Mendix CEO Tim Srock on creating unparalleled customer experience in the digital era
Time and again, superior customer experience has proven to create immense value for businesses. Improved customer satisfaction, retention, and increased customer loyalty, the main outcomes of enhanced customer experience, are the result of better end-to-end communication, faster response times, and making digital choices frictionless for customers. This transformation has been directly linked to improved revenue and profit for the organisation.
However, as the disruption caused by COVID-19 continues to put unprecedented strain on multiple aspects of the economy, companies have been forced to improve their customer experience through digital transformation. During the last two years, COVID-19 has substantially changed the way businesses operate and interact with both their customers and supply chain partners.
While uncertainty continues to loom, enterprises are now being encouraged to reevaluate their business goals to better suit the ever-changing demands of their target consumers. To remain competitive, organisations must now incorporate a continuous understanding of their end user and leverage this knowledge by investing in the right technology to improve their customer experience.
The low-code approach to digitalisation
As the year unfolds, enterprises have no choice: they must elevate their digital customer experience. Depending on the success and sophistication of their experience, companies find themselves choosing between two options: sticking with their existing solutions and hoping the market doesn’t catch up, or completely overhauling their current experience and running the risk of service disruption or data loss as they transfer from one system to the next.
That’s forgetting the middle ground — incremental updates. This third option relies on low-code application development platforms that make it easier to split the overall transformation into smaller deliverables, and upgrade each element separately. This allows the business to continue to run as usual while significant improvements to the employee or customer experience take place in the background. This approach enables businesses to stay agile, using a technology that is adaptable in nature.
As businesses across various sectors continue to focus on keeping up with the evolving needs of their savvy customers, more companies are now embracing low-code to optimise their business processes and to design the best customer experience.
Some of the ways that low-code is improving the customer experience include:
“The possibilities are endless when it comes to designing exciting customer experiences”
Customer experience now equals experience management Businesses are now pressed to account for the multiple touchpoints that customers access via various digital channels. For example, a customer who finds out about a product or service on their phone may choose to place an order for it using a voice assistant and then later track its delivery and order status through the desktop website. This customer journey keeps changing across devices and from one person to another. Businesses need to keep up with these ever-changing preferences to remain competitive. Changing customer preferences combined with ongoing technological advancements requires consistent investment from the organisation to create or maintain consistent engagement across all these touchpoints. By adopting a modular approach to building out these capabilities, businesses can create components that can be used by developers across different applications, thereby cutting down on the development and maintenance time. Using a low-code development platform, which combines out-of-the-box integrations with the ability to customise applications as needed, enterprises can now iterate and install new versions of their software faster and also update their operations and processes to meet the changing needs of both the organisation and its customers.
Hyper-personalisation is the new norm
Customer expectations continue to change as they become increasingly reliant on the digital world. With expectations rising, businesses are now being challenged to adopt practises and applications that can stay current with rapidly changing consumer behaviour and circumstances. Today, each individual expects a tailored experience across all channels of engagement — and businesses need to guarantee it. Tech has a critical role to play in simplifying the process of data gathering and management to create a hyper-personalised customer journey that spans all online and offline channels.
For instance, the global experience of pandemic-related lockdowns led many consumers to move away from in-store purchasing, while increasing feelings of comfort and safety when shopping online. To respond to this behaviour shift, businesses not only had to expand their online presence but also to provide a unique shopping experience that strived to increase customer engagement with their brands.
Most businesses realise that generating a positive online shopping experience for customers starts from the moment a consumer searches for a product or service online.and finishes once the product is delivered to the consumer’s door. Throughout this process, brands need to ensure that they can provide an engaging experience that is hyper-personalised to suit each customer’s preference.
Although designing such an experience to increase your loyal customer base sounds like a dream, building one is still considered a complex job. After all, in order to adapt and react to customer expectations in real-time, businesses need to invest heavily in AI capabilities that analyse data and respond to it in an appropriate and timely fashion. Luckily, AI-enabled applications can minimise a lot of the complexities associated with hyper-personalisation as they are equipped to sense patterns within large data sets and acknowledge each customer’s shopping preferences by understanding the context, which includes the consumer’s credentials, their surroundings, as well as the device they use for making purchases.
“By using a low-code, model-based software development platform, enterprises can greatly improve the agility of their work processes and operations”
Automating tasks to optimise work processes
With continued global supply chain systems disruptions leading to shortages and delays, businesses need to adapt to the changing markets in real-time. By using a low-code, model-based software development platform, enterprises can greatly improve the agility of their work processes and operations to rapidly meet the changing demands of their employees as well as its customers.
Although work processes are designed to enhance and measure progress amongst employees within an organisation, these clunky processes often stand in the way of increasing productivity amongst the workforce. Overdependence on cumbersome work processes — that can restrain people from doing their jobs — are also known to inhibit innovative thinking amongst employees.
According to a study conducted by Gartner in 2020, outdated work practises, which includes paper-driven processes, workflows dependent on email-chain approval and redundant meetings, were found to be highly frustrating to employees. It is therefore critical for companies to simplify and standardise work tasks throughout the organisation with the help of smart applications that are capable of digitalising or automating processes. For instance, smart applications that are built using development tools, which are more model-based and user-centric in nature, can enable businesses to streamline processes and automate many tasks for the user.
These apps can essentially integrate core systems and centralise data sources, thereby allowing users to significantly reduce time spent on mundane tasks including, recording, and analysing information across multiple spreadsheets or other file management tools. This in turn allows employees to spend more time on other important tasks that can help the organisation generate higher ROI.
These smart applications can also optimise workflows to enhance the employee experience, which in turn leads to improved customer experience. Through efficient management of their workload and with easier access to key information, employees are now better equipped to deliver a hyper-personalised hybrid customer journey across multiple devices.
Digitalising or automating back-end processes will not only lower operational costs but could also improve alignment between various departments within an organisation that must work together to deliver products or services to the end-user. This is mostly achieved by working with a low-code development platform that integrates the core system of records with internal apps to prevent data from being trapped in application silos.
Although staying ahead of the game in this digital era is not easy, especially when you’re struggling to navigate through the various new complexities posed by the pandemic, by using low-code enabled tools, organisations can now optimise their workflows and accelerate their digital transformation to continue delivering exceptional customer experience.
Given that consumer expectations will continue this rapid pace of change and evolution over the next few years, businesses must now think big in terms of utilising technology for building better experiences for customers. In fact, the possibilities are endless when it comes to designing exciting customer experiences that are unique and personable in nature.