How legacy technology hinders “customer experience and loyalty”

As many businesses have made a start on the digital transformation journey, there’s increasing market pressure to deliver more sophisticated customer experiences.

Legacy technology is hindering this process. In fact, 92% of Chief Information Officers find integrating new communications channels with legacy systems a key challenge to improving customer experience and loyalty initiatives.

Understanding the new, digital customer experience.

 

Digital operations are raising the competitive bar across the board. For organisations to keep up, they need to embrace a new operating model that improves the digital customer experience.

Research from McKinsey found that there’s a growing customer expectation of superior services. These include apps that value function over form, custom content and quick customer support (three-quarters of online customers said they expected help within five minutes). And it’s  increasingly important for businesses to respond with consistent levels of speed and consistency, whether using email, SMS, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp Business.

Today, customers expect relevant content anytime, anywhere and in the format and on the device of their choosing. They are always connected and are used to getting what they want at precisely the moment they want it.

To create the kind of customer experience that earns loyalty, companies need to master the complex and interconnected landscape of technologies, marketing approaches, and operational capabilities. They need to take a customer-centric approach when designing and digitalising customer journeys.

While this seems like a straightforward exercise, there are a few barriers in the way. One of them being legacy technology.

Why legacy technology hinders customer experience and loyalty.

 

Legacy technology can be described as “an old method, technology, computer system or application program, of, relating to, or being a previous or outdated computer system.”

In a world of exponential change, legacy technology is not ideal.

Legacy technology has been described as that old pair of jeans hanging in your cupboard – they’re “comfortable”, but no longer really fit for wearing. Not only is legacy technology not fit for purpose anymore, it’s likely costing you a fair amount of money to keep it operational

Time to take a big step forward

 

Modern customer communications management (CCM) is at the centre of enabling businesses to leverage technology in ways that drive improvements in customer service, engagement, overall customer experience and loyalty.  

Many businesses, however, are still using several CCM systems, some of which are legacy. This means that they’re missing out on the opportunity to create a robust digital customer experience, as data is spread across multiple, uncorrelated systems.

Not having the right technology needed to deliver great customer experiences in real-time and in a cost-effective manner is a significant obstacle. The biggest challenge comes from trying to perfect the experience for every customer across every channel. In most cases, legacy systems can’t cope with this.

In addition to hindering customer experience and loyalty efforts, legacy technology is a threat to your business in several ways:

  • Data breaches. Legacy technology is open to cybercrime, as there is no vendor support and limited opportunities for valuable upgrades. Data privacy is vital for the digital customer experience and data breaches are incredibly detrimental to your reputation. 
  • Unreliable operation. Many businesses hold onto legacy systems in the belief that they still work. But, when they don’t, it’s often disastrous.
  • Dissatisfied customers. Offering outdated solutions will likely prompt customers to look at dealing with more progressive businesses.
  • Poor employee engagement. Consider how a younger employee who’s comfortable with technology might react to coping with the limitations of legacy technology. Low employee engagement rubs off on customer engagement.

Modern technology can enable crucial functions needed to deliver a satisfying customer experience, including automating specific tasks, improving content targeting, scenario planning, opportunities for personalisation and becoming more responsive to user actions.

In The Business Case for Digital Investment report, 20% of marketing professionals said that their organisations only invest in technology when legacy systems fail. This puts further limits on customer experience and loyalty efforts and risks having ‘downtime’ with no plans in place in the interim.

How to overcome these barriers and improve the customer experience.

 

The ability to innovate and improve customer interactions can make or break a business. Overcoming the barriers of legacy technology is, in many cases, easier said than done. Many companies have data spread across multiple systems, with programs and processes varying from department to department. This makes communication channel integration quite complicated. 

There are ways to overcome these barriers. None of them are simple, but you have to get started or get left behind. These are a few examples:

  • Adopt a platform-oriented approach to customer experience and loyalty programs. Adopting a platform-oriented approach involves investing in centralised cloud customer communications platforms. This provides businesses with a unified view, putting them in control, and allowing them to work towards automating two-way digital customer interactions.
  • Create an agile, flexible IT environment. Cloud technology is at the core of digital transformation initiatives. It enables companies to be fast, dynamic and flexible. Plus, it allows for testing new projects cost-effectively in a low-risk environment. That means responding to customer demands more quickly. 
  • Customer-centric design of customer journeys. A key to offering an excellent digital customer experience is designing (or redesigning) a radically new customer journey. Start with rethinking the entire customer journey and how it works. New designs need to be tested and adapted based on customer feedback. And this approach must allow for seamless integration with existing channels, including non-digital touchpoints. 

As legacy processes become redundant in the new customer journey, they should still run parallel until the new journey is fully operational.

Don’t let legacy technology hold you back.

Keeping up with the demands of the modern consumer involves keeping up with modern technology. If you want to create satisfying customer experiences and inspire loyalty, you need to adopt digital practices for the “always connected” consumer.

But remember, “going digital” isn’t always as simple as adopting new technologies. You need to step away from legacy technologies and carefully control a smooth transition to flexible, digital systems that will allow you to efficiently respond to the rapidly evolving requirements of your customers and your business. 

Customer expectations are changing rapidly. Don’t let legacy technology hold you back. Get in touch and let’s see how we can help you create a customer experience and loyalty offering that’s keeping pace.

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