Byron Fernandez is EVP and Group CIO at TDCX.
Digital transformation continues to be a priority in today’s business landscape, with companies taking a variety of approaches to it. As a CIO, I must admit I have a fascination with “shiny new toys” and often cannot wait to get knee-deep in experimenting with its potential applications to the business. To ensure that we get the best outcome, it is therefore important to have a clear view of the end goal and not forget that tech is ultimately an enabler for the business.
The business landscape is tougher than ever. Business sentiment is further dampened as the global economy is still not out of the woods. In such times, organizations often find themselves having to reduce costs to protect their business interests in the long term. While we tighten our belts, there is one key area that I would maintain if not minimize cuts to, and that is in customer experience (CX).
Research has repeatedly shown that keeping your customers happy and finding better ways to engage with them is not just crucial for survival but also to thrive in a tough economic climate. For instance, according to PwC’s Customer Loyalty Executive Survey 2023, 87% of executives and 51% of consumers in the United States agreed that an online shopping experience can negatively impact loyalty if it is not as easy or enjoyable as shopping in person.
The survey also found that the quality of products or services is the primary driver of loyalty across major industries such as consumer goods, technology and airlines. Hence, continuing to invest in CX is a good way to gain a strategic advantage in the long run.
Tech is key to providing great CX.
Technology has an immense impact on the way a business delivers CX. This in turn has a direct correlation to revenue.
With the right data infrastructure in place, businesses are able to collect and analyze vast amounts of data related to customer behavior, preferences and purchase history. The analysis of such data enables personalized marketing and product recommendations, creating a tailored experience for each customer. When customers feel understood and catered to, they are more likely to engage and make a purchase.
Technology also enables businesses to offer a seamless and consistent experience across multiple channels—website, mobile app, social media, email and more. Customers appreciate it when they can easily reach out to a brand through their preferred channel. Customers appreciate it even more when the brand is able to pick up on their conversation history across different channels, creating a truly omnichannel experience.
Empowering Internal Stakeholders To Build Brand Loyalty
People often think about the customer journey when it comes to CX. However, the internal environment is equally important.
When companies have an agile, robust and responsive tech operating system, internal teams will be able to easily access the insights they need to make informed decisions. This affects teams across the entire organization, including product development, sales, customer service, training and development, and strategy.
Not only will internal stakeholders have visibility over the improvements needed from their team, but tech teams will also have a greater understanding of the issue. This helps tech teams develop a better appreciation of how technology solves business problems which leads to greater ownership and cross-functional support.
Planning For Outstanding CX
The role of the CIO is vastly different from what it used to be, primarily driven by technology advancements that are key to providing exceptional CX. The CIO has a critical role to play in using technology and data to enhance interactions, optimize processes and align business strategies with customer needs and expectations to deliver good CX.
Here are five things CIOs should keep in mind when designing technological solutions.
Customer Journey Mapping And Optimization
In collaboration with other departments, the customer journey across all touchpoints must be mapped. Technology-enabled analysis of these journeys allows for the identification of bottlenecks, friction points and opportunities for improvement, ultimately enhancing overall CX.
Customer-Centric Technology Solutions
CIOs should also ensure that technology solutions are customer-centric. Whether it is a user-friendly website, intuitive mobile app or efficient customer service platform, these solutions should prioritize ease of use and accessibility to enhance CX.
Innovative Technological Solutions
As CIO, one must foster innovation by exploring and adopting emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, chatbots, virtual reality or augmented reality. Integrating these technologies can revolutionize CX by providing personalized recommendations, efficient support and immersive experiences.
However, it is also important for CIOs to exercise caution when adopting new technologies. For example, in the area of large language models (LLM), it is key to ensure that the output is accurate and that all customer data is safeguarded.
Acknowledging The Human Element
As technology transforms processes and automation for efficiency becomes de rigueur, CIOs should also consider the interplay between technology and humans. Automation frees up human resources which should be channeled to areas that technology is unable to replicate, such as creative thinking and human empathy.
The Value Of Specialist Service Providers
It can be difficult to determine the best way forward when faced with multiple competing priorities and demands from internal stakeholders. Hence, external partners, such as CX specialists, can sometimes help companies find a way forward. Such providers bring deep domain expertise and can help address the complexities of integrating technology into operational processes.
In the years to come, digital transformation will continue to be an important part of an organization’s growth plans. Therefore, CIOs hold a critical role in ensuring that the company is technologically well-positioned to deliver on its growth ambitions.
Ensuring the optimal use of technology in the customer journey can enhance CX, meet customer expectations and lead to increased sales and business growth. Businesses that invest in leveraging the power of technology to provide exceptional CX are positioning themselves strongly to compete in the digital economy.