buyers are willing to pay more for it and consider it an important factor in their purchasing decisions. But what components make up an amazing customer experience? It’s not enough to understand the “why” but also the “what.” This is a complex question that can leave many business decision-makers feeling overwhelmed or misled (research from Bain & Company shows that 80% of brands believe they deliver superior experiences, but only 8% of customers agree).

The truth is that customer experience is complex. It consists of a lot of moving parts that must intelligently work together to create experiences that matter for customers. Many of these moving parts are within the contact center, which is arguably an overlooked element of many organization’s customer experience strategy. Here are five “parts” of customer experience that, if neglected, can cost companies big:

  1. Failure to deliver a single brand experience: This is the time-old tale of brands struggling to connect siloed channels in order to meet customers at their preferred touchpoints and desired interaction pace. Essentially, what’s missing here is a consolidated desktop view of customer information and streamlined management of digital channels and devices that enables agents to seamlessly follow customers as they change channels without loss of context.
  2. Lack of conversational context: Some of the best customer insight comes from what is spoken during interactions. Real-time transcription of customer conversations can help agents gain a deeper understanding of things like intent and emotion to better tailor interactions and drive more informed decision-making. You can take things to the next level with machine learning predictive capabilities that can pick up on certain words and present the agent with (what it thinks is) relevant information for the inquiry or issue at hand.
  3. Inability to seamlessly transition from automated self-service to live human assistance: Automated self-service is a wonderful thing. The technology empowers customers to handle simpler inquiries while enabling agents to take care of more complex, time-consuming or stimulating tasks. But companies are often challenged with bridging the gap between this frictionless self-service experience and live human assistance, especially without loss of context. If a customer decides to escalate a self-service interaction, organizations need a way to ensure agents have all context of the experience, including communication and transaction history, to effectively continue the service journey.
  4. Poor agent productivity: With so much emphasis on the customer experience, it can be easy for brands to overlook the experience their employees need for effectively serving customers. Organizations struggle to implement solutions like virtual assistants (which can provide intelligent suggestions for navigating interactions), an integrated desktop that breaks siloes between critical systems like CRM, knowledge base and dashboard, and advanced workforce engagement tools for ensuring agents are truly satisfied and immersed in their roles. At the end of the day, the customer experience is only as good as the employee experience.
  5. Lack of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities: According to Vanson Bourne, 87% of companies have made “improving/adopting AI in the contact center” their top priority for 2019. Yet 70% of companies currently using AI in this area of business feel they aren’t getting the most out of it. Many cite lack of experience, expertise, confidence and funding to be top barriers to adoption. AI is driving truly revolutionary capabilities in the contact center, but only for those with the right strategy.

These advancements are simply more than what one vendor can handle alone, and that’s okay (beware of those who claim they can single-handedly do it all). That’s why an application ecosystem approach has become foundational to contact center transformation for improving the digital customer journey. This ecosystem offers companies access to seemingly endless “click to add” applications and features for creating a custom contact center environment that meets the exact needs of their customers and employees.

Avaya’s application ecosystem is made up of strategic partnerships with some of the world’s most admired technology brands like Salesforce, Google, IBM and Verint. These alliances deliver powerful capabilities through innovative solutions that are built on the open communications platforms Avaya customers know and love.

The newest in our breadth of partnerships is Tenfold, a leader in AI-powered customer experience orchestration. This latest addition to our community of DevConnect Technology Partners is just one more example of how we help enterprises create whatever experience their customers need, enabling them to overcome today’s top challenges to customer experience like those above.  

An application ecosystem approach gives companies full choice and control over their contact center environment, allowing them to benefit from innovation on a fluid, ongoing basis.

Eric Rossman

Eric Rossman is the vice president of Strategic Alliances and Partnerships at Avaya. He has responsibility for the Avaya DevConnect Program, the DevConnect Marketplace and A.I.Connect. In addition, he is responsible for establishing and managing strategic alliances with companies such as Google, Salesforce, Microsoft and other key technology providers. Prior to joining Avaya, Mr. Rossman has held various sales, marketing, and technology-related positions at Kodak, Lucent Technologies and in the public sector. Mr. Rossman is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Engineering and Wharton School with a Master's Degree in Technology Management.

Read Articles by Eric Rossman