The Case for Integrated Monitoring in Customer Experience Management
What does the term customer experience management (CEM) really mean in a digitized world? It depends on whom you ask. Some may oﬀer a simplistic vision of social media monitoring. Others may talk about compute power for a website. And then, there are those who provide an all too myopic view based on query resolution. While these are diﬀerent facets of CEM, what businesses need is a way to orchestrate an experience symphony across every facet. And this orchestration can be achieved with an integrated monitoring tool—one that delivers more value. Think of it as a universal dashboard that brings together the customer, the touchpoint, the immediate transaction, and the underlying technology.
The Usual Suspects of a Fragmented Experience
When customers interact with businesses across channels and geographies, what gets in the way of a consistent experience? It is simple to list the usual suspects—disparate IT systems, legacy processes, diverse channels, and a lack of focus on customer engagement. And, of course, the age-old problem: many believe that when they invest all their energies in delivering products and services, they are bound to be underinvested in managing the customer experience.
A simple change in perspective will help businesses—customer experience cannot be viewed as customer service with a few additional components. And the techniques that apply to customer service are merely a subset of the myriad techniques needed for successful CEM.
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When Transaction is at the Heart of Experience, Do Not Overlook SOA
Experience now depends on the time taken to execute a business transaction—no longer on turnaround time and meeting service-level agreements (SLAs). While this remains the foundation of digital customer engagement, it is not enough; customers are increasingly looking beyond metrics. Rather than just monitoring infrastructure platforms or application platforms that support the transaction, it is more relevant to leverage service-oriented architecture (SOA) for monitoring end-to-end business transactions. SOA brings ﬂexibility to business processes—enabling systems and solutions to communicate dynamically. This will make it possible to run and operate platforms without a break for maintenance or deployment because the updated systems will use automated code promotion and deployment techniques. The result is greater process agility, enhanced system performance, faster transactions, and hence, better customer experience, regardless of whether the customer is external or internal.
Low Tolerance Calls for High Performance
This kind of prejudice against latency sharply underlines the need for organizations to ensure high performance of their websites. What matters most to customers is end–to–end transaction time. A transaction delay of even one to three seconds can result in dissatisfaction and abandonment of the portal. Businesses are now shifting their focus to mobile apps in order to reduce dependencies on portals and associated performance issues. However, the dependency of mobile apps on APIs calls for an entirely diﬀerent performance management mechanism.
Want to Deliver Faster Access? Start with Benchmarking
The mission to provide digital experience on desktop browsers and websites has rapidly shifted the focus to areas where customers have the ability to move between channels without noticing major changes in user experience. Customers expect a quick response/resolution to application performance or availability issues—sometimes within minutes.
A barely working application is no longer the yardstick; rather, it is about performing to satisfy user expectations. To achieve such satisfaction levels organizations are now adopting benchmarking, which can help prioritize areas where enhancing performance is imperative. Some of the key drivers for benchmarking include increase in mobile usage, the necessity to rank customers’ digital experience, measurement of browser user experience, and recognition of changes in the industry.
Using benchmarking, organizations can study user needs and pinpoint areas where change can deliver instant results—whether it is infrastructure, site architecture, and third-party integration strategies, web browser advancements, ISP stability or increase/decrease in site visitor volume. Implementing changes in one or many areas will lead to high availability and reliability of applications.
Bridging the Gap Between the Digital and Industrial Worlds
There is clearly a sign of polarization between a highly digitized world and a more orthodox industrial world. Customer experience management, when viewed through the digital lens, is a means to achieve minimal disruptions in critical processes so that business transactions can be completed in real-time. However, in a highly industrialized digital world, SLA management is a key ingredient in achieving better customer satisfaction by focusing on elements such as downtimes, breakdowns, and recovery time objectives (RTOs).
End-customer satisfaction and operational eﬃciency brew up the perfect business case for looking at monitoring tools as the best alternative available—the proverbial bridge between user expectations and ability of IT to deliver. That is where single-pane monitoring environments come into play—to mitigate gaps with a uniﬁed view that encompasses customer context, business transactions, application services, and infrastructure components. This shift will also require prioritizing automation, establishing baselines, and shifting from mere 24X7 infrastructure teams to a team that understands business impact of the services.
If Experience has Many Dimensions, Integrated Monitoring Strings them all Together
Organizations have multiple tool stacks managing IT infrastructure, applications, business transactions, and customer experience—leading to multiple versions of incidents and diﬃculties in resolving them. Since modern applications have a number of connection points between the end-user and the data center, performance issues can arise anywhere along the application delivery chain. In addition, ecosystem components use their set of proprietary, open source tools of preferred partners, adding more complexity to the overall transaction.
Varied tools and techniques rarely meet the objectives of embracing true customer-centricity. The key is to provide an integrated monitoring architecture. One that spans customer channels, automates key business processes, and factors the applications and infrastructure serving the transaction to deliver a single version of the truth. That is the holy grail of customer experience management, where monitoring touchpoints, transactions, and technology is a singular, seamless activity, which reduces resolution time and increases customer value.
The NIIT Technologies Thought Board:
Integrated Monitoring in Customer Experience Management (CEM)
Accelerating the Path to Uniﬁed Customer Experience Management
At NIIT Technologies, we see businesses across industries grappling with complexity in the application delivery chain. Providing a seamless and satisfying end-customer experience is becoming more and more challenging. With increased dependencies on IT to meet business objectives, there is a constant need for real time visibility into business transactions—which deﬁnes the ability to deliver exceptional business services to both internal and external customers.
When our clients turn to us for enhancing their customer experience management, our endeavor has been to deliver new ideas and more value. We focus on areas where end-consumer experience is critical, which depends on the application performance within the IT landscape. This has led to the creation of an application performance monitoring (APM) solution that helps manage:
- The entire IT stack, including applications
- Critical business transactions and services
- End-user experience in real time
Our solution reduces the number of incidents, speeds up mean time to resolution, increases IT productivity, and ultimately, delivers the experience customers expect. For the CEM and APM stack, we have partnered with top companies that are recognized by independent, third party analyst organizations globally. This positions us to synergize performance across touchpoints, transactions, technology for our clients, enabling us to be at the heart of great experiences.