Move From Customer Service to CX with the Right Technology

Before the term “customer experience” (CX) became widely used in the industry, the contact center was focused on “customer service.” When customers needed service – whether a question, a complaint, or technical support – they reached out to the contact center. Before the rise of social media and digital channels, customers rarely engaged with a company or a brand for anything else, mainly because there were limited communication options outside of the contact center.

But that’s only part of the story. In those earlier times, businesses did not actively court customers beyond generating sales, and viewed them en masse rather than as individuals who each have a distinct relationship with the business. Furthermore, when customers did make an effort to engage, it was never easy – by design – as customer service was expensive to provide and in the eyes of leadership, did not produce much ROI.

Not only have the times changed, but so have the technologies – both have yielded a new dynamic between customers and businesses. Competition is more intense now, and businesses cannot take customers for granted. Loyalty must be earned, which means every customer must feel valued – not just in the moment, but also for their overall relationship.

The rise of digital technologies has enabled a new kind of customer service – digital experiences. In many instances, these experiences are more important than the product or service being purchased. This has created a growing urgency for contact centers to modernize. Before pursuing paths to modernization, contact center leaders must first understand what needs to change and why. Many levels of change are needed, but two in particular will provide a solid foundation for moving forward.

Integrated Omnichannel Solutions

Today’s customers expect omnichannel communication, to engage via their preferred digital channel, personalized service, and that their experience goes beyond the last time they bought your product or service.

Not only are these expectations rising for all your customers, but the consequences for not meeting them are greater than ever before. They typically have other buying options just a click away, so the impact happens faster and more often than before. In this context, modernization is about having a more agile, responsive contact center with agents who are equipped with the right tools to provide intelligent service and personalized experiences.

Integrated solutions help contact centers remove silos and complexity while allowing them to leverage new technologies and support customers at scale. Every customer expects personalized engagements – delivering that is easier with contact center desktop solutions that provide full CX journey visibility, context-data and AI-powered assistance.

Connected Digital CX

It’s not enough to think just in terms of shifting mindsets from customer service to CX. That shift is important because it sets the stage for thinking about customers beyond their latest interaction with your contact center. More than ever, contact center leaders are focused on improving customer experience – which, according to McKinsey & Company, is the fastest-growing priority for contact center leaders.

This broadens the focus to the overall customer journey, which makes context-data vital. In these terms, CX entails knowing all that came before the customer’s outreach to your contact center and following up to assess the impact of your response to create more personalized journeys later.

Beyond that, however, is the need to support digital CX. Going from customer service to CX reflects a broader understanding about what customers really value, but the digital element has more to do with the impact of technology on how they interact with you. As consumer demographics trend younger, customers are becoming more digital-first, which has two implications for contact center leaders.

First is embracing digital channels. Digital isn’t just central to communication, but everything around the product or service. Consumers use digital tools to do their research, place orders, make purchases, consume the product or service, and share their experiences with their social circles, your company, and even your competitors. As such, if you’re not viewing CX through a digital lens, you won’t understand how this is different from the customer service model.

The second implication is about how these customers communicate with you. Digital channels will often be the channel of choice, which means they will likely be engaging via a social media app or a mobile messaging chat platform. Conversely, the legacy channels that drive most of your everyday interactions – telephony, email, and even fax – will be a last resort for these customers.

No amount of technology will ensure great CX on its own, which makes a mindset change so important. First, you need to understand what has changed and why. From there, will you be able to break away from how contact centers have thought about customer service. When you’re ready to think differently, the connection between digital tools and digital CX will become clear, taking you in the right direction for modernizing your contact center.

Learn more about how Upstream Works supports digital CX with digital channel flexibility here.