Building Empathetic Customer Experiences with Moments That Matter

BrandPost By Steve Forcum
Oct 13, 2021
IT Leadership

In an age of increasing automation and artificial intelligence, promoting warmth, understanding, and humanity through greater personalization, connection, and emotion has become a secret sauce for business success.

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Credit: iStock

By nature, we humans are emotional creatures with a myriad of feelings that continuously influence and shape our thoughts and decisions. Thanks largely to influences like Amazon and other leading online retailers, we’ve come to expect fast, easy, and differentiated interactions. For example, a search for gardening gloves can turn into a perfectly timed Alexa notification; the gloves are now half off and can be delivered tomorrow—would you like to order?

It’s these interactions that now conjure up positive emotions and keep us coming back for more. It’s not surprising that in a report from Accenture of 8,000 consumers surveyed, 91% said they were more likely to do business with brands that remember, recognize, and provide them with relevant recommendations and offers. In other words, we choose to buy from those that deliver simplified interactions that save us time and make us feel unique.

But as we all know, poor experiences remain common, highlighting the reality that many businesses still aren’t prioritizing personalization and empathy as part of their CX strategies. With outdated architectures that don’t have the flexibility to quickly support apps, functionality, and AI to deliver differentiated or personalized experiences, they often miss the mark when it comes to delivering loyalty-building personal connections with customers and real experiences that matter.

None of this is easy. There’s no singular, logical formula for delivering loyalty-building experiences. We’re all unique with our own interpretation of what constitutes greatness. But what is humanly universal is our need for empathy. In an age of increasing automation and artificial intelligence, promoting warmth, understanding, and humanity through greater personalization, connection, and emotion has become a secret sauce for business success.

Thinking beyond the product Of course, having a superior product is just as important today as it has always been. But the smartest brands also understand that while success starts with a great product, it is more likely than ever to end with a bad experience. With customer engagement now happening in many different places and in many different ways, the likelihood of delivering an experience that is disjointed, slow, non-contextual − or just all-around unsatisfactory – increases exponentially. In other words, a one-size-fits-all approach to customer experience just doesn’t work anymore. Companies need to continue making investment post-sale in multiple touchpoints.

Compounding this challenge, customers are increasingly choosing the convenience of self-service, and they now feel comfortable engaging across multiple channels—sometimes at once. But they still expect that same level of differentiation and ease. So, what happens when they have a complex issue that requires escalation? If the transition to chat or voice isn’t seamless and contextual, the experience can become a fork in the road. Regardless of the resolution, customers who feel emotions of frustration, confusion, or irritation, will remember their less-than-positive experience and think twice about doing business with this brand again.

Another increasingly common scenario that emphasizes the importance of emotion and differentiation: when organizations expect customers to use a channel or solution that’s unfamiliar to them. In this era of social distancing, we’ve seen rapid, widespread adoption of video conferencing tools and other solutions to communicate and engage. While some customers appreciate the level of accessibility that they offer, they also can create feelings of intimidation for those who are unfamiliar with them. This becomes even more problematic when there are additional layers of applications required to complete an interaction. Application sprawl can creep into business processes, alienating customers—often without businesses realizing what they’re doing.

The need for composable customer experiences This recent period of change and uncertainty has underscored the critical importance of agility and resiliency. Complex, limiting architectures that don’t easily support the integration of apps and processes can’t deliver the differentiated experiences needed to keep up with the emotive, personalized interactions that customers now crave and expect.   

This has created very real challenges for CTOs, CIOs, CMOs, and the Chief Experience Officers who are finding it difficult to balance value creation with the increasing pace of change. They know they need to prioritize digital transformation, but many may not be in a position to invest in a complete platform upgrade right now.

This is where composability comes in.

With a composable cloud solution, organizations can quickly build out customer and employee experiences to differentiate while also delivering resiliency and agility. Innovation can happen in smaller, more manageable chunks through a modern continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline. This can be done when companies combine a solution’s individual capabilities with a business’s greater CX ecosystem, marketplaces, and differentiating solutions that use open APIs and developer tools.

A case in point is Standard Chartered, a leading international banking and financial services company, which faced the challenge of delivering personalized and consistent client service, irrespective of channel. As a truly global bank in 60 of the world’s most dynamic markets, Standard Chartered chose Avaya’s OneCloud solution to help them take advantage of composability to achieve their mission of providing digital banking with a human touch. For Standard Chartered, this meant delivering high channel availability, repeatability across markets, and clear integration with the contact center their clients commonly use to escalate issues. With a flexible, future-ready solution, they can cater to new channels—even ones that haven’t yet emerged. And they can also support more sophisticated technologies at their own pace to further enhance customer journeys and derive insights to guide more differentiated experiences.

Cloud and composability: the great equalizer While a composable solution, like Avaya OneCloud, offers plenty of benefits to a large company like Standard Chartered, it can also help smaller businesses looking to innovate and deliver more empathetic experiences. In fact, the powerful mix of cloud and composability can be a tremendous equalizer, offering access to the same capabilities that larger organizations enjoy with greater in-house expertise. With the ability to easily integrate powerful AI capabilities and data-driven automation into customer journeys, businesses of all sizes can create the differentiated, empathetic experiences that build engagement, loyalty, and positive emotions.  

Put empathy into action Are you ready to think beyond limiting technologies and create experiences that leave your customers feeling satisfied and grateful? With a future-ready CPaaS solution, you’ll have what you need to drive more meaningful connections and relationships without having to rip and replace existing infrastructure.

Learn more about the power of Avaya OneCloud CPaaS.