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The Future of CX Is Orchestrated Engagement
Forward-thinking companies must find ways to make the cacophony of customer experience technologies play together
For the rest of the August 2017 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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Customer experience (CX) software suites from technology vendors aim to provide businesses with a seamless experience across marketing, sales, and service, offering a single view of the customer. But they can lead to a great deal of complexity: fragmented technology stacks that can contain upwards of 29 disparate point solutions.

But that complexity creates a new opportunity—orchestrated customer engagement, which entails balancing new and legacy technologies to enable agility and collaboration in customer journeys; deliver actionable insights; predict future outcomes; and deliver continuous innovation. Orchestrated engagement represents the future of customer experience.

CX FAILURES START WITH FRAGMENTATION AND TECHNICAL DEBT

Technology providers are trying to deliver the next generation of CX, through platforms that promise to provide a single view of the customer while unifying sales, marketing, and service. Unfortunately, they’re falling short of this promise as corporate mergers and acquisitions and poor leadership often leave users with an increasingly fragmented CX technology stack that must be managed despite inevitable gaps in technical expertise.

In fact, Constellation’s research shows that organizations each use an average of 27 to 29 CX software solutions from as many as 23 to 25 vendors. These solutions include sales force automation (SFA), marketing automation, advertising platforms, social media management, community management, and more. Organizations use only a fraction of their functionality, and the expertise required to maintain and expand usage of CX software creates not only a high barrier to efficient operation but an institutional inertia toward failure.

Consequently, companies must ask themselves: How does a business make all of these point solutions work together? How does a business optimize existing investments and innovate for the future?

WHY CX TECHNOLOGIES STRUGGLE TO MEET CUSTOMER NEEDS

CX technologies have been around for two decades, but still have not addressed the core needs of companies. These shortcomings happen for six reasons:

1. Outdated systems and expertise hamper business strategy. Organizations have under-invested in digital transformation and continue to operate legacy systems on dated technology. As a result, the next generation of workers lacks the domain expertise to operate and maintain these legacy technologies, leading to organizations paying high consulting fees for retired employees to perform system maintenance.

2. Functional fiefdoms hinder collaboration. Traditionally, departments, divisions, or product lines dictated the alignment of people, processes, technology, and business models. Unfortunately, these structures create fiefdoms. The traditional rivalries between sales and marketing, IT and finance, IT and business, and commerce and supply chain often result in perverse incentives. For example, optimizing product availability to meet customer orders may result in supply chain inefficiencies, while optimizing supply chain efficiencies may result in shortages on certain items.

3. Integration addresses data deficiencies but not process gaps. After spending millions of dollars cobbling together disparate systems, companies find that customer journeys remain disjointed and inflexible. The agility required to meet the needs of today’s customer journeys dictates a focus on CX processes and orchestration. In fact, many of these processes and sub-processes are reused to create new customer experiences. Though required as a first step, software integration alone fails to address the full customer journey.

4. Short-term mentality inhibits long-term foundation. Leaders compensated for short-term gain often bet on the latest trend or fad instead of fixing foundational issues. Software investments in a customer model or analytics often take a backseat to projects of the moment. Often, organizations find that after millions of dollars have been spent on short-term projects, they still need to fix core infrastructure and key processes.

5. Disruptions from nontraditional competitors catch technology providers unprepared. Competition from nontraditional industries often catches CX technology providers off guard. Nontraditional competitors bring a customer-centric and design-thinking approach to new offerings. The result is a disruption at the customer adoption level, which shakes up existing business models. An example is Amazon Web Services entering the cloud contact center space.

6. Mergers and acquisitions often create uncertainty. The abundance of mergers and acquisitions in the CX technology market causes customers to question if integration levels or future product development will suffer. Organizations often find themselves defending their products from an acquiring vendor’s desire to rationalize product road maps and investment in new capabilities.

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To contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com
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