Are Sales and Service Friends or Foes?
When dealing with every single customer, you have to understand the individual end-to-end customer journey. That requires a single source of truth — which most companies don’t have. Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst at ZK Research, recently sat down with me to discuss using data to integrate sales and service.
He delves into:
Why sales and service should become best friends
The importance of data integrations, especially with the contact center
A word of wisdom to the vendor community
Why you need a Chief Experience Officer
The urgent need to be agile, adaptable, and scalable
“More and more companies, as they move their contact center to the cloud, wind up giving non-contact center agents access to those seats.” — Zeus Kerravala
Keeping your enemies closer
Zeus is considered one of the top IT analysts in the world by Apollo Research, and he’s also an accomplished author and speaker. His keen tactical advice has been a guiding light for organizations seeking to ditch their silos and become more customer-centric.
So many companies have a fractured customer experience journey, which leads to a frustrating encounter for both your buyers and your staff — and quite possibly a loss of revenue.
If good data leads to good insights, then siloed data leads to a partially informed hot mess.
It’s crucial to bring every employee who interacts with your customers onto the same page, working from the same truth.
In a perfect world
Ideally, as Zeus notes, “You want one single data set.”
While that might be easy for smaller, more agile businesses, larger ones need to realize that accurate integration across their customer-facing systems is absolutely vital.
You’ve got to centralize your data in one real-time platform if you want to achieve a consolidated, powerful voice.
That’s why the cloud is where you want to be. “The more cloud-native you are,” Zeus advises, “the easier it is to integrate those things together.”
“I don't believe we're ever going to get to a single, unified, backend database. But I do think the more integrations we can do, the better.” — Zeus Kerravala
Openness drives adoption
Vendors often think that if they operate a closed system, their customers won’t be able to escape.
That’s the exact opposite of what they need to be doing. “It’s been proven over time across many industries,” Zeus points out. Cloud solutions that can play nice with others are vastly more preferred.
He passionately implores every software vendor to be as open as possible because that’s how you create the rising tide that lifts all boats.
Through the lens of the customer
Customer experience is now the number one differentiator between brands. That’s why it’s imperative to have a C-suite seat that deals exclusively with the entire CX picture.
According to ZK Research, the uber-desirable millennial demographic will drop a brand like a hot potato if they have a single bad experience.
Can you blame them? There’s an almost overwhelming amount of choice these days. Companies have to evolve with this sea change now — or get lost in the flood.
“This world moves so fast. You have to have an open, agile platform so that as things change, you can change along with it.” — Zeus Kerravala
Looking at the big picture
To ensure the best possible customer journey, you need to understand every nuance from beginning to end. Step back and take a long, hard look at every touchpoint.
There are three must-have elements to getting your organization truly aligned:
An open, cloud-native platform
You’ll also be setting your front line up for success — which is a key component of employee retention in these high-churn times.
Beware of overused buzzwords
We’re awash in clever catchphrases, and like martech unicorns, there’s a new one every minute.
Zeus says the only thing that really matters is being agile. Squeezing your old ways into an ill-fitting online data center doesn’t count as “the cloud.”
We’ve seen more change in the last two and half years than some of our ancestors saw in their lifetimes. Who knows what the business world will be like in two to five years?
Don’t be afraid to be risky, but you need to first establish your foundation of “a true, open, cloud-native platform.” That will help you stay sprightly and able to go with the flow. To paraphrase Darwin, the adaptable are the ones who survive and thrive.
And from the customer side, Zeus recommends that you always, always do your homework. Make sure there’s meat behind vendor promises, and don’t be afraid to leave the duds behind.
Challenge them and make them deliver the maximum value.
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