The customer experience is everything for your business. Your sustained growth depends on a healthy retention rate and a steady pipeline of new prospects. A quality customer experience boosts your reputation, the lifetime value of your accounts and your overall trustworthiness. Innovative technology, such as APIs that support AS/400 integration, are an essential part of positioning yourself as an organization that’s dedicated to your customers’ current and future needs.
What Do Your Customers Expect?
The first step in transforming your customer experience is learning more about what they expect at your touch points. They don’t come in with a clean slate. Instead, they compare you to your competitors and every company they interact with on a regular basis. Do you know how you measure up?
A thorough buyer persona or customer profile gives you the opportunity to establish their expectations. You may market to an audience that is used to companies offering the latest technology in their mobile apps, in-store experiences, and other contact points. This consumer wants a highly personalized experience that is pleasant, enjoyable and improves their quality of life.
Pay close attention to your competition and what they’re offering your audience. It takes time to fully deliver on customer expectations when you look at the full ecosystem that surrounds them. Focus on exceeding the experiences provided by your direct competitors as a starting point on this journey. You give consumers a compelling reason to choose you, and continuous improvements spur their loyalty.
Developing a 360 Degree Customer View
You’re sitting on a lot of data, but it doesn’t help you if you have to hunt it down in multiple departments or systems. Integrating the data from your AS/400 solutions and other platforms develops a comprehensive customer view. You can follow them throughout their initial journey and what they do after they convert. Everything from the first pieces of marketing content to their customer support tickets comes together for analysis.
This insight shapes the customer experience you can offer your target audience. Identify problem areas at any point in the process and discover ways to smooth it out for a seamless journey. Spend time optimizing the processes and technology used at critical points, such as when a prospect turns into a customer or the onboarding process.
Removing Walls Between Touch Points
You can’t succeed in today’s business world with silos dividing your operations into their own islands. Customers run into many frustrating issues with this kind of setup, such as inconsistencies in support that impact loyalty.
You have to remove these walls to remain competitive today and years from now. APIs make it possible to bring your systems, such as AS/400, into flexible applications that can leverage the data and functionality. Collaboration is key in making high-quality mobile first experiences that many consumers prefer, no matter which industry you’re in.
Empowering Frontline Employees
All of these changes mean nothing if you don’t use technology to empower frontline employees. They’re the ones representing the face of the company, and a poor interaction at this point can stand out in an otherwise good experience.
Customer-facing staff equipped with mobile devices that have integrated apps get essential tools for a happy customer experience. They can use the 360-degree customer information to personalize recommendations, learn about the best ways to handle troubleshooting problems and other useful features.
You can’t get by on price or product selection alone these days. If you want to put yourself in a competitive position that’s capable of sustaining a strong growth rate, your customer experience needs to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Written by Grant Sojnocki
Grant Sojnocki, President of Able-One Systems, has extensive experience in executive and leadership roles at innovative technology companies such as IBM, Arrow Electronics, Neopost and Avnet. His positive outlook, passion and creative thinking skills serve him well when it comes to digital transformation, allowing him to deliver high-value solutions to Able-One Systems' clients.