Self-service, the customer experience and the CIO

Self-service, the customer experience and the CIO

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As the number of technology solutions has increased, so too has the ability for organisations to provide truly positive customer experience journeys. Jonathan Tam, VP – Marketing, Liferay, explains how the customer experience has changed and why companies should consider self-service tools.

Today’s CIOs have a tough job. They must manage the immediate need for reliable technology infrastructure while simultaneously preparing their organizations for the future. At the same time, they must collaborate with numerous business partners to deliver a better customer experience.

Jonathan Tam, VP – Marketing, Liferay

Fortunately, the sheer amount of technology now available means CIOs are better positioned than ever to drive Digital Transformation. And much of that technology is finally catching up with customer expectations. We’re starting to see things like AI, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing, begin to realise their incredible potential. In particular, businesses are using these technologies to deliver enhanced personalisation and self-service that takes the customer experience to the next level.

AI and Machine Learning may sound futuristic to some – to CIOs it might just sound costly! But something as ‘simple’ as a chatbot proves that effective self-service is both affordable and achievable for most businesses, if properly applied. You just have to look at the explosion in self-service over the last decade to realise these technologies are no longer just cutting edge; they’re core to customer service.

But it’s important to not get carried away by technology. The customer always comes first. With that in mind, here are some key pointers to consider when rethinking your customer experience.

Make it personal

At Liferay, we always encourage our clients to start with their customers’ needs. For instance, we may often recommend that organizations experiment with various types of AI/ML. But technology on its own is not a magic bullet – everything must be well-integrated and serve a clear purpose.

Personalisation is key. You want to reduce friction and make customers feel like they’re getting an experience that’s unique to them, even online. There’s plenty of ways to achieve this using the technology available to you.

If you opt for a login, you can use the information your customers provide, including their history, interests and the products they use, to provide a highly tailored experience. Even if you don’t require a login, you can still use cookies or tracking. Ultimately, it’s personalisation that’s going to make your customers feel good and make it faster and easier for them to conduct business with you.

Don’t do everything at once

CIOs need to identify emerging customer experience trends and determine what impact they’re going to have on their business. It can be easy to be swept away by promising new technologies and think you have to adopt everything as quickly as possible. Here’s some advice I regularly give our clients:

  • Slow down. Prioritise your objectives and pick a project that is manageable and measurable. Then adopt technology in a phased approach. Use your success with one project to broaden your initiatives and deliver more.
  • Stop searching for unicorns. It’s highly unlikely you will find one piece of technology that solves all your problems. Start small and integrate different pieces of technology that do individual tasks very well.
  • Align your front end and back office priorities. Keep customer needs in mind at all times. But remember that while customer experience is the primary focus, you can’t just forget security, business process goals, or GDPR in the name of serving the customer.
  • Bring everyone onboard. CIOs are uniquely positioned to align key stakeholders and pool their collective knowledge and resources. You can use that position to bring teams together, working with colleagues to identify the challenges and opportunities in your personalisation and self-service strategies. By bringing stakeholders on the journey, you can apply technology effectively across your business to implement compelling yet practical solutions.

It’s time to explore self-service

Increasingly, customers expect you to provide the complete account experience online. Otherwise, frankly, they’re going to go somewhere that does.

Warning signs of inefficiency and a poor experience include high call volumes to customer support, long wait times, frustrated and unhappy support teams addressing repeated, mundane issues and, of course, customer complaints. Ideally, you want to proactively assess the opportunity for self-service before you start losing customers. At the end of the day, one unsatisfactory experience is often enough to drive a customer to your competitors. We’ve seen a huge increase in customers using our platform to create self-service portals for customers in order to deliver the experience the customer expects. This same logic applies also to self-service supplier and vendor portals.

What makes Liferay’s offer special?

Liferay provides a digital experience platform (DXP) that allows organizations to create intranets, extranets, authenticated experiences and websites.

Gartner defines a DXP as an integrated and cohesive piece of technology designed to enable the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences across multi-experience customer journeys.

First and foremost, we practice what we preach. I’ve stressed the need to put your customers’ needs first – and that’s what Liferay does as well. We partner with our clients to help them deliver on their business needs.

That extends to the technology we provide. We customise and execute solutions based on our clients’ unique requirements through our flexible solutions. CIOs really appreciate our open-source platform with open APIs that enable integrations with just about any technology they currently use or want to use. Everything is built with customisation in mind.

We’ve been highly rated by analysts for many years because of our ability to unify multiple systems and data sources and still deliver that all-important personalised user experience.

CIOs have more to do than ever. They also have more tools and expertise to help them. If you’re seeking to elevate the customer experience with the right technology, speak to us and we’ll explore how we can meet your needs together.