Customer service

Build VS Buy in CX


As a CXO if you haven’t noticed, increasing speed and customer experience convenience is a race. Customer access to sophisticated self-serve tools is no longer a nice surprise but a minimum expectation when doing business with you. To keep up, what’s best for your organization? Build or Buy? 

CX is increasingly complicated. Gone are the dial-in days. Customers want quick solutions to increasingly complicated problems. Some utilize self-service tools for basic interactions like password resets, and others utilize communities to find answers from like-minded people. These tools aren’t by accident. Savvy CX officers make better customer experiences even without direct rep contact. 

A.I. solutions are also becoming commonplace. Massive amounts of data are being collected with analytics from companies like Viable, shaping CX strategies to save customer and rep time. A.I. can be used to help with compliance and risk reduction as well as mitigating mundane, repetitive tasks that often fatigue agents. This enables humans to be… er, human. 

For anyone who has been on the phone and heard the words, “wow, that would frustrate me too, let’s figure this out,” you know empathy, passion and creativity are the best tools an agent has. Stuff A.I. can’t do.

Here’s the big question: Can you build a system sophisticated enough to empower your agent’s humanity? Building a customer service strategy is a complex task and making good investments now means scaling with the demands of tomorrow vs putting out more fires.

Reasons For Build

With a global shortage of data scientists, the cost to build may outweigh the gain. When accounting for automation in your enterprise on top of your current projects, many companies fail to see to the increase in costs of building a Center Of Excellence COE).

If you have deep pockets, and large R&D budget, and a commuting team for extremely unique customers, a build strategy might be best. For example, Amazon built its own solution for its business needs and outgrew the vendors in the market. This, of course, was AWS. 

Apple also did a great job building out their own CX tools, including an iOS app dedicated to customer service, and various built-in iMessage support options.

Custom builds are obviously ideal if you have the budget, want to fully control every aspect of the experience, and have the bandwidth to build a world-class team. Even if you do have an Apple or Amazon budget, build still might not be the best option, however. 

Reasons for Buy

Companies from the Fortune 100 to the SMB market who have built internal solutions, still struggle to untangle their inter-connected applications. It’s often a mess of proprietary and open systems. Simplifying this, streamlines operations, shoves maintenance costs on someone else’s plate and offloads security onto a company that has more to lose.

Buying solutions also frees you from staff with internalized IP. IT managers or small dev teams responsible for your “ugly baby” solutions often hold the operation ransom. These folks will hold operations back, making them incapable of innovation. Adapting to ever-changing markets becomes impossible.

When stuff breaks, who do you reach out to for support when you built it? CX vendors have R&D departments responsible for creating new value for clients. It’s true they can make you “dependent” on their solution, but that dependence comes at a cost to them. They have to keep you happy. 

Today, many CX tools on the market are actually more sophisticated, can be integrated with the flip of a switch, and costs can start as low as $100 per month. Unless you’re a CX leader with a billion-dollar budget for your new CX strategy, the answer is obvious. Buy beats build.

Brandon Bird, CX Expert at 3 Tree Tech
Brandon Bird

Brandon Bird has a twenty-year track record of exceeding business goals in Australia and America in a range of geographic and economic conditions. He has extensive experience in customer experience (CX) technology driving customer/company interaction and speaks at conferences on the topic.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.

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