How modern apps improve customer experience and business performance

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  • 21 Jul 2022

How modern apps improve customer experience and business performance

 

Your customers can come in contact with your brand in many ways: website, mobile app, social networks, stores, advertising, chatbots, call centers... Their opinion is formed and influenced by the sum and the coherence of these elements; this is what we call the customer experience or CX. CX is going to be essential for you to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Mapping your digital touchpoints and measuring their impact on the overall customer experience, loyalty and brand image is a difficult exercise but essential to your business process. In a recent Qualtrics study, 65% of customers said that when recommending a brand to friends and family, the quality of their experience on the website or mobile application is one of the most important factors.

 

 

Make marketing and developers work hand in hand

 

Digital trends and uses pose new challenges to marketing teams every day; everything is fast-paced and quick to change. Customers are over-solicited, have little time to spare and want powerful pages that load quickly. They want to understand your brand phenotype through more meaningful but authentic experiences. Finally, to make a decision and make a purchase, they want to be able to trust you. Trust comes through the provision of accurate, contextualized and personalized information. This accuracy must be maintained while keeping strong storytelling around your brand.
To keep customers engaged, marketing teams and developers must collaborate around maintain this delicate balance. How do they do this? By iteratively creating and testing digital experiences that make the most of modern digital applications.

 

 

The old adage of the hammer

 

The old marketing adage that "no customer wants a hammer, they want to hang a picture on the wall" is especially true here. No customer wants a multi-channel experience, they want to be able to pick up where they left off, regardless of their device. They don't want a secure login or SSO, they just want their device to be remembered when they log in. Customers don't want an automated process that connects your ERP to your CRM, they want to be able to easily verify or modify an order placed.

 

How can organizations do this when all their customers are unique and have different uses? The issue of unifying engagement channels is going to be critical.

 

Let's take the example of an interaction with customer service. Some users will prefer to interact with live chat, others will prefer the instantaneous side of a chatbot, and still, others will use their phone to exchange in person. The customer service department must be able to easily take over a chatbot discussion and then finish with a phone call while tracking the whole thing on the CRM.

 

The glue needed to unify all these engagement channels is two words: data.

 

 

Data at the heart of the marketing approach

 

Putting CX at the heart of your approach is a holistic strategy that requires cultural, technological and process change within your organization.
Traditional development methods will quickly clash with this strategy. Low iterative processes with long delivery trains make it difficult to continuously improve the customer journey. Creating modern, omnichannel customer journeys from monolithic solutions (ERP, CRM, CMS...) can result in siloed or disjointed interactions that will generate friction. Touching one brick of the system will require the entire system to evolve.

 

Modern customer experiences require that all of your data sources and touchpoints can communicate with each other. Implementing such a system will require breaking down your monolithic solutions into decoupled microservices to provide modularity, portability and autonomy to the data. A microservice is a software brick that has its own database and its own way of communicating with the outside world (API). The "micro" aspect comes from the fact that it is sufficiently decoupled and independent not to impact other applications if it evolves or disappears.

 

However, if you only look at the topic of microservices and APIs from a purely technical perspective, you are only solving half the problem. Let's take an order management system as an example. You need to expose APIs with business roles such as creating or modifying an order in the context of an online sales site. The design of these APIs will draw on data from various applications: stock management, CRM, and product catalogue, which will make it very dependent on any changes to these bricks.

 

Data is the critical element of a solid customer experience, and marketing teams must take ownership of its governance. Using intermediate bricks such as a data lake or a data warehouse (now easy to set up thanks to managed services in the cloud) as data repositories will facilitate access to data to ultimately serve your customer experience challenges.

 

This very granular and data-oriented way of designing your digital application is definitely modern. At Smile, we call them "modern apps" (CQFD!).

 

 

Towards an exhaustive vision of the customer journey

 

Facilitating access to data is not an end in itself: it remains to analyze them to give them meaning.

 

Exploiting data to manage a prospect's context in real-time, and to perceive his or her progress in the transformation funnels, are all projects to be carried out to give meaning to data. We can even go further and work around AI and machine learning algorithms to lead to hyper-personalization of your offer, or even predictive analysis - two essential points for a modern customer experience.

 

 

Implementation methodology

 

The issue of data is often buried within global action plans or strategies and is fragmented and treated in silos. A dedicated strategy allows you to avoid this pitfall and to reap strong benefits:

  • Offer new services to your customers and partners
  • Improve operational efficiency and save money 
  • Reduce risk and ensure regulatory compliance 
  • Drive innovation within your organization and positive externalities
  • Communicate through your data (data storytelling, data visualization)
  • Strengthen customer loyalty and enthusiasm (aggregating customer knowledge).

 

The work of valorization of the data is consequent and is justified only by the concretization of associations with useful, usable, and used services (rule of "3 U") in particular for :

  • Referencing and collaboration (Cataloging, RACI...)
  • Aggregate customer knowledge (Feedback, surveys, VUC ...)
  • Communicate and represent (Activity reports, CSR, Dataviz ...)
  • Embedded operational dashboards (KPIs)
  • Centralize data and make it accessible via APIs
  • Facilitate innovation and acculturation via portals (mapping, graphics, etc.)

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