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Remember customer experience? There was a time where it seemed ‘CX’ was the only topic of conversation. But there is nothing like a planet-scale human tragedy to shake up our priorities.

When the pandemic hit, innovation went into overdrive. After UAE businesses had flocked to the cloud, they started adjusting business models for survival, and CX was top of mind – driven by the always-on mobile and web presence, omni-channel support, self-service, chatbots, and the rest.

By the time vaccines started finding their way into arms, our focus had shifted from CX to Employee Experience (EX). Remote workers’ isolation and the advent of a range of social crises got executives thinking more about people. Musings along the lines of ‘life is too short to be dominated by work’ started their meme-like spread.

Remote work had been deployed at scale and the sky had not fallen. And now they could work from anywhere, they could work for anyone. Next: The Great Resignation.

How do we continue to enhance CX if employees are not on board? Tech will only take you so far. Employees must add a human element to CX and we must inspire them to do so. If they are forcing smiles, we can be guaranteed they are already looking for new opportunities.

Show that you care about their health and wellbeing, and they may extend that same courtesy to you and your balance--sheet. In recent months, we have seen the technology industry apply itself to the employee experience as never before, making huge progress in areas such as automation, HRMS, communication and collaboration platforms, and chatbots.

Experience perfected

We need to go further. Just as physicists know space and time are intertwined, business leaders now know the same of EX and CX. We must amalgamate stakeholders, strategies, and tools on both sides of the engagement equation to deliver TX – Total Experience.

A customer may call with a query and the CX may be available to help them. But the agent who deals with their call may not be adequately connected to the expert resources needed to address the customer’s needs. Such situations create negative emotions in both employee and customer, leading to failed EX and CX despite adequate investments in both.

We must connect all touchpoints so we can unite the Xes across all platforms and engagement channels. We must get the most out of ITSM investments and other solutions to deliver a unified and consistent digital experience to all parties. The platform must empower employees to move from transactional customer service to a more unified approach across channels that can accommodate fluctuating customer needs and expectations.

This ideal platform will maintain a precise, detailed record that allows service teams to prioritize their service delivery to meet individual expectations of speed and quality.

In revamping our experience capabilities to produce Total Experience, we must remember that we are building a multi-faceted deliverable. Customer experience is still split between the physical and the digital and many potential pitfalls will lurk on our path to the business idyll.

For example, we must contend with silos, which are notorious for standing in the way of digital transformation. If customer data is held by different departments, a comprehensive view of a customer and their engagement history may be impossible.

This is also true of siloed processes, systems, and tools. If a workflow that could solve a customer’s issue is walled off from the attending agent, then CX and EX – and hence, TX – are hampered. Once all these siloes are eliminated, teams can collaborate in real time on customer service, supported by unified views of the customer and the business.

A unified record

The rise of TX has led to discussions about the unified customer record (UCR). UCRs are similar to the unified patient record system rolled out by UAE health authorities. The UCR captures customer data from all touchpoints for the ultimate level of insight.

The customer’s attributes are linked to identities, and their profile is consolidated into the UCR. Done properly, this rich information will also integrate with third-party data sources to empower sales and marketing functions to craft more targeted engagement campaigns that can truly delight customers.

We cannot aggregate experiences into a single offering. We must tailor them to the individual and the transaction. Attitudes to brands come from both customers and employees. A marketing artifact attracts a candidate or sales prospect; they engage; they react to the experience and are either satisfied or disappointed.

After that, they either stay or go. This journey applies to both customers and employees. This is why we must master total experience. The digital economy will punish us if we do not – through its customer and employee proxies.