It doesn't seem like customer experience is a technology problem.

It doesn’t seem like customer experience is a technology problem. Source: Shutterstock

Is customer experience a technology problem?

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (CX) has been dominating a lot of conversations in today’s world of business. Whether you’re a manufacturer, a retailer, or an e-commerce company, you’re constantly thinking about CX.

Unfortunately, most businesses still fail to deliver a good CX despite their best efforts. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on improving the user interface, bringing in artificial intelligence (AI), and creating several touchpoints doesn’t seem to help.

People just seem to be throwing technology at the problem without measuring the impact of that technology on the customer’s life first.

At the eCommerce Expo Asia 2018 in Singapore, a panel consisting of senior executives from Grab, Zalora, and foodpanda talked about the issue at length.

Each one reflected back on their own journey in the online marketplace, and noted that although technology is a huge part of improving the CX, there are other variables in the equation.

“We started out with a system where orders simply popped up on a screen and riders just picked an order and set out to fulfill them. Today we use sophisticated algorithms to manage orders to riders to maximize efficiency,” said foodpanda Singapore MD Luc Andreani.

However, the company didn’t get to where it is by solely relying on technology.

They’re successful because they understand their customers — hungry people want food they like, from a restaurant of their choice, delivered quickly, efficiently, and in perfect condition. It’s not rocket science, but it isn’t something that technology alone can help with either.

Now, many leaders sold on technology argue that if you don’t have a website that works well, your customers will be turned off — which is why getting the tech right is important. And they’re not wrong. But getting the technology right is now becoming more of a hygiene factor than a competitive advantage.

Interestingly enough, CX does seem to augment the impact of technology.

At Zalora, for instance, GM for Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan Giovanni Musillo said, “We can slice and dice data today, watching how customers react to campaigns and promotions in real time. This is a big focus for us and is accelerating our growth in the e-commerce space.” but agreed that it wouldn’t have been possible without the monomaniacal focus on CX.

The lesson for business leaders, therefore, is to focus their efforts on building a good CX by understanding the different variables involved.

Technology will definitely be a part of the solution, and it can provide distinct competitive advantages, but it’s not the magic wand that can transform the CX that the business provides, all by itself.