One of the things I love about blogging, besides it’s conversational tone, is the ability to swap back and forth between the macro and the micro, between the 50,000 foot view and the magnifying glass.
Between a recent interview and a recent invitation to be a panelist at the Future Stores conference this summer, I’ve had the intersection of customer experience and technology on the brain lately. Particularly, I’ve been thinking about the requirements for introducing new customer experience technology into an organization.
Of course, technological change is complex in any organization. Hundreds of questions, maybe thousands, need to be asked and answered before introducing a new customer experience technology. At the strategic level, however, I believe three questions should form the basis of your initial decision matrix when considering a new customer experience technology:
- Does the technology enhance our customer’s experience in a meaningful way?
- Does the technology enhance our bottom line?
- Does the technology set us up to do both of the above in the short and medium term future?
Does the technology enhance our customer’s experience in a meaningful way?
It is important not to focus on what the technology can do but rather on what it can bring to your customer experience. It is easy to get seduced by the shiny bells and whistles new technology brings, but what really matters is your customers and the experiences they desire. Technology is a tool for creating an experience; it is not the experience itself.
Does the technology enhance our bottom line?
New technology should be scalable, effective, and contribute to the long-term growth of the organization. Technology designed to enhance the customer experience should result in increased retention, referrals, or some other quantifiable customer metric that contributes to growth, and it should do so in a way that produces a positive return on the technological investment.
Does the technology set us up to do both of the above in the short and medium term future?
One of the great quandaries surrounding technological investments is not knowing how long they will remain relevant. A commitment today can lock you into technology that holds you back in the future. It is important not only to look at today’s solution but to view those solutions in the context of current technological trends. The best solution today could be the one that locks you into a legacy framework that puts you behind your competitors in five years.
While the questions above are simple, the answers usually are not. If you can answer those three strategic question though, you will go a long way towards ensuring any new customer experience technology sets your organization up for success.