Pegaworld 2016, the annual user conference from technology provider Pegasystems, was held this week in Las Vegas, and Loyalty360 was there to get an inside track on the latest developments in CRM, customer experience, and how to get the most out of business technology.
 
Loyalty360 CEO and CMO Mark Johnson sat down with Jeff Foley, Director of Marketing for Pega Customer Service, to talk about the challenges faced by companies in providing seamless customer service.
 
What’s the biggest challenge you see in the market today as a solutions provider?
 
Foley: The biggest obstacle is when a company decides that they have a problem—something like live chat or social media customer service—but they’ll solve it with a one-off solution. By going to these companies that specialize only in one aspect of the user experience, putting a Band-Aid on the issue and calling it done, they’re actually making the problem worse. Customers are looking for a seamless experience when going from channel to channel, and that’s simply not feasible with that kind of approach.
 
Is there a difficulty in transitioning from an operational perspective into one more focused on experience?
 
Foley: Too many companies see it as a trade-off: Increased efficiency results in a lesser experience, and vice versa. The truth is that customers are also looking for efficiency; when I call a support center, I’m looking to resolve my issue as quickly as possible! We look at these types of situations as “win-wins,” where our operational efficiency goes up, but we’re not leaving customer experience behind. Finding and leveraging these opportunities is a crucial strategy in improving both side of the equation without sacrificing one for the other.
 
Where are you looking to shift this focus? Is it in the call centers, which are typically looked at as the first point of change? Maybe in-store or online?
 
Foley: The thing about contact centers is that they’re routinely the most underinvested parts of customer experience. Some that I’ve seen are using tools that are 10-15 years old, and are too outdated to provide truly efficient service. These companies know that the centers are underfunded, but there are so many other things that they tend to prioritize when it comes to funding.
 
What companies are starting to realize now is that there are so many things you can do outside of the call itself to improve the process. What we’re working on is connecting the frontline employees to the backroom processes and the result is a more efficient and, ultimately, more enjoyable experience for customers.
 
About the Author: Mark Johnson
Mark is CEO & CMO of Loyalty360. He has significant experience in selling, designing and administering prepaid, loyalty/CRM programs, as well as data-driven marketing communication programs.

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