How to innovate and improve customer experience

improve customer experience

Source: Unsplash/Alex Knight.

What does excellent customer experience look like for businesses today, and how do we get there? From using AI to traditional human interaction, customer experience is a rapidly evolving arena offering great opportunities for businesses.

Guided by Stephanie Palmer Derrien, startups and tech editor at SmartCompany, with insights from Jon Kaehne, head of business development for Australia and New Zealand at Amazon Web Services, a recent SmartCompany webinar took a closer look at key ways to improve customer experience.

Here are the takeaways.

Personalise the experience

People are now expecting and appreciating a personalised experience when they interact with a business, says Kaehne. It can take on many forms, from creating made-to-order products to leveraging AI and technology and offering strong in-house personal relationships.

“In the past, many things weren’t personalised because there just wasn’t the capacity to hold information about every customer and every customer interaction anywhere. Whereas we’ve moved into a world where it’s no longer prohibitive to really understand as much about the customer as they’re willing to share with you, and then use that information to provide those differentiated experiences,” says Kaehne.

“Personalisation means that in order for companies to deliver that, it means actually having the ability to ingest and manage a lot more data.”

Watch the full webinar for more customer experience insights, available on-demand now.

Make it easy for the customer

The past two years have seen a rapid uptake in digitisation, says Kaehne.

“The organisations that were already well organised in terms of digitised experiences probably benefited the most. But then the businesses that perhaps weren’t so mature, quickly doubled down on or pivoted more towards those experiences to improve what they were able to do for customers.”

With this uptake comes familiarity. Customers are used to their data being stored, which means it can be used to improve the process for them, says Kaehne. For example, don’t make people repeatedly fill out forms, when the information is already there from previous transactions. Make it as easy as possible.

“So many times, you look at a business process and say, ‘Well, how do we turn this into a…’ I’ll use the Amazon term, the one click experience. For example, I don’t need to write in my delivery address every time I want something delivered to me. You’ve delivered to me before, so just make it a one click experience. That’s really important.”

These types of processes can equally be applied to small or large businesses.

“We had a small Melbourne based company expanding into the UK last year. The business was growing really strongly, but they only had a couple of people in the office, and they were just overwhelmed with phone calls,” says Kaehne.

“We helped them set up Amazon Connect, [omnichannel cloud contact centre that helps companies with customer service and customer engagement] and they were up and running within three weeks. It was not a huge investment on their part, and basically took the load away from that small UK team really quickly.”

Keeping the human touch

Humans are social animals, says Kaehne. Being able to use new technologies brings great benefits to businesses of all sizes, but retaining a personal touch also makes good business sense.

“I think COVID has really highlighted it to all of us that at the end of the day human beings like being around other human beings. We can try and digitise everything, but the reality is we actually do like interacting with one another. So, not losing that as part of our business model is really important as well,” says Kaehne.

The other thing to remember is that innovation is not restricted to digitisation. Innovating means making changes to something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.

“Innovation can be low tech or no tech,” says Kaehne. “Sometimes low tech can deliver outstanding results — we just need to make the technology as appropriate as possible.”

amazon web services
Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 175 fully featured services from data centres globally. Millions of customers — including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies — are using AWS to lower costs, become more agile, and innovate faster. Whether you're looking for compute power, database storage or content delivery, AWS has the services to help you build sophisticated applications with increased flexibility, scalability and reliability.

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