How Bespoke Solutions Deliver A Better Customer Experience
Delivering an exceptional customer experience has become a key priority for an increasing number of C-suite leaders. But the right methods can be elusive, read on to get key insights as to how bespoke solutions will deliver a far superior customer experience which in turn leads to positive customer feedback and usually results in customer loyalty and customer satisfaction.
The first step is to start by mapping out the customer journey, which is specific to each organisation. A one-size-fits-all customer journey mapping service is not a solution you should consider. At the outset they may look similar, but once you get more granular, it is easy to see how they differ from business to business. And since each customer journey is unique to each business, so will the solution be too.
As published by mycustomer.com “customer experience management evolved from being a discipline that was often dismissed by those in the C-suite, to a practice that is pivotal to many of today’s company strategies, championed by a CX leader with a seat at the top table.”
One solution to every problem
All businesses experience the same problem at some point: How to improve their customer service. Generally speaking, improving customer experience requires examining all three phases of pre-purchase, consumption and post-purchase. In each of these phases there will be multiple touch points with customers and each touch point contributes to the overall customer experience. The most common one that cannot be ignored is mobile device touch points.
Image Source: Ashine Consultancy
Unfortunately, as innocent as it seems, trying to implement the same solution for all types of businesses is not the correct way to fix the problem. Each business is unique, and each customer journey is unique, and most importantly each business uses a unique set of tools and processes. Trying to implement a standard set of tools and processes will be very challenging, some of the very common issues will be:
- Digital channels chosen might be different (one preferred over the other)
- Application landscape is very different
- Technologies used could be different
- Systems used might be a combination of legacy and latest
- Underlying infrastructure might not support the tools or vice-versa
- End-to-end system Integration may not be possible
- Processes may need to adapt to the system due to lack of support
- Automation may seem too distant
These issues will still be true even if you have multiple businesses that sell the same type of product or service. Businesses grow organically and along the journey will have implemented various processes and adopted various tools that serve their needs at a point in time. Hence evaluating and mapping out the current landscape is key before trying to define the solution.
Can bespoke software fix the problem?
The other end of the spectrum is to create bespoke software. Developing bespoke software is generally a large-scale project which will need a dedicated team to deliver it and crucially, need buy-in from stakeholders within the leadership team and the IT department.
Once the system is successfully implemented, it will immediately provide tangible benefits to the business. Since the system developed is fully bespoke it will of course serve its purpose, but be mindful that it will need to be designed to evolve as the business needs change:
- Customer behaviour evolves to adopt new digital channels
- Changes in the business relating to products or services
- Change in business operating model
- External changes impacting the business such as regulations, compliance etc.
- Business acquisitions introducing changes in landscape and infrastructure
- Supplier availability for implementing the changes required
Over a period of time, the system can become monolithic with numerous customisations. This can manifest itself in performance degradation and difficulty maintaining it. Also due to the fact the software is fully bespoke, cost of ownership will be high. Even replacing the entire system will be daunting and cause disruption to business operations. Bespoke software might be the right solution if you are trying to fill the gap in the short term, but should not be for implementing a long-term whole life solution for customer experience.
Bespoke solutions vs bespoke software
Striking the right balance is very important, hence bespoke solutions should be selected over bespoke software. Here’s the difference between bespoke solutions and bespoke software:
‘A bespoke solution is more focused on defining the solution specific to the organisation but not to create new software. The definition of a bespoke solution is ‘a combination of multiple systems and processes. In other words, the system that will be implemented will be Best-of-breed, and might be from multiple vendors, but will satisfy all the requirements for the organisation.’
As suggested by dixa: “A recent survey shows that post-COVID-19, 59% of consumers will care even more about customer experience than they did in the ‘before times’ when deciding which companies to support or buy from.”
In order to define the bespoke solution for improving customer experience follow this four-phase approach:
This is a period whereby you gain a deep understanding of the customer journey and each touch point and should be a compulsory step. Mapping out the customer journey would need you to define end-to-end processes with different combinations of touch points, any digital channels that will be used in line with current trends and finally detailing all systems currently in use.
The next key phase is to analyse the findings from the discover phase. Thoroughly review the processes and identify the gaps which could help improve the customer experience. The analysis phase will need to consider 3 focus points which includes people, process and technology.
- People: Clearly identify the list of stakeholders who are either directly or indirectly involved in the customer journey
- Process: Detailed mapping of business process end-to-end from level 1 to 5
- Technology: Identify the list of systems that are currently be used throughout the customer journey.
The solution should now be defined in a way it is sustainable in the long run and be able to adopt to changing customer behaviours, changing digital channels, changing operating models and finally be able to adhere to compliance requirements. The solution should also address various other aspects including process optimisation, end-to-end integration, promote automation, manage data and be able to generate reports for better decision making. Once the solution is defined a detailed action plan is required to implement the solution.
The agreed bespoke solution can be implemented with an agile approach ensuring continuous improvements to the customer experience. Since the solution implemented is incremental, it is very important to monitor the customer journey using the data produced at each and every touch point. This will make sure the solution is implemented in a way that delivers the best customer experience.
How Can ACS Help?
We at ACS understand the challenges our clients face to deliver better customer experience. We have a wealth of experience and have helped various clients to define and implement bespoke solutions. We focus on customer centricity, allowing us to implement best-in class bespoke solution to your needs.
To start discussing your own bespoke Customer Experience Strategy get in touch with our team of expert consultants for a free consultation. We have also written a Free Guide to Implementing the Best Customer Experience Strategy which can be downloaded.