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It’s no secret that customer experience (CX) is more critical than ever and a top priority for businesses worldwide. More than 50 percent of organizations will invest significantly in CX by 2018, according to Gartner. Combined with an estimated $1.6 trillion lost annually as a result of poor service, all companies risk survival if they fail to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Excellent CX is driven by a company’s ability to engage with its customers, both online and off, to create an emotional connection between the customer and brand. It’s this connection that builds brand loyalty, influences buying decisions and leads to revenue and higher customer lifetime value for the brand.
Today’s expectations for customer experience have reached a fever pitch, thanks to the on-demand economy. But this doesn’t mean that all interactions between a brand and its audience should be digital. While connected customer engagement is part of the new world order, physical engagement – old-school face-to-face interaction – remains highly relevant. In fact, Accenture research finds that human interaction proves a vital component of customer satisfaction. Modell’s Sporting Goods, for example, has capitalized on its in-store experience, focusing on reaching its local, value-driven customer and using its physical stores for events and causes customers care about. But, the lines start to blur when you consider technology like live video chat, which facilitates a real-time connection between a brand and a customer, effectively representing physical engagement. Is the convergence of the physical and digital worlds the endgame in innovative engagement and CX?
This overlap between digital and physical engagement is an area where we are seeing many companies explore and innovate – take Apple’s live chat support that brings the convenience of personalized expert support to your desktop.
Several of our portfolio companies are proving pioneers in this space as well. Splash, a leading event marketing automation company, pushes the boundaries of digital and physical with its advanced event management platform. This platform provides companies and marketers with rich insights necessary for personalizing – and effectually enhancing events. This is becoming increasingly important as live events today are often the only in-person interaction and marketing opportunity companies have with their customers. Splash’s model represents a good example of incorporating digital technology for targeted, in-person interactions.
Another portfolio company, Vee24, is also blending the digital and physical world. Its live video chat technology injects a personal interaction into online engagements, allowing retailers and brands to connect in real-time with customers on mobile devices and in stores, using voice, video chat, text chat and co-browsing. This technology provides the digital equivalent of an in-store experience, offering the flexibility for customers to shop from the convenience of their homes, eliminating the need to travel to a physical store without sacrificing personalized service. By offering an in-person experience in a virtual environment, Vee24 is ideal for retailers in the race to thrive both in-store and online by appealing to multi-channel shoppers.
Our companies, Promoboxx, TimeTrade and Exchange Solutions are all bringing new innovation to the CX space as well. There’s no denying that improving customer engagement is table stakes in this economy and a trend that’s dominating the enterprise tech space. With the availability of robust technology, there’s no reason why innovative companies shouldn’t capitalize on both the physical and digital sides. As companies continue to explore this convergence, questions arise. Is the goal of consistent CX across channels even attainable? What problems do these technologies really solve? At Ascent, we are deeply interested in this trend as we see abundant opportunity, and we welcome the chance to further explore the technologies and dynamics driving this trend with the local community.
Join us as we discuss these questions and more, at our next B2B IT Forum on May 9, 2017, at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge, MA. For additional details and to RSVP, click here.