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Digital Transformation and the Customer Experience

Andy Steen, head of strategic marketing at Avaya, believes there are many challenges associated with customer experience and that digital transformation is crucial to ensure a seamless customer journey.

Steen specializes in leading internal and external strategic communication initiatives with expertise in managing and developing high-performing communication teams and social, digital, and mobile-led business solutions. Steen also leads Avaya’s Sports Marketing Team.

“The most important thing to remember when you’re talking about Customer Experience (CX) is how your customers communicate with you,” Steen explained to Loyalty360. “People want to communicate across their channel of choice, and furthermore, they want their experience to be the same no matter what channel they are on. A smart company that wants to create customer loyalty will ensure it knows who its customer is each time they call or message in–no matter how many times the customer changes the medium. Customers want to have that agent on the other side say: ‘I know exactly why you’re calling’ instead of having to reiterate the same information every time as they are transferred to different departments and agents. It’s about maintaining consistent and persistent conversations on any channel.”

Digital transformation is something that Steen would recommend to any client.

“Digital transformation is what every business should be thinking about; businesses need to transform the customer journey using digital technologies to accelerate business and keep up,” she explained. “There are many external technology forces that will transform business, including AI, IoT, Cloud, Security, and Mobility; these technology drivers will change and shape business models and will ensure the customer journey is going where you want it to. It centers on digitizing and automating to better serve and understand customers’ needs. That’s the heart of CX.”

Avaya, which has one of the highest NPS scores in its industry, is a multinational technology company headquartered in Silicon Valley. Avaya provides a complete portfolio of software and services for contact center and unified communications—offered on premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid.

Most companies are doing loyalty like they did 10 years ago, Steen noted.

“However, consumers no longer want to ‘receive’ brand loyalty, they want to ‘experience’ brand loyalty,” she said. “Customers need more than points, coupons, and the occasional upgrade or incentive; loyalty programs must start with a mobile-first environment and lead with services that are relevant and contextual to the journey. For example, a hotel chain that provides an app which allows me to check-in, use my phone as a key, send a notification on my checkout date to book an Uber to the airport, and still upgrades my room−that is a hotel that will win my business. The new era of customer loyalty will be attained by the brands that deliver programs using technology to hyper-personalize and automate the journey.”

Steen believes it’s all about recognizing and identifying what you’re trying to measure and then ensuring you have the right analytics platform to capture this.

“It starts with understanding what your customers want across many different interactions, then compiling that data and the analytics to deliver your team insights to meet your customers’ needs and expectations,” Steen said. “In the end, it’s all about the insights and business intelligence you get from it to drive the customer journey.”

For Avaya, the customer journey starts with how its team communicates internally.

“You’ve got to find a mobile-first approach to video, voice, and chat that allows each team member to connect dynamically and effortlessly,” Steen explained. “Once you have the internal stuff right, then it’s about identifying what your customer is trying to accomplish. If their customer journey starts via chat, switches to voice, and ends in with a video interaction, then you need to make sure your journey provides an omnichannel approach. You need to make sure the contact center technology knows they’re the same customer across all channels so that the agent can provide a personalized experience. As they get closer to securing a service from you, it’s important to have a single view of the customer journey to know the highest value moments and inflection points.”

Steen offered an example from her recent travels.

“I was standing in the Immigration line for two hours thinking: ‘If only there was technology to automate this situation?’ and, of course, there is technology to automate this experience but the problem is–and this is the problem with most businesses–many are not leveraging technology efficiently and effectively to create better outcomes and workflow optimization,” she explained. “Now for Immigration, that’s fine, you don’t have a choice but to stand in line; however, if you’re a business, that won’t work with your customers, they have a choice. They want an effortless experience that fits in with their lifestyle. You’ve got to digitize the way you used to do things because people won’t stand in line or wait on the phone, they’ll move to the next company, solution or service.”

Avaya recently conducted a proof of concept with a large merchant that is automating its home delivery system using drone technology.

Steen discussed the scenario: “You order something online, the order is fulfilled, and a drone delivers the package to your doorstep. As the drone drops the package, it takes a picture and sends you a notification to ask, ‘Your package is here. Is this your doorstep Y/N?’ If you reply ‘Yes’, then the package is delivered, but if you reply ‘No’, you will receive an SMS or mobile notification to click which will immediately connect you with an agent; and once you get to the agent, they already know why you are calling. The contact center technology automated the customer communication using workflow automation. Automating the journey is the key to delivering world-class CX and loyalty.”

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