customer experience interrupted

CX Uninterrupted: 6 Trends that will drive Customer Experience in a post-COVID World

March went by in a flash and yet it felt like the longest 31 days ever. For organizations large and small, the urgent need to reorient the workforce to a new way of working came swiftly with playbooks being written and rewritten depending on what leaders were learning from government authorities, medical professionals, and from their own employees.

Those days following the lockdown proved challenging for many. We found that our customers came to us looking for information on best practices, how to engage with peers in our new Community4U as well as to get access to more training content and even Unit4’s business continuity plans. The latter was extremely important to them because they see our relationship as a partnership, one for the long term. They wanted to know how we would ensure unbridled access to vital information, maintain system uptimes and data security, and maintain connections with their day-to-day contacts.

As the world slowly reopens for business and companies begin to execute their plans for the “new normal”, some things have become very apparent to me and my team.

Self-service is the “new normal”. The digital doorway must always be open with information, updates and SME connections just a click-away.  We’re proud of our new Community4U site which offers Unit4 customers access to forums, content and news as well as the ability to submit requests. Peer-to-peer engagement has grown immensely with lively, in-depth discussions on products, integrations and even new ideas through our Ideation platform.

Customers demand a steady flow of innovation from their vendors. There was a time when the vendor drove the product conversation, including priorities, timing and feature development. Customers now see this as a two-way dialog where ideas and requirements can quickly be woven into tomorrow’s roadmap. The rise of this “citizen developer” has also pushed the agenda on application extensibility. We both play an important role in evolving our roadmap while ensuring the platform allows for customers to flex the application as rapidly as their business processes require.

Upgrading to best-in-class support systems to keep pace with our customers is a must. Over the past year, Unit4 has made significant investments in service and support platforms to drive operational efficiency and service delivery. If time is money, then the speed with which we can keep customers up-to-date and resolve issues is highly valued . This, coupled with ongoing training of our customer advocates, remains a top priority for us -- we understand that relationships are human, and our agents are the trusted partners in helping to keep our customers’ businesses operating uninterrupted.

Data privacy and security are a top priority We heard from many of our customers that they were reading in the news about scams, breaches, and other “bad actor” initiated actions be it on virtual conference platforms, email or in back-office systems. The COVID-19 situation had already made leaders and their teams feel vulnerable- and in some cases exposed. Ensuring that employee, customer and partner data remained safe and secure was a question we were all too happy to answer -- it was one less thing they had to worry about.

Your employees absolutely impact Customer Experience. We’ve heard this for years and have seen the studies across many industries on this topic. Blake Morgan, CX Futurist and Author, has stated that there’s “an un-ignorable link between employee experience and customer experience”. We agree with Blake and have invested in training, talent enablement tooling, and onboarding programs, as well as ensuring that we promote a strong “work/life balance” philosophy.

It’s all about the journey. Customer Experience isn’t owned by a single function. The days of silo-based success organizations are a thing of the past and may have, in fact, been part of the problem. Mapping the customer journey through all the touchpoints - awareness, purchase, adoption, and retention, to name a few - will help vendors like us to become an experience-led business. As Blake Morgan notes, “by understanding the customer journey, B2B companies can stay a step ahead of the customer to lead them on the path for a great experience and quality product or service.”

CX uninterrupted is not just a strapline, it’s a philosophy we take seriously as a company and as your partner. We, too, understand that today’s investments- from training a new employee and ensuring your data is safe to implementing platforms like Gainsight- are foundational to creating an effortless experience for you. While times may be uncertain, your partnership with Unit4 is not. We’re here 4U.

James Shand

James Shand

Global Head of Cloud Transformation

My background is in leading the efforts of major global businesses to better understand and deliver on their customers’ needs. Customer engagement and success are pivotal to Unit4’s continued growth and success too, as we elevate the whole enterprise software People Experience. I relish the opportunity to lead this transformation and build the organization required to support and delight Unit4 customers at every touch point.

Away from work, I am a petrolhead and keen motorsport enthusiast and also enjoy spending time with my family in the UK and South Africa.