With any modern business, there’s an expectation that customers can interact with your brand across multiple touchpoints (which includes devices and platforms). The cross-platform personalised experience has moved from a ‘nice to have’ to a minimum standard. Therefore, all those touchpoints within your business need to have that customer data readily available. But this is often not the case.
Adopting a new customer experience (CX) platform is an opportunity to enhance these customer interactions. But its real potential goes beyond the capabilities of the platform itself. The true value lies in its ability to connect all your existing customer touchpoints and enhance them. Too often, companies will adopt a new CX platform without first considering how it will fit within the current ecosystem, inadvertently creating more work for already busy teams as they work with disconnected platforms.
In this blog, I’ll suggest some key consideration points when adopting a new CX platform and common challenges to avoid.
Why you cannot simply implement a new CX tool
When deciding to adopt new tools for managing CX, it's crucial to realise that the success of the implementation is not just about the product. It's about understanding all the processes that interact with and leverage the CX platform. The CX tool is just one piece of a much larger puzzle.
For example, if you're a business looking to enhance your CX strategy by bringing on a new platform, you must consider the entire landscape within which this platform will operate. When choosing the right platform for your business, you should make a decision within the context of your existing systems and workflows.
In a perfect world, the CX tool will take information from many customer-facing platforms, generate insights and recommendations, and then push these newly generated insights/recommendations back to the customer-facing platforms so that they can give the customer a better experience. The perfect world rarely happens though, and users are required to be involved in the processes just described.
A key element of this context is the users of the new tools. Whether they are marketing managers, customer service representatives or sales personnel, the users are the ones who will leverage the new CX platform daily. It's important to note that these users will not work exclusively in the new CX platform. They will likely be operating across several tools throughout their day. So, they need access to information inside and outside the CX platform to perform their duties efficiently. The harder it is for the users to find the right information in the right systems, the less effective the platforms (including the new CX tool) will be.
What to consider when adopting a new CX platform
It is not enough for users to access the right data; it must also flow seamlessly between the CX platform and other systems such as CRM tools, eCommerce platforms, finance systems, social platforms and more. This data flow into the integrated CX platform and out towards other systems, like reporting tools, ensures that relevant information is available when and where it's needed.
Understanding the data points needed for an integrated CX platform
Understanding the specific data integration requirements for the new CX platform is vital for successful implementation. You must identify which systems will feed data into the integrated CX platform and which ones will expect data from it. Without this understanding, the CX platform may not integrate well with other essential systems, limiting its effectiveness and potentially causing disruption in your operations.
Completing pre-implementation planning
Knowing how these systems will interact is a significant consideration you should plan upfront. Determining if the interaction is even possible is the first step. Once confirmed, developing an integration strategy becomes a priority. This plan should ensure data flows from the get-go, enabling the CX platform to be operational and effective from day one.
Note that I had originally written ‘fully operational and effective’, but the reality of any implementation like this is that not everything is connected from day one. The most important systems will be connected first, and then you will expand the integration to cover the other systems until, eventually, all systems in the CX ecosystem communicate effectively.
Allowing for contingency and changes in integration
Even with careful planning, the initial data requirements might not be spot-on. So, you will need a contingency plan. You may need to adjust and refine data requirements after the first implementation.
This iterative process of adjustment and refinement ensures an integrated CX platform can truly meet your needs and those of your customers. By allowing for changes in integration, you make room for continuous improvement, which is the crux of successful CX management.
Common challenges when bringing on a new CX platform
Implementing a new CX platform isn't without its challenges, and understanding these can make the journey smoother and more successful. Two significant considerations stand out:
1. The necessity for mapping processes and information flow, and
2. Accurately budgeting for the integration of the above.
Without carefully mapped processes and information flows, your team may struggle to get the most from the new platform. For example, consider a marketing team who relies on diverse data from multiple sources, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, social platforms, and sales data. If this team has to manually handle data transfer into and out of their core systems, it becomes a time-consuming administrative task, detracting from their core responsibilities. As a result, productivity and effectiveness will become severely impacted, undermining the value of the new tool.
Accurate budgeting for integrating the new CX platform is another challenge often overlooked. The initial cost of the platform is just one piece of the puzzle. To fully leverage the platform's benefits, it must be integrated effectively with existing systems, a process that incurs its own costs. Treating these integration costs as an afterthought will lead to budget overruns and unwelcome surprises in the implementation phase. I’ve spoken to many project sponsors who believed they were getting ROI from day one, only to find out that can’t happen until the systems are connected - and that connectivity (or integration) will cost X amount more.
So, it's important to account for these costs upfront as part of the comprehensive budget for the integrated CX platform. You can set realistic expectations for the implementation and ensure a smoother integration process when you have achieved this.
Adopting a new CX platform is not merely about embracing new technology. It's about acknowledging and planning for the multifaceted nature of this integration. You will need to understand the processes that will work with this platform, the users interacting with it, and the systems it needs to connect with for optimal data flow.
Planning and integration form the cornerstones of a successful integrated CX platform. The value of a platform isn't purely in its standalone capabilities but in how you incorporate it into your existing systems.
Why work with Creative Folks on Systems Integration?
It should go without saying that this logical approach applies to implementing any modern platform across depts and verticals. If you are looking to adopt a new platform and need a strategy for integrating it with your other systems, Creative Folks can help.
We will work with you to understand your platforms and services to build a solution that aligns with your strategy, goals and initiatives. Our experts have over two decades of experience, and with our SiPHON platform, we can deliver various integration solutions to meet your needs — without breaking your budget.
You can visit our Systems Integration page to learn more about our capabilities.