Why Customer Experience Matters in the Digital Age

  • Ian Ashby
  • Solutions
17 January 2022

Woman at conference communicating

Learn from Capita and NHS Scotland on their own transformational customer experiences

Back in 2015, Gartner designated customer experience (CX) as the new competitive battleground, noting “greater competition and growing consumer power have eroded traditional product-and service-based differentiation, forcing firms to seek new, more durable forms of competitive advantage.”  

Six years later, this sentiment still rings true. Customer experience matters more today than ever. We’re living in a time where the relationship that’s built through service is what elevates organisations above their competitors.  

With the pandemic forcing many consumers to turn to digital-first solutions, it’s the organisations that prioritised customer experience that had the most success and growth during this difficult time. Effortless experience is the key and sets the bar for all other experiences. When we’re so used to seamless service, we come to expect it, and anything less really stands out.  

Good CX is essential quite simply because happy customers are more likely to be loyal, become advocates for your brand, refer new customers, and ultimately, drive revenue. It stands to reason, therefore, that bad customer experience can be costly: indeed, joint ServiceNow and CCMA research showed that 63% of UK consumers have switched providers due to poor customer service.

So, what do organisations need to do to begin improving customer experience?  

How to improve customer service & experience

Adopt a CX maturity model

One way to measure and improve customer experience is by using a maturity model tool. A CX maturity model is a framework that identifies the key elements within CX and highlights key milestones in each area to work towards. They’re used to help establish the current state of CX in an organisation, highlight where improvements should be made, and guide the continual evolution of CX along the scale of maturity.  

At ServiceNow, for example, we break this down into several different areas: customer experience, people and culture, processes and workflows, and systems and tools. This helps us create a clear roadmap for progress that prioritises actionable objectives.  

Improving customer experience begins with understanding where you are now. Adopting a CX maturity model is a great first step to identifying where your organisation currently stands, and what you need to do to enhance and enrich the customer experience.  

Take it one step at a time

CX includes all interactions between customers and your brand. Trying to overhaul the entire end-to-end experience at once isn’t practical. Instead, you should start slow and focus on improving problem areas with the lowest maturity first.  

Once you understand what areas to focus on, look at the tools, software, and systems you’ll need to bring in. For example, this could be ramping up automation to handle simple tasks, using chatbots to handle low-level customer queries, or using integrated workflows to break down siloed processes. It’s important to think about products and features that your customers will love, not just use.  

Once you’ve made improvements, get feedback from your users. This will ensure that you involve them in any new changes and will help you tailor your services to their needs.  

Consider the pain points of different demographics 

It’s important to never assume that you know what customers want. Different demographics will expect different things, so you need to consider their individual pain points.  

So  what are the most frustrating aspects of customer experience? Out of those we surveyed, 34% said switching advisors, 23% said lack of updates, and 20% said inputting information multiple times

Essentially, it boils down to ineffective communication, being contacted through the wrong channel, and spending unnecessary effort to reach a resolution. To truly understand your customers, you need to dive into this data. You need to find out how and why your customers are using your services and their biggest frustrations. Then, you can begin to work on improving their experience.  

Great customer experience in action 

Here are two examples of how ServiceNow helped transform the customer experience.  

Automating business services with Capita

Capita is one of the largest professional services organisations in the UK. But with a growing backlog of customer support tickets and extremely busy staff, the business needed help automating high-volume processes, consolidating services, and becoming more customer-centric.  

ServiceNow helped Capita create an entirely digital, automated service desk as the first line of support for customers, reducing the number of ticketing systems from 23 to just one. All initial queries are now handled by bots, with human engineers adding value and providing assistance for more complex issues; the platform also provides access to an existing online repository of ‘knowledge’ articles that allow customers to troubleshoot their own issues. 

Since implementing the new platform, Capita has seen a 50% increase in customer satisfaction, with a 4x increase in the use of knowledge articles. What’s more, 20% of the issues raised by customers are now addressed by other customers in the self-service community. This is a clear sign that customers have been enabled to troubleshoot and fix common issues themselves, all through the self-service platform.  

Managing a national vaccine program with NHS Scotland

Faced with the rapid onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS Scotland needed a way to turn large stocks of vaccines into actual vaccinations. With ServiceNow, the organisation was able to build a national vaccination program from the ground up, integrating national data with local GP records for a streamlined experience. 

In just 6 weeks, ServiceNow built a system for scheduling and recording the national vaccine program. The system helped 2.5m of the highest risk citizens get vaccinated, providing intuitive workflows and progress reports throughout.   

This initiative was so successful it even won a gold award for ‘customer experience in the crisis’ at the prestigious 2021 UK CX Awards. Caroline Lamb, Chief Executive and Director General Health and Social Care at NHS Scotland explains: 

As a public service, our customers are the entire population of Scotland. The responsibility we bear – to provide those ‘users’ with the care they need, when they need it – is a great one, and we take it very seriously.  

In that respect, getting the vaccine programme up and running successfully is a different kind of achievement. Against the odds, we’ve managed to protect millions of vulnerable people, mitigate the wider spread of the virus, and ensure we can all get back to some kind of normality as quickly as possible.”

With digital initiatives paving the way for a customer-centric culture, organisations that don’t make CX a priority risk getting left behind.   

More Stories

Why customer experience is king in the new world of work
Unlocking customer experience transformation in financial services
Employee Happiness = Customer Satisfaction

 

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