No reasonable person can deny the extent to which technology has taken on a profound meaning in daily life. Today, the way that names of tech gurus such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have become pop culture symbols alongside sports heroes and rock stars is testament to this. And in the world of CX, the technology innovation trend shows no sign of letting up.
In this context, last week BPO operator Inspiro held its annual Client Advisory Board (CABS) event for many of its enterprise partners from around the globe. The challenges that firms across the vertical spectrum face in terms of how best to manage their own end-users has been magnified over the past decade, due to the explosion of mobile technology, online buying and the growth of emerging contact channels. Failure to keep up means lost loyalty and long-term revenues.
Probably the most contentious CX tech matter facing customer management decision-makers today is choosing what solution set to invest in, and when. As noted by the Ryan Strategic Advisory 2023 Front Office CX Omnibus Survey published earlier this year, the ability to onboard everything tech-related is not an option for most enterprises; going into 2024, the majority of buy-side executives in major demand markets anticipate either flat or shrinking budgets. This means careful prioritization of CX technology needs.
That prioritization is no easy task. As noted by many enterprise customer management leaders at the Inspiro CABS meeting, internal demands for specific deployments are cumbersome, with different stakeholders making the case for why captive operations need to procure CX solutions that fulfill a set purpose. This was validated by the above-mentioned 2023 Front Office CX Omnibus Survey, in which a large majority of participants stated that they anticipate significant (and potentially competing) demand for a plethora of customer management technology offerings, including generative AI, various automation tools, knowledge management and different types of analytics.
Knowing what to buy is no easy task – especially amid hype cycles like the one that has been underway this year around generative AI and its impending CX revolution. The role for this advanced technology in customer management is undisputed; however, claims and capabilities are separate things. Thus, smart CX tech leaders need to be able to guide their corporate leadership in a pragmatic direction around what these offerings can do today, and where short-term limitations may exist. Avoiding shiny-new-object syndrome is a skill that every in-house contact center team needs to have in order to avoid wasting valuable resources and time.
And, from a technology standpoint, there should be no dispute that this aspect of customer management can no longer be siloed away from the broader commercial objectives of the organization. CX tech has the potential to drive new revenue opportunities. But in order for this to happen, those responsible for its deployment and operation need to have a seat at the strategic table. All solutions under consideration must be vetted for how they will help increase sales, efficiently support interactions of all types, help front-line teams perform better, and better know the end-user. The days of the technology team in customer management being off to the side with no strategic skin in the game are over.
In order to make this happen, enterprise CX departments need to bring in technology experts, not just “visionaries” but big thinkers who grasp the business aspect of what solutions can do for the firm, and who can break down the siloes between the different offerings and with other parts of the organization. Inspiro’s CABS meeting highlighted that to compete more effectively in an era of heightened consumer expectations, technology has a major role to play. But, all stakeholders need to think differently about how it is positioned within the organization as well as the profile of the people leading the division.