As organizations focus on their Digital Customer Experience (DCX) strategies, one of the first items on the checklist is right-sizing the applications used for customer interactions and analytics.

On average today, organizations use 28.6 apps for customer-facing interactions or analytics. Yet, they say they only need 18.6 to get the same job done. The figures are even more pronounced for large companies: 43 apps in use today, but they only need 24.5, according to the Nemertes Research 2018-19 Digital Customer Experience research study of nearly 700 organizations globally.

Why are there so many apps? Business unit leaders may buy their own point products to achieve a specific goal (i.e., develop a customer loyalty program or conduct sentiment analysis) versus using one that may already be available in the company’s contact center or CRM apps. In other cases, new apps may have come into the company through mergers and acquisitions. And in others, individuals may have simply decided they wanted an innovative feature in a point product two years ago, but it’s now available through the contact center platform or service.

DCX initiatives are in vogue right now—and for good reason. Executives across all business units, as well as C-level executives, realize that customer experience can make or break a company, thanks to social media’s amplification of customer praise or complaints.

The problem is that most companies do not have a cohesive DCX strategy or an executive in charge of it. Rather, each business unit tends to do its own thing, causing massive overlap in apps, projects and even messaging.

Chief Customer Officer and the Customer Experience

When organizations have a Chief Customer Officer, they focus on the development of a DCX strategy. Today, only 25 percent of organizations have a CCO, but another 37 percent  are planning to hire one by the end of 2019.

Our definition of a CCO is as follows:

CCOs are executive-level individuals with ultimate responsibility for all customer-facing activities and strategy to maximize customer acquisition, retention and satisfaction.

They often work closely with the CMO and head of sales; creating “customer-first” mentality across the organization, in large part through analyzing data of customer ratings, sales, sales through digital channels, etc.

In order to achieve those lofty goals, one of the first jobs of a CCO is to take inventory of the apps supporting any customer-facing initiatives or projects. Typically, they reduce the total number of apps—but they’re not necessarily just focused on cutting them. They’re focused on designing the right mix of apps. So while they are eliminating and consolidating some apps, they’re also adding new apps to fill voids.

Checklist for App Right-Sizing

As the CCO and his or her team evaluate apps, we recommend the following best practices:

  • Right-size the customer-facing apps, but then make sure you integrate them with one another.
  • In doing so, it’s important to streamline the apps and channels that support customer interactions.
  • Omnichannel capabilities integrate the customer data for agents to not only reduce customer frustration, but also to more effectively analyze customer interactions and history in context.
  • Analytics are also crucial to deliver information (both real-time and historical) across channels.

For more insight on the technologies, organizational best practices, and success metrics in DCX, read the white paper Omnichannel Accelerates Contact Center Success Metrics.

Robin Gareiss is President and Founder of Nemertes Research, where she oversees research product development, conducts primary research and advises leading enterprises, vendors and carriers. For 25+ years, Ms. Gareiss has advised hundreds of senior IT executives, ranging in size from Fortune 100 to Fortune 2000, developing technology strategies and analyzing how they can transform their businesses. She has developed industry-leading, interactive cost models for some of the world’s largest enterprises and vendors.