CX professionals are running out of low hanging fruit.
As organisations move to become more customer centric most have already upgraded front end engagement systems and digital channels. However, those easy opportunities are quickly dissipating, leaving only the more challenging and resource intensive CX initiatives.
That’s the view of SaaS giant Oracle who is pushing for organisations to make more fundamental changes to improve customer experience before CX “hits a wall”.
“Many companies have… remodelled the front of the house. Meaning that they have put in nice websites, they put in [support] numbers, they’re monitoring social media, they’ve got a nice little web chat function for their customer service representatives,” an Oracle spokesperson told Which-50.
“That’s great… That’s the minimum bar. But everyone’s sort of done that.”
According to Oracle, those CX upgrades, which have largely been made around information access and front end improvements, are the now base level for customer experience and have become prerequisites for consumers assessing products and services.
And the current level of CX most brands deliver won’t satisfy customers for long. As leaders like Apple, Amazon and Netflix raise consumer standards to near impossible levels, organisations that stand still on CX do so at their peril, the spokesperson said.
The next CX level
The next step, and one Oracle is tipping will challenge many organisations, is connecting those customer facing improvements to back end systems like finance, HR and the supply chain.
“Now the question becomes can [products and services] be custom configured for customers? Can it be delivered in a timely basis? Can it be delivered exactly where you want it to be delivered? Can you track the shipment?” the Oracle spokesperson explained.
“And now, all of a sudden, all those things – they’re not just a CX issue – but they start becoming a supply chain issue, a manufacturing issue, a fulfilment and delivery issue.”
The shift is fundamentally changing the role of CX professionals, according to Oracle.
“We’re moving from an era where CX professionals [have been] fixing up the front end – the low hanging fruit. And now we’re moving into an era where the CEO and board are saying ‘wait a minute, being better at customer experience is an imperative for our growth and even our survival as a company versus our competition’.”
If organisations can’t deliver that level of service, consumers are likely to vote with their wallets, disproportionately rewarding CX leaders.
The rising expectations, often driven up by digital giants in the B2C market, have begun to infiltrate B2B experiences too, according to Oracle.
The line between B2B and B2C “is blurring” in terms of buyer expectations, according to the spokesperson.
“We have these experiences in our day to day life, whether it’s with Apple at the retail store, or Starbucks using the app, or Amazon and Prime, or Uber. And then we go to work… and expect the [same] seamless experience.”
While experience strategies have their roots in industries with low switching costs like hospitality and retail, according to the spokesperson, the strategy is being increasingly adopted as digital technology, deregulation and disruptive competition reduce the barriers for consumers and businesses changing brands.
The Oracle spokesperson told Which-50 organisations don’t necessarily need to compete directly with CX leaders and digital giants. Instead, they are better served focusing on their customers and their specific needs.
“Maybe this customers values different things than [Amazon] Prime or the [Apple’s] latest and greatest facial recognition.”
It’s incumbent on organisations to understand what their customers really desire – often not just the product or service itself, according to the Oracle spokesperson. Finding those “niches” still offers good value propositions and allows organisations to essentially double down on the part of the customer experiences most valuable to their specific customers.