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Broken customer experience? Automation can fix it

(Image credit: Image Credit: Georgejmclittle / Shutterstock)

You’re doing all the right things. Implementing digital transformation at key customer journey points. Investing in the engagement moments that offer value to the customer and the business. And yet, it feels as if you still aren’t moving fast enough.

Customer experience (CX) is supposed to drive everything, but your organization -- like most -- has experienced digital transformation in a disconnected way. Big initiatives get funded, but execution often occurs in siloed pockets, with bridges from one to the other overlooked. What is supposed to be a seamless experience across every customer touchpoint with your brand feels disjointed and sub-optimal. Parts are working well; others, not so much.

Digital transformation is messy

The fact is, digital transformation designed to improve CX is often fragmented and disorganized. CX leaders are left to try to unify and optimize the experience customers have, but face different objectives and investments in marketing, sales, product development, IT, and customer success. It’s like everyone was given the mandate: “improve CX” and then left to figure it out on their own.

This is the frustrating reality that CX leaders face inside their organizations. With digital as a common CEO priority, heightened expectations of a more holistic, connected organization are emerging. The goal of delivering an exceptional CX has existed for some time and is notably more prominent today. However the “how” to get it done -- how to deliver a consistent, engaging CX across web, mobile, apps, voice, video, email, messaging, notifications, chat, customer service, and in-store -- continues to rattle many.

Customers don’t wait for organizations to figure it out; they go where they have the easiest, most satisfying experience. Every business competes with the best experience a customer has ever had -- regardless of industry. And the pressure just keeps mounting.

Most organizations are using dozens of software solutions and cloud platforms to improve CX. Many of these technologies are great at what they do, but none of them are a panacea capable of doing everything required. To fill in the gaps, additional solutions are brought on board, and before you know it you have a web of disconnected apps and systems that don’t talk to each other. The chaotic, disjointed pockets of transformation continue to proliferate.

The only way to deliver the connected experience customers expect is to integrate.

Connect your data and apps

The average enterprise deploys 90+ applications and data sources to operate and, ultimately, deliver CX. Salesforce, SAP, ServiceNow, Marketo are just some of the applications that factor into the process flows for the typical customer journey. From when a customer explores your website, makes a purchase, pays a bill, asks a question, or lodges a complaint -- different teams and different applications are activated to execute the task at hand. All of this introduces the opportunity for an inconsistent CX.

To deliver a connected CX, the data in these applications must flow freely across systems and teams. When lines of business have requested it, IT has worked long and hard to manually integrate apps via APIs and hand coding. These one-off integrations allow data to flow between applications to deliver a more seamless CX, but the average integration project takes six months to complete, and these one-off efforts aren’t repeatable or scalable. These manual integrations must be continually monitored by IT and updated every time the applications are updated. It’s tedious, cumbersome, and costly and doesn’t offer the speed and agility that you need to keep pace with how fast today’s technologies and markets move.

The goal of digital transformation where all the parts of the enterprise are connected, leverage complete and accurate data, and deliver a CX that feels like you can stop and start at any touchpoint and never be out of sync -- may sound like a fantasy, yet there are organizations today making real progress toward this goal. Some are already operating this way. The key? Automating integration and end-to-end business processes.

Automate integration and process flows to speed up CX delivery

Automation is not new; there have been siloed efforts to automate in most organizations. But automating the integration process with an intelligent integration platform as a service (iPaaS) is how leaders in CX are flexing their competitive muscles. A modern iPaaS -- built for the cloud, easy to use, and embracing AI -- removes the need for manual integration and helps you accelerate application and data connectivity, without needing IT to do it. With automated integration, data and applications across the enterprise are connected quickly, and complete process flows can be stitched together with confidence and ease. The result: marketing, sales, and customer success all work from the same data -- always connected, up to date, and accurate -- never missing an opportunity to engage and delight a customer, exactly when and where needed.

When all your data and applications can connect and communicate, and your core business processes flow freely and without interruption or delay, you open up endless possibilities to streamline a holistic CX across the enterprise. Experts across multiple functions can contribute where needed, not just a chosen few on the front lines. Having this single source of truth available to all stakeholders unlocks key insights that can be used to inform better decision making and actions across the business. Automating integrations, workflows, and processes will enable your organization to move with the speed needed to keep pace with customer expectations -- and gives you the edge to outpace your competitors.

Brad Drysdale, field CTO, SnapLogic

Brad is the SnapLogic Field CTO where he works with customers and partners to help them realise their integration, digitisation and enterprise automation initiatives. Brad joined SnapLogic from Accenture where he was a Technology Director and helped establish the Accenture MuleSoft practice as well as leading innovation and thought leadership functions Integration and API technology portfolios. Prior to Accenture Brad was the APAC CTO and lead Client Architect for MuleSoft, working with customers to realise their vision of an API-enabled enterprise. Brad has held various technical pre-sales and visionary leadership roles in companies including TIBCO, Kaazing, Azul Systems, BEA Systems, Openwave and Netscape. Brad is a regular speaker at industry events and works with analysts and industry specialists to help drive a vision for a better connected future.