Knowing that Customer Experience (CX) is important is not the same as actively examining processes and improving the efficiency that leads to an improved CX. According to research conducted by Forrester Consulting, despite the majority of companies being aware that CX is an important element to their businesses, only 17.8% were engaging in rolling out CX programmes.

As customer’s expectations increase, the need to tap into CX improvement to differentiate a company over the other becomes even more apparent. In a customer service or sales environment, the infrastructure and supporting processes in the contact centre in particular can make all the difference.

Contact centres rely on either vendors or partners for their technology, and, where improvements are concerned, partnerships provide a more seamless business solution across people, technology, and supporting processes. Partnerships can co-create strategy, drive innovation and scale execution. This is the best foundation around which adaptation can be incorporated – data insights can be turned into measurable action and skills can work in harmony across departments.

Partnerships provide an ongoing relationship that requires a deeper, drilled-down understanding of the nature of the business, and a more detailed strategy for improving efficiencies and productivity across departments that work in concert with the contact centre. Rather than 10-year cost management outsourcing deals, value-added business partnerships should be considered.

Once a partnership is implemented and functioning, it becomes easier to address the various elements that govern CX, such as the support of executives, the speed at which the company can adapt, data analytics and measurable action, employee skills development and customer engagement.

Technology is developing at a rapid pace, but it’s not necessary to be at the forefront – the saying that slow and steady wins the race is not entirely true – slow does not address competitiveness in the business arena, but the “steady” part of that expression is applicable. Agility in technological implementations must not come at the expense of customer experience. Partnerships aid in allowing for the rolling out of small additions that improve efficiency as and when it’s needed without compromising the business offering.

The mistake of choosing the cheapest option provided by a one-size-fits-all vendor can result in subsequent costs-in-sales and loss of revenue. A vendor’s commitment after the initial deal is not aligned closely enough with the company’s business strategy, so should the business solution be inferior, the company will endure the problems created, not the vendor. In a partnership arrangement, it’s in the interests of the technology partner to ensure that efficient service is delivered in an ongoing fashion so that the partnership continues.

In a challenging business environment, the success of partnerships aids in creating enduring, sustainable business strategies that continue to lead to enhanced CX.

This article was first published in Tech Smart on 21 October 2016.