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The Magic in Customer Experience

Appian Contributor
November 18, 2016

Do you believe in magic? I do.

I've seen a caterpillar magically transform into a butterfly...

David Copperfield walk through the Great Wall of China...

Even beer flow from an iPad at Oktoberfest!

These magical events rely on a combination of natural behavior, hard work, and innovative technology.

Guess what? So does delivering great customer experience.

These Magic Moments

Customer experience is a series of moments of discrete interactions that are at once personal and subjective. Connecting all these discrete personal moments has become the basis for sustained competitiveness. This effort part art, part science correlates to higher revenue growth.

Forrester Research's Customer Experience Index found that the companies providing the best customer experience also lead their business sector.

Innovating customer experience can be a competitive weapon, especially in industries like financial services where product differentiation has become difficult, if not impossible. Every industry reaches a point when a product no longer needs (or can justify) further improvement. At that point, winning becomes less about creating the next big product and more about improving the total customer experience.

Easy as a magician's wave of the wand you say?

Not so fast.

Transforma Experioso

Digitally innovating for better customer experience is a worthwhile but difficult objective. Whomever you think should own the customer experience be it CIO, CMO or LOB executive no one can simply cast a Harry Potter-esque transformation spell and magically create great customer experience.

Harry had Hermione and Ron to make the magic happen. Likewise, enterprises require a team approach to go about improving customer experience.

Traditional banks are struggling to transform and improve their customer interaction, as they face increasing pressure from disruptive FinTech competitors. Fundamentally, how banks deal with information needs to change over to a customer-centric view. Yet, digitally transforming to become truly customer-centric remains incredibly difficult for financial institutions still mired in legacy technology and operational models.

Delivering a great customer experience for traditional banks means insulating customers, as well as those who serve them, from the complexity of the back-office. For IT, marketing, and lines of business, the answer may well be a digital platform that can sit between legacy systems and the customer experience.

Technology like this leaves the separate lines of business systems intact, while simplifying cross-organizational communications and customer information views. With this in place, converging data from across the organization results in far greater flexibility for building the right digital that's meaningful for all the right reasons.

The Floating [Digital] Platform

Flipping to a customer-centric information view is only the first step banks also have the challenge of lifting customer-facing processes up and out of channel silos.

Financial services customers expect omni-channel experiences. Driving process across channels is no longer a nice-to-have, it's a requirement.Yet despite the progress, most enterprises lack the operational foundation to deliver great omni-channel customer experience(check out this short vid!).

To achieve the lift required for omni-channel, there needs to be some kind of supportÖjust like the famous "floating platform" levitation magic trick.

In this trick, what lies beneath plays a critical part. A steel rod disguised to appear as one of the magician's legs supports the platform.

In the same way, an underlying digital platform supports the omni-channel customer experience, not only helping to automate processes to span channel communications, but also assisting knowledge workers to make smarter decisions about customer requests and preferences.

Customer Experience Is Magic, You Know

British author Arthur C. Clarke wrote:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

We all agree that improving customer experience can be part art, part science. It's time to admit that it is also part magicÖthe part that takes advantage of natural customer behavior, works hard behind the scenes, and depends on innovative technology to exceed expectations.

Never believe it's not so.

Deb Miller,Director ofIndustry Marketing


A version of this article appeared in CMSWire.