Customer experience (CX) is an exciting concept to work on since the perception of high-quality CX is constantly changing. Still, in my opinion, one aspect of CX will always remain the same: the importance of customer intimacy.
Customer intimacy is the ability to anticipate and fulfill customer needs to create short-term and long-term value. It’s about personalization, building trust, providing transparency, and practicing openness during all interactions with the customer.
Creating compelling customer intimacy journeys is essential for any brand in any industry. Just look at successful enterprises like Amazon and Google with their reliable and personal customer intimacy experiences — it all starts by putting the customer at the heart of everything you do.
For most organizations, the process of customer intimacy improvement is long and complex, so I wanted to highlight those challenges and try to provide a few possible solutions.
Common Challenges for Customer-Facing Sectors
It’s common for organizations to look at customer intimacy through a financial lens since the business landscape is so competitive. Unfortunately, businesses take shortcuts when this happens, and the customer ultimately bears the weight of any negative impacts.
While employee retention is critical to cost-effectiveness and maintaining high-quality service, attrition rates are creeping up in the global workforce, which speaks to the impacts of The Great Resignation. Customer intimacy and satisfaction directly correlate with employee engagement, so solving this crisis is a priority.
Plus, we’re seeing a sluggish rate of technological adoption across the board, as existing legacy systems hold companies back from improving their customer intimacy — quite frankly, without leveraging the power of data and analytics, it’s impossible to gain a higher understanding of customers.
Let’s take the retail and e-commerce sector as an example. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the retail industry showed tremendous resilience and adaptability. However, on the customer experience side, there are inherent complexities to providing high-quality customer intimacy, particularly during busy seasons when retailers often need to ramp up by 20X or more.
With the hiring, training, and governance required to operationalize such massive shifts in the workforce, it’s a daunting prospect to focus on transforming the customer journey simultaneously. As such, retailers must strive to innovate on many of their internal practices, focusing on ideas like digital recruitment or training simulators in virtual classrooms — two initiatives that have worked wonders for us at Inspiro.
How to Develop a Customer Intimacy Journey
No matter the industry, customer intimacy needs to be ingrained in an organization’s culture and viewed from a business lens. CX executives must determine all customer touchpoints and figure out how to provide an overwhelmingly positive and seamless experience at every step.
Here are five initial steps to implement a customer intimacy journey.
- Formulate a plan: Use this step to identify issues with the primary customer touchpoints, then prioritize.
- Gain stakeholder endorsement: Your senior leaders need to be on board with the plan, so communicate it to them, then push for buy-in to enable execution.
- Communicate it to the whole organization: Now that you have the go-ahead to implement your ideas, it’s time to tell everyone in the company about it. This step is vital to changing the organizational culture around customer journeys.
- Work with CX providers to implement the culture: It’s advisable to bring in your third-party CX partners to help with the cultural transformation required. Remember that your CX providers are part of the company, and there should be no distinction between them and your internal CX employees.
- Implement a mechanism for practicing customer intimacy: Whether the organization thrives off metrics, employee score cards, QA forms, or other reporting structures, it’s critical to have something in place to measure the impact of the cultural transformation. Not only does this show progress, but it also allows us to iterate on the fallbacks to improve things even further.
Partnering for Success
Organizations looking to improve customer intimacy should consider partnering with CX and BPO providers with the mechanisms and expertise to support that goal.
Companies like Inspiro have deep experience with being the first meaningful customer touchpoint and providing customers with that “wow” experience. We’re adept at providing meaningful recommendations to customers and adapting to real-time feedback to improve the CX.
Furthermore, CX providers can offer omnichannel platforms that give customers a choice of how they interact with a brand and allow agents to see the end-to-end customer journey seamlessly. Tools like speech-to-text enhance things further by making it easier to process customer QA/CSAT data. Plus, from an employee engagement standpoint, CX providers bring work-from-home tools and gamification platforms to boost motivation and overall job satisfaction.
By partnering with companies like us, organizations can tap into the right people, training, and technologies they need to immediately improve customer intimacy, which is the ultimate key to success in a continuously challenging market.
About the author
Alfredo “Aly” Antonio is the Senior Vice President, Strategic Alliances and Synergy at Inspiro. He is responsible for driving Inspiro’s global business development and sales efforts by overseeing our US, Australia, and Asia-Pacific teams.
With a 20-year tenure with the company, Aly was part of Inspiro’s pioneer batch of employees and has since held key leadership positions for several telco, media, healthcare, utility, BFSI, retail, and technology programs. In addition, Aly’s extensive business development, operations, and quality background has led to him becoming a leading CX advisor, certified COPC coordinator, and a Lean Six Sigma practitioner.