One of the key attractions driving migration today is how the cloud can help transform the customer experience. The cloud-based technologies now available to businesses can be used to improve trust, engagement and customer satisfaction: increasing loyalty, conversions and, ultimately, the bottom line.
Indeed, according to Bloomfire, the need to improve customer experience has never been so important as it is today. In one of its recent surveys, it found that 80 per cent of enterprises view customer experience as one of the key attributes that consumers will consider when choosing between competing brands, often being more important to them than either product or price.
This is particularly true online, where the consumer expects instant, reliable and continual access to a brand’s products, services and information. Here, those organisations that don’t make use of cloud technology will be unable to take advantage of the tools, insights and performance that are necessary to enhance the customer experience and cater for users on demand.
Making products and services more accessible
The fact that the internet never shuts down has led to a complete change in customer expectations; if a business is online, consumers will expect it to be available 24/7 too. In reality, many enterprises already are, putting competitors yet to achieve round the clock accessibility at a distinct disadvantage. By enabling customers to buy products, contact customer support or access online services, regardless of the time of day, they make themselves far more appealing to the connected consumer.
Cloud migration gives enterprises the ability to put these services in place. With it, staff can connect with work-based applications from anywhere and deal with customer service enquiries even when they are out of the office. Indeed, staff aren’t always needed. Chatbots can often take care of the majority of customer enquiries and even go further, initiating conversations with customers while they are browsing the website. Artificial intelligence (AI), another vital, cloud-based tool, can also be invaluable. In financial services, for example, many banks are developing AI financial advisors that can assist customers in finding the right products to match their needs and circumstances. Advisors of a similar vein can be deployed in all sectors, ensuring the full range of services are available 24/7.
Everything in one place
Siloed enterprises aren’t great for customer experience. It often means data is not centralised, which is a barrier to big data analytics and the insights it provides; nor does it make it easy to gain a complete picture of the customer journey – something that can result in missed opportunities for the business and frustration for the customer who may get shunted from pillar to post when getting in touch.
Cloud technology removes siloes, providing, instead, a centralised repository for all data that ensures whichever department is dealing with the customer, they have access to every touchpoint on the customer journey. At the same time, the tools and systems available in the cloud allow the organisation to deliver a truly integrated service that provides customers with a far more user-friendly one-stop-shop. The customer experience is enhanced by having an easy to use, single point of entry through which all the company’s services can be accessed.
Personalised customer experiences
Personalised shopping experiences have become a major attraction for consumers who like the fact that their experience of a company is tailored around them. Indeed, it’s a win-win situation for customer and company, as the customer is presented with the products, services and offers they are most interested in and, consequently, the company benefits by making more sales. The experience itself increases brand loyalty and advocacy and, ultimately, pushes revenue up even further.
The ability to offer personalised customer experiences comes from collecting and analysing customer data. Personal information provided by the customer, together with browsing and shopping histories, wish lists, communications and social media interactions, provides a data-rich resource that algorithms can make valuable use of. As a result, the company can offer personalised experiences that are highly accurate in terms of the products and services that the customer wants and the offers and discounts that they find most appealing. What’s more, these can be communicated via the channel that the user finds most convenient (email, web, app, text message, etc.) and at the most opportune time.
Beyond this, data analytics enables enterprises to understand different consumer groups, giving them incredible insights into emerging opportunities and shifting trends that can help them detect and react quickly to movements in the marketplace.
The best place to carry out the data analytics needed to offer personalised customer experiences is in the cloud. The cloud offers unlimited storage and processing scalability, charged for on a pay as you go basis, while enabling the quick deployment of those essential analytics and AI applications.
Improve brand trust and reputation
Reliability and security are essential attributes of a brand that offers great customer experience – and the cloud offers both. When it comes to ensuring that critical services remain online constantly, the cloud is the obvious choice. Its use of virtual technology means a server is not tied to any physical machine, so incidents of downtime due to server failure become a thing of the past. If there is an issue with hardware, a virtual server is instantly moved to another machine, if need be, even to a geographically different datacentre.
Additionally, the security features included in a cloud hosting package, together with the security expertise employed by the service provider, are usually far more advanced than those achievable in-house. As a result, there is a reduced risk of a company’s IT systems and data falling victim to a cyberattack. Together, reliability and increased security ensure that the customer experience remains a good one and that the brand maintains its reputation and trust.
Adopting cloud technology enables enterprises to greatly enhance the customer experience, helping them to attract and retain customers and optimise sales. With the growing number of advanced tools now available to cloud-migrated companies, the potential to keep on offering better experiences and improved services, while ensuring they are available centrally, on-demand, 24/7 is easier than ever before. What’s more, it will be cost-effective, reliable and secure.
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