If we look at the trends in customer experience, one of the things that we are seeing is a shift from the customer satisfaction terminology, interpretation, and landscape.

By Tunde Abagun, channel sales manager: sub-Saharan Africa at Nutanix

In the past, you typically measured customer satisfaction after a service had been rendered or a product had been sold or used. We’ve seen that customer satisfaction is now morphing into customer experience (CX) goals which is measured as more of a continuum throughout the lifecycle of customer engagement.

Customers are no longer excited by just the bells and whistles of a product or a service; they are interested in a 360-degree experience with a brand. It’s all about capturing the customer’s emotions to increase their overall experience, and one of the hallmarks of this transition or trend is that we’re no longer focused on post-sales only but the entire customer lifecycle.

What the customer is doing today is looking at the entire experience, which means from pre- to post-sales. This can be anything from website visit experience, how simple they are able to navigate, and the simplicity of the solution they are considering.

A big facet of today’s customer experience is the support process and how easy it is for customers to get the support they need, when they need it and, in some cases, even proactively.

Another trend is that employees are becoming a massive part of the customer experience. Gone are the days when the employee experience was separated from the customer experience. In fact, a Forbes article talked about companies with excellent customer experiences having employees that are 1,5-times more engaged than employees at companies with less satisfactory customer experience. Furthermore, the article said that companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147%.

When it comes to technology enabling customer experiences, Steve Jobs once said that you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. The customer experience is a largely data-driven play and about capturing data at various touchpoints.

Whether they are visiting your website for the first time and filling in a contact form, clicking on a bot, getting responses from a bot on your site, or navigating a demo tool, you have on the web. You can’t start with the technology and then try to figure out where to sell it.

The technologies that drive customer experience have to do with gathering data from all these various touch points. Automation technologies, analytics solutions, digital marketing solutions, cost optimisation solutions, storage consolidation, and security creates the foundation for lasting customer experiences. For instance, data lake technologies, or big data storage technologies, have become very important in that – the ability to integrate your storage landscapes, or even declutter your storage, has also become quite pivotal to the customer experience.

In the past, your sale cost was attached to a single sale. Today you don’t want to gain a single deal from your cost of sale; you want to be able to leverage it to get lifetime value from your customer. As such, the channel players understand the importance of the customer experience and leverage top-notch customer experiences to increase customer lifetime value.

Many channel players are beginning to get more involved in their customers’ businesses. They’re starting to gather more information on their customers, and they’re beginning to use this information to provide operational management services to them. For example, offering personnel recommendations, business continuity themes, or disaster recovery recommendations enables channel players to provide proactive guidance.

Channel players have pivoted their business to include support services, where they may be delivering Self Service portals to customers.

Players also choose the route to market and choose solutions by selecting OEMs that enhance customer experience processes and prioritise their customers’ success. By doing so, customer experience becomes a metric that is considered in determining businesses they want to work with from an OEM solution provider perspective.

There is a huge opportunity for channel players to leverage CX techniques and practices to eliminate shelfware by driving timely customer adoption of solutions sold and further drive customer footprint expansion, leading to the ultimate icing on the cake of recurrent revenue, timely renewals.

If executed properly, these tenets reinforce each other, ultimately leading to increased cumulative Customer lifetime value for Partner players all whilst differentiating them from the various “options” at the customers’ disposal.