The digital future is here, and enterprises must learn how to engage with their customers or be "left in the dust," Gartner analyst Hung LeHong warned the crowd during his keynote at the Gartner Customer 360 Summit in Orlando, FL, in mid-May.
From sales transactions to customer support, relationship management is changing drastically as customers continue to expect increasingly personalized, but quick and effective experiences, LeHong explained.
Expectations are growing, fellow Gartner analyst Michael Maoz agreed, largely because customers are looking for a "concierged" service experience. "If your company can't give them the kind of experience that they can get on Pinterest or elsewhere for free, then they won't pay for your service, and they'll get it elsewhere," he added.
While disruptive technologies such as social media and mobile devices are lowering customer loyalty, it is possible to buck the trend. The key, analysts agree, is not only taking a 360-degree view of the customer, but also giving customers a 360-degree view of themselves.
"As a customer, I want to see what I bought and am now considering, the channels I used last time, my satisfaction score, the facts I should know about the business, the possible connections with others like me, sites that can help me, internal products that I am waiting for, services that I have hoped for, and stuff that I need but don't know that I need," Maoz said.
To offer the kinds of experiences that consumers crave, enterprises must consider automating additional processes. When it comes to customer service, for example, the scale at which enterprises conduct business will require them to move past humans and rely on virtual assistants. Interactions with digital channels will only increase, LeHong said, and organizations will have to automate certain responses to keep up.
Still LeHong urged enterprises to proceed cautiously."Enterprises will never be able to automate entire relationships, and they shouldn't try to do that," he said.