Tips for Tapping the Cloud to Transform the Customer Experience

With e-commerce and self-service chatbots making up a growing percentage of customer touchpoints, the customer experience (CX) today is mostly a digital endeavor, which brings its own distinct challenges. For starters, on-premises, legacy systems that once served as the backbone of customer interactions no longer have the necessary power or flexibility to meet customer demand.

As a result, cloud technologies have become the only available solutions on the market today that can handle the billions of data points that underpin companies' marketing and CX offerings. Although many companies have already begun their transitions into the cloud ecosystem, few have established cloud infrastructures that maximize efficiency and security while reducing operational costs.

As chief information officers and customer experience leaders plan for 2023, aligning CX and cloud strategies should top the list of priorities. Accelerating the adoption and deployment of public cloud platforms and cloud-native tools will allow companies to optimize the customer journey and overall operational efficiency. Enterprises looking to deepen customer loyalty, increase sales, and enhance the bottom line through the cloud should consider these factors.

Finding Flexibility

In today's experience economy, companies are dealing with an over-abundance of data flows that threaten to drown CX teams. For businesses that deal with seasonal spikes in demand, these peaks can be debilitating. One reason cloud infrastructure has become standard for larger companies is the elasticity that is inherent to the technology. The cloud not only provides flexibility by allowing users to access information regardless of where they are, but it also empowers them to scale up and down when needed. With the cloud, companies can scale services to fit their needs, as cloud-based software-as-a-service solutions generally give organizations the option to control usage depending on bandwidth and fluctuating workflows.

The cloud's flexibility is even more salient considering the ever-shifting digital landscape that sees new channels and platforms rise and fall all the time. As consumers flock to a new social media app or a new e-commerce platform, companies require the flexibility to connect to those channels at a moment's notice, which is not possible without cloud-based tools that are open and interoperable. Ultimately, the ability to turn services on and off whenever and wherever is one of the greatest value propositions that cloud platforms offer.

Supplying a Seamless Journey

Most, if not all, companies today have some baseline omnichannel capabilities. Customers can call customer service, send a direct message on social, or converse with a chatbot depending on their personal issues and preferences. Channel choice has undoubtedly transformed what it means for companies to be customer-centric, but it has not necessarily ushered in a new era of seamless consumer experiences.

Companies looking to provide modern CX need to think beyond channel choice and start to envision a seamless omnichannel experience, where customers can request support over Twitter and continue those dialogues on the phone with live agents without having to repeat themselves or retread old information. Only the cloud can connect these fragmented processes and systems so every customer engagement can help plan the next one.

The cloud can often feel like some nebulous entity that ingests and spits out customer data at random from different data sources. In reality, a well-architected cloud infrastructure unites disparate data sources so businesses can overcome data chaos and complexities to derive insights about their audiences. As more enterprises unlock the value of data in the cloud in this way, the playing field will be more level between competitors.

Deploying Intelligent Technologies

Once migration to the cloud is complete, businesses can expect immediate benefits, including higher network speeds, faster response times, and no latency. Companies should also have access to artificial intelligence-powered tools and solutions that unlock advanced insights. With AI, machine learning, and robotic process automation, intelligent automation can be used in many ways across the enterprise.

AI and machine learning were revolutionized by cloud computing, not because hyperscalers invented it but rather because they made it accessible. In the context of CX and product management, artificial intelligence can go beyond answering questions and making product suggestions. Cloud-based AI will also pinpoint the most relevant content, inform sales teams of predicted activity, guide product development, and help teams quickly identify challenges and opportunities for innovation. AI can do all this without the mundane tasks and workflows that compromise a human's ability to perform them.

During times of economic uncertainty, businesses tend to run leaner and prioritize revenue over all else. Recognizing technical inefficiencies that are impacting fiscal results should motivate every business to explore cloud migration.

Lakshmanan Chidambaram  is president of Americas strategic verticals at Tech Mahindra.