Resources - White Papers
Supercharging Customer Obsession with Integration
With rapidly changing customer demands and technological landscape, organizations are forced to change their development, sales and operation methodologies. Customers, today, not only ask just for quality products or best-of-breed solutions, but also look for an exceptional experience throughout their journey with a brand.
Delivering a phenomenal experience becomes extremely important in today’s digital world because every negative experience is exponentially magnified and exposed to all future customers. Customers are more than halfway through their buying journey, based on their digital research and personal recommendation, before even engaging with any of the touchpoints. So, customer experience is not only key to retaining a customer with the brand but also turning them into your advocate for other customers. This has placed enormous demands on the productivity of various teams within the organizations and they are compelled to choose the tools best suited for their jobs, resulting in siloed tools. So, is it even possible to deliver a quality product/solution with seamless experience?
The key to providing a hassle-free, holistic experience to the customers lies in creating a customer-centric ecosystem by: integrating the primary customer touchpoints – the 3-S: Solutions, services, and sales – and delivering excellence at all these touchpoints.
In this white paper, we will discuss in detail the need to create a customer-centric ecosystem and the ways in which one can integrate the three primary customer touchpoints – the 3-S (Solutions, services, and sales) – to create a customer-centric ecosystem.
Why customer centricity: The changing needs of the customers
Customer needs have evolved with time. Quality of product is not enough to keep a customer satisfied. The customers, today, when making a purchase decision, give equal importance to the experience that they will potentially have throughout their journey with a brand.
But what all does a good, holistic experience entail?
A holistic customer experience means delivering not only great solutions but also an exceptional and enriching engagements with customers at all major touchpoints: Support, sales, and services.
To give customers a holistic experience, organizations with customer-centric focus ensure that the customers receive: high quality solutions, faster response, and superior self service experience through
Disconnected teams can’t create seamless experience
It is not possible to deliver quality products and seamless experience with disconnected teams and siloed tools, because teams lack cross-functional transparency and rich collaboration.
For example, let’s take the scenario of one our customers, which, in the past, struggled to achieve customer centricity due to the disconnect between the three-primary customer touchpoints: Solutions, services, and sales.
Customer was not satisfied because of lack of information on issues raised. The self-service ITSM portal had to be updated manually by services team as and when they received information from the solutions team about the bug. Services team struggled with setting the right expectations with various customers due to lack of visibility in real time status of defects. They often relied on scheduled touchpoints with solutions team to get status of the defects and manually update the ITSM system.
Solutions team was working on various issues and prioritizing the defects and new features in the ALM system immediately, but could only provide that information to services team in their scheduled meetings. This often resulted in reprioritization at the last minute to include a fix for an important customer in the current release. Sales team had no visibility in their CRM system about all the incidents raised by their customer and status of those incidents. That information was only available in ITSM system, and they often walked into a customer meeting with an unhappy customer due to open issues.
Sales team was frustrated as they were unable to provide feedback on prioritization done by solutions team, as they only got to know about the prioritization only when the release comes out. The solutions team was also unaware of criticality of a feature as they didn’t get direct feedback from the sales team on the scheduling. This situation resulted in customer feeling that the organization was not focused on customer experience.
The major reason behind this situation was the disconnect between the primary customer touchpoints:
- Person-to-person mode of communication made data exchange and communication – cumbersome, error-prone and time consuming.
- There was no end-to-end customer context available to the teams, and therefore, each of them was working in a silo with incomplete and often stale information.
- The services team didn’t have complete visibility into the developers’ prioritization and status of customer issues.
- The solutions team didn’t have direct feedback from the account team on criticality of an incident. The sales team didn’t have real-time status information of the current state of customer requests (incidents, enhancement requests, etc.).
A situation like this is common in a disconnected ecosystem, where teams trying to execute a common business goal – don’t have sufficient cross-functional transparency and collaboration to successfully achieve it.
In an ecosystem like this:
Due to the lack of cross-team visibility and communication gaps, customers experience multiple setbacks, and don’t get the desired solution in time. This results in poor customer satisfaction, leading to lower customer retention and higher likelihood of a negative review.
The dilemma between functionality and collaboration
To achieve the desired level of collaboration, organizations, sometimes, consider switching to a single vendor solution, which will not only provide functionally rich tools to individual stakeholders, but can help them streamline data across teams and keep them up-to-date with all vital information.
Single vendor solutions provide not only less functionality, thereby inherently impacting the productivity of individual teams. Best-of-breed solutions from multiple vendors help in creating a functionally rich, but disconnected ecosystem.
Is there a better option?
By integrating best-of-breed tools, organizations can have best of both worlds- rich collaboration and rich functionality. Integration solutions such as OpsHub Integration Manager (OIM) seamlessly integrate best-of-breed tools with each other. Integration of these tools using OIM creates a scalable ecosystem that supports automation, provide analytics and is future ready. An integration, like the one facilitated by OIM, requires minimal or no change in the end system configurations. Therefore, the teams working in this ecosystem, can work efficiently using the tools of their choice while having the full context in real time.
How does a well-integrated, customer-centric ecosystem function?
In a well-integrated customer-centric ecosystem, the primary customer touchpoints, i.e., solutions, services, and sales, are integrated in a way that cross-functional transparency and customer focus become inherent. For example, a customer issue received by the services team will sync to the solutions and sales systems in real-time. The pipeline, priorities, and the status for work for the solutions team will be visible to the sales and services team. Any updates or changes to the pipeline, priorities, or status will also be notified to the sales and services team in real time. This will enable the services team to provide real-time updates to the customer, the solutions team to prioritize the tasks keeping in mind the complete customer context, and sales team to have full visibility into the progress of a customer request.
In an ecosystem like this:
Due to the inherent transparency and collaboration in this setup:
- The exchange of customer data happens in real time, with complete context, and without any manually-induced errors and delays.
- All teams have holistic view of the customer information and all of them work with unified set of facts and each team is enabled to independently make right decisions.
- Teams are no longer spending time to sync-up information with other teams, thereby focusing more on building great solutions and experiences.
- Driving excellence for the customer becomes a goal for not just for the services team but everyone in the organization.
Efficiency gains come from connecting the dots; in this case, the dots are the three primary customer touchpoints – the 3-S of customer centricity: solution, services, and sales. Integrating these 3-S – solution, services, and sales – enables an organization to become more collaborative, productive, and customer-centric. The cross-functional collaboration achieved by this integration helps an organization in understanding customer’s business priorities, getting a complete context of their requirements, and effectively collaborating internally to deliver beyond customer’s expectation.
To seamlessly connect these primary customer touchpoints, organizations need to synergize their ecosystem using an enterprise class integration solution and create systemic collaboration of the kind that enables each person in the ecosystem to work efficiently using the tools of their choice, and with-out compromising on cross-functional transparency.
We, at OpsHub, have created a customer-centric ecosystem by integrating our 3-S together. To get a customized demo and more information about OpsHub, please write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.