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Exclusive: How Australian businesses can foster customer loyalty with CX

Recently IT Brief had the opportunity to talk to Michael Slip, GM of CX at Dimension Data Australia about CX, AI and digital transformation.

To start off with can you tell me a bit more about yourself and CX?

I’m the General Manager of Customer Experience at Dimension Data Australia. I am passionate about ensuring our customers have access to a compelling suite of CX solutions so that they can deliver experiences which today’s customer demands. In a time of digital disruption, CX has emerged as a true differentiator and can drive business performance and create customer loyalty that spans a lifetime.

How can Australian businesses foster loyalty with customer bases through CX?

From boardrooms to meeting rooms, there’s an overwhelming recognition of the importance of CX -- particularly when it comes to building customer loyalty. Yet our research highlights that over a quarter (27%) of Australian organisations are dissatisfied with the customer experience they’re delivering. Only 11% believe they’re delivering experiences that would lead customers to recommend them to others meaning they’re missing out on a massive business opportunity.

To deliver successful CX and foster loyalty with customers, Australian organisations must embrace change and stop doing business as usual. Developing a CX-centric, market-relevant strategy that’s driven from the boardroom will help to create more value for customers and the business.

As the number of channels grows, many organisations are falling into the trap of silo management, which hinders both digital and workforce optimisation, why is this?

This is often attributed to a lack of ownership — a misunderstanding as to which business unit is responsible for owning channels and driving CX initiatives within an organisation. More often than not, CX isn’t represented at board-level, however, it should be a shared responsibility and a common organisational goal. Our research found that only 14% of organisations take a fully integrated, centralised approach to CX which indicates there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to avoiding the traps of silo management.

At a technology and operational level, it is common for different CX channels to be implemented on disparate systems delivered by separate organisational departments. As a result, disconnected customer journeys are created. A frequent reason why organisations end up in this situation is a lack of governance of shadow IT decisions where agility of channel deployment creates a siloed CX hangover.

How can businesses avoid the aforementioned issues?

The customer is king and CX should be high on the agenda for every business. To implement a CX strategy successfully, it’s important to not only assign a CX lead but to listen to what your customers want. As customers evolve and expectations change, organisations must keep pace or risk falling behind. The delivery of CX should be adapted in parallel with the evolution of customers — these are insights that can only be collected by those working closely with the customer as it requires a clear understanding of their needs and user journeys.

A technology strategy and architecture roadmap needs to evolve to support the CX strategy whilst maintaining performance and robustness. It is all about agility with stability. One of the keys to success and how to avoid issues like siloed CX is for business and technology teams to be intrinsically engaged across planning, implementation and operations.

How can organisations leverage the latest technologies to keep pace?

Australian organisations are looking to AI and robotics to improve CX, enhance employee engagement and increase operational efficiencies.

While there are cost savings by replacing humans with robots, it’s not a panacea – it’s important to implement a hybrid approach as Australians still want a human element to their customer support. A hybrid model results in efficiency by combining CX reality through human value, which also has the benefit of improving the employee experience.

Cloud-based technology has previously not been a mainstay of CX technology. Although cloud-based CX has been around for years, we’re now seeing larger, complex deployments moving to more mature hybrid cloud environments. The benefits of cloud-based CX range from scalability, to agility and enhanced security.

Customer experience is mission-critical for organisations, so responding to changes in customer behaviour requires a technology roadmap that balances new capabilities with robust performance

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