5 Ways IT Infrastructure can Transform Customer Experience
Today’s CIOs are faced with the challenges of continuously innovating, cutting down on risks and costs, and ensuring an exceptional customer experience, which drives them to focus heavily on front-end technologies. One may well wonder why a good customer experience should be a challenge when front-end technologies are seeing such rapid development.
The answer is simple. There is a missing element to customer experience that is often overlooked. While a front-end technology can definitely enhance the customer’s experience, it can also leave the customer unsatisfied. Customers in the digital world are always on. Their needs are evolving rapidly, apace with emerging technologies. They expect speedy access to applications regardless of the device in addition to seamless experience across devices. When thousands of such devices are connected to a server, one can expect difficulties with the speed of applications. Users expect quick and non-intrusive resolution of their IT-related problems but a service desk without the right toolsets will be as clumsy as changing a tire with a pen. This only goes to show that in order to deliver exceptional customer experience front-end technologies need IT infrastructure.
Here are five ways IT infrastructure is impacting customer experience:
#1 Business Service Monitoring: Business services and functions are impacted heavily by infrastructure and may be supported by multiple IT infrastructure components at the back-end. For example, the ticket booking function for an airline may be linked to multiple databases and servers. Similarly, the claims management system for an insurance company would have a different array of IT components associated with it. The impact of these infrastructure components on business services and functions needs to be monitored for effectively tailoring their use for different services. This ensures critical business functions are uninterrupted and deliver an exceptional customer experience.
#2 Infrastructure Analytics: Marketers rely heavily on infrastructure services to provide digital analytics. Infrastructure analytics evaluates the quality of experience of customer-facing services and applications. For example, marketers may want to capture browsing patterns to improve their customer’s experience when they use Wi-Fi services at different touch points and infrastructure analytics can enable this. Take the case of a customer visiting a bank or a business lounge. Using video analytics, the employee at the counter can access all the relevant customer details and is equipped to serve the customer better, tremendously improving and personalizing end user experience.
Analytics has largely focused on processing data within the perimeter of the enterprise; however gathering data from external sources to improve organizational functions offers far greater opportunities that infrastructure analytics can support. A more complex and sophisticated analysis of such data can benefit institutions, enabling them to provide an exceptional experience to their customers.
#3 Interaction Technologies: Infrastructure has a critical role to play in providing an exceptional experience using a slew of available devices like tablets, wearables, beacons and various IoT-enabled ones. It is essential to have the right device at the right place and IT Infrastructure can help ensure this by understanding the needs of the business. For instance, airline staff may be armed with Android tablets and some retail stores probably use iPads. With the right device, the workforce can provide a number of services to the customers and work in an agile fashion, improving the overall experience.
#4 Intelligent Service Desk: IT often finds simple ways of resolving issues to reduce customers’ inconvenience and improving their experience. However, even solutions like remote troubleshooting of devices can be an issue for some users. In such cases, automation improves the overall experience. Take the case of a user facing a challenge with running an application. A ticket would be raised and sent to the service desk. A service desk would be enabled to rectify this automatically without intervention, saving user time and effort while ensuring an excellent customer experience.
#5 Software-defined Infrastructure: Infrastructure needs to be scalable to provide an uninterrupted experience. A software-defined approach ensures users are not faced with disruptions due to heavy network usage and enables scalability of infrastructure in a simple manner. In the case of Cloud, an organization may use multiple Cloud environments for numerous applications. Managing this complex infrastructure is made possible using a single program wherein different Cloud environments can be provisioned/de-provisioned for certain applications and all such changes are configured automatically without any downtime. Similarly if a website is faced with more hits than that can be managed on the servers provisioned for it, one need not go to the back-end and provide more hardware—it can be easily done with the help of a program. Such instances ensure applications or Web services remain up and running without any outages and provide customers a seamless experience.
Organizations may feel they have delivered a superior customer experience by implementing front-end digital technologies—but that may not be the case unless they have the supporting IT infrastructure to enable it. While companies aspire to be truly digital, they cannot afford to ignore the backbone of IT, which remains the core of providing a memorable customer experience.
It is also important to capture what the customer/user actually feels about consuming the service. The customer’s emotion is key to delivering the service. Forrester speaks to this fact explaining how emotions can impact loyalty and how empathetic CX programs are winning customers in their not-to-be-missed report, ‘ Understanding the Impact of Emotion on Customer Experience.’