Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  25 Jun 2013

INFOTECH: Taking Customer Experience to the Next Level


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The worldwide recession may be fading in some sectors, but its repercussions are only being felt now in others. This has resulted in many businesses having an increased focus on maximising value, and a greater need for that eternal business goal: greater efficiency.

Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Logikal Consulting, says that in light of this it is more important now than ever that companies know their customers better. “It’s common knowledge that the cost of keeping and growing an existing customer is much lower than getting new customers. As things get tighter, companies that up their game in terms of experience management will succeed where others fail.”

This is why, he says, an operational view of the customer is more important than ever. “When a company runs a distributed infrastructure with various tools managing various things – as most businesses do today – they need a unified view to be able to see what is happening on their network and to be able to extrapolate a perfect user experience. Most organisations can’t fathom the true cost of what they don’t know. For example, most customers don’t complete the transaction in an online environment if it takes them too long, or they feel it is too complicated. This is not only an IT issue – it’s a process issue.”

The eternal trifecta of shrinking budgets, stringent regulations and a hyper-competitive market have been putting pressure on businesses for years now, and a lack of insight into customer behaviour is only exacerbating the situation. Customer experience is the buzzword touted by industry experts and analysts as a solution to this problem, but Naidoo points out that many focus only on one area where it is an integrated concept that encompasses everything from marketing to the IT backbone of a company.

“Customer experience is about quickly and accurately responding to customer needs, and at the moment, no-one seems to know what’s happening within their customer base. This is as true of service providers like the cellular networks as it is of traditional retail businesses such as clothing stores. A customer needs to feel like only customer a company has, and may even pay a premium where he/she feels valued in that way,” Naidoo says.

The way to achieve this is through a granular view of a network as well as all the elements within it. “The solution is BI, but not only in the traditional sense,” says Naidoo. “With data coming from disparate sources, increasing costs across the business, and challenges in terms of the technological knowhow of company employees, most organisations are struggling to introduce new products and services, or to take their customer experience to the next level. Instead, they remain focused on business as usual, sticking to tried and tested formulas that may not offer opportunities for growth.”

Naidoo points out that the biggest hindrance to a company is usually its architecture, and that the bottlenecks caused by the various components in a network are easily resolved through effective management. This can be most easily achieved through the use of a specialist service provider. In addition, specialist companies like Logikal Consulting will not only manage the infrastructure space, but improve customer experience – whether the customers are internal or external – by mapping business processes, and making use cases for appropriate applications.

“For companies that want to take their business to the next level, their solution providers should not just be traditional IT companies. IT is an enabler for user experience management, and it’s no longer enough to have one good system. All the product selections around it are just as important. A technology partner should be just that: a partner, working with organisations to improve their customers’ overall view of the company and the services provided,” Naidoo concludes.

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