Customer experience is ever-evolving. New tools come out every day that promise to make both our lives and the lives of our customers easier. New platforms pop up with some new functionality that purports to change the way you handle CX.
Compare these 19 brands that were around in 2014:
To these 289 brands from 2019 😳:
It's safe to argue customer experience tools and platforms are growing in popularity each day 🚀!
As new customer experience technologies are born, older ones are absorbed, acquired, and consolidated. They become the all-in-one platforms that can supposedly fix everything. Like clothing, one-size-fits-all often doesn’t fit everyone—especially not comfortably. With so many companies focusing on CX, now is not the time to be anything less than perfect.
87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience. It makes sense to start with the platforms you’re using to measure, gauge, and provide service. But an all-in-one, in most cases, isn’t going to be your best bet. There’s no such thing as a perfect customer experience platform. But, you can create an ideal customer experience system by picking the technologies that work best for you and combining them.
CX is not one-size-fits-all
Just like customer experience impacts every department in your company, different customer experience platforms cater to different functional needs. Some of them may be more appropriate for marketers, others more appropriate for your product team. Their usefulness depends on when and how you are using them.
For instance, marketing teams may want to use a CX platform to understand pricing concerns, informing your customer journey map or deepening definitions of customer personas. Product, conversely, might be more interested in identifying issues with your user experience.
If you are starting to put together your own customer insights team you need to consider many things.
The so-called “all-in-one” CX platforms tend to be customizable to meet the needs of every department. However, as with most generalized products, it takes time and effort to customize and make them your own and then keep them updated. You would need to add separate functionality for both your marketing integrations, like surveys or CRM data, and product integrations, like bug tracking.
With each integration or feature that you need to customize, you lengthen your time to value. Consider the graph below.
As you try to tailor the all-in-one tool to each team’s needs, you run the risk of only giving people 50% of what they need to do their job and losing momentum. If implementation gets delayed, you may start to lose the trust of your leadership team or even the individuals that need to buy-in and use the product. If you’re going to spend energy and effort on custom-curating a solution, you should make it one that meets all of your needs to a T.
Have specialized tools for specialized needs
When looking for the best of the best, why not seek out the specific tools that exemplify that? Specialized tools designed for specific needs are going to have an improved, more meaningful functionality and reporting for your team. That’s especially key as you try to improve your customer experience by adding additional channels or self-service functionality.
Fifteen years ago, the average consumer only used an average of two touch points when buying an item, and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today, your users utilize an average of almost six touch points. Nearly 50% of them typically use more than four. That’s a lot of different touch points to manage. Finding the tools best suited for the job will give your team the functionality and information they need to get better consistently.
For customer insights, it’s increasingly important to seek out deep and meaningful insights and understand the why behind every metric. For insights teams, data collection is just as important as those products which help analyze that data. You can have all the reporting dashboards in the world, but if you are not collecting large amounts of customer feedback data, combining that data for deeper insights and looking at the relationship between qualitative feedback and it’s relationship to key business metrics such as revenue, retention, LTV etc, then you’re not getting the most value of your Insights process.
Everyone wants to do customer insights right but they're setting themselves up to fail if they rely on tools that automate what humans already do manually.
It’s also worth remembering that Insights is a specialist division within the organization, so it makes sense that a specialist product is used exclusively for insights.
A swiss-army knife works just fine as a last minute tool, but it’s not what anyone would prefer when given a choice. Why give your agents a CX platform that functions similarly? Instead of choosing a tool that has the option to serve as a:
- Chat platform
- Snippet manager
- Image manager
- NPS platform
- Email service
- Phone line
- AI analysis tool
- CSAT measurement platform
Choose the functions that are best in their class. Your agents and your customers will thank you.
Combine data for a holistic view
Every business is different. We have different metrics, different goals, and different strategies for serving our customers. The right customer experience system should be versatile enough to accommodate every single one of your organization’s CX metrics. Beyond that, it should be flexible enough to quickly pivot when your strategy does the same.
Uncovering those deep and meaningful insights will lead to uncovering actionable insights, those all important next steps in business decision making. If you can’t provide actionable insights then the value of Insights to your business is going to be reduced.
The best way you can be doing that is to combine multiple data sources so you can connect the dots between what customers say and those all important KPIs which you are actually measured on. Aggregate the best tools for the tasks that you’re doing in CX, and then combine all of their reporting functionality into one place. That will give you a holistic view of the entire customer journey, rather than a discrete view of individual touchpoints.
Within your customer experience journey, your customers may have hundreds of different touchpoints that each generate separate, but still helpful data. The data that you gain from the individual touchpoints will be more detailed than anything you’d pull from a combination tool. But, without an overarching view of all of your data, you don’t have any true perspective on your customer’s experience. Aggregating the precise data from each tool is one of the best ways to make impactful decisions about the future of your company’s CX.
Precise data is also essential when communicating the value of CX to your executive team. With a tool to aggregate information, you’ll be able to create sharable dashboards that give a bird’s eye view to all of the most critical customer insights. You won’t have to pull information from five different sources, and they’ll be able to check it whenever they want.
Unlock your customer insights data
You should own your data. Not only that, but you should feel empowered to analyze your data and move it between frameworks as needed. When signing up for an all-in-one CX platform, it may be challenging to get your existing information in or out of it as required.
Storing your data in-house and processing it on your own allows you to do what you want when you want. It also allows you to pivot and switch tools quickly if you need to. If you decide that what you’re using is no longer working for you, you won’t have to go through a song-and-dance to get all of your data out.
Tools like Snowflake, Google BigQuery and AWS provide databases for storing all of your information and pulling it as needed into other products or services. Some other reasons that data warehousing can be useful are:
- Save yourself some money. Allowing someone else to take care of hosting is less costly than doing so in-house.
- Give yourself some security. Services like Google BigQuery will suffer at least 60% fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centers.
- Ability to integrate with separate platforms and funnel your data where you need it. Take your data out of the silo.
- Layering business intelligence tools or using SQL on top of your data gives you the most flexible access to answer any questions you may have.
Make it your own
A tool exists for everything—why not find precisely what you need and combine them to create your perfect system? Let the chat specialists specialize in chat and the AI specialists specialize in AI while you reap the benefits. Keep control of your data and organize it in ways that you can uncover most meaningful insights and shareable.
No one can honestly tell you how to do customer experience properly but your customers. Use multiple tools to be innovating on how you serve them continually, but be sure to aggregate everything in one place. Doing so gives your organization the clearest, deepest understanding of your customers whilst also helping everyone in the company stay aligned on what you’re doing well and where opportunities exist to improve your CX. Your customer experience is unique to your company—your customer experience system should be too.
Everyone wants to do customer insights right but they're setting themselves up to fail if they rely on tools that automate what humans already do manually. That's just automation and isn't true innovation. Customer insights teams today are allowing technologies to reveal the areas that need the most improvement.