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The Future of Telehealth: Challenges and Solutions – ReadWrite

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Future of Telehealth: Illustration with a healthcare professional on a computer with a bubble that says 154% growth.


The future of telehealth is here and now, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), telehealth visits increased by 154% in 2020, compared to 2019. And one year later, there’s little surprise as to why.

As the coronavirus continues to make headlines worldwide, many health professionals have turned to telehealth solutions. Virtual care benefits don’t just help decrease contamination risk and reduce exposure for patients and staff.

They also include a decrease in on-site patient demand and facilitate widespread access to healthcare solutions. This has proven to be life-saving, especially for more vulnerable individuals at this unstable time.

  Image source: Storyset

The road to success is windy, and the innovative world of telehealth is not without its disadvantages. The medical industry has had to rush to adjust to this new reality. Often with little time to address the challenges or find creative solutions.

As a result, more than ever before, institutions, hospitals, governments, and all types of healthcare providers are discussing telehealth benefits and challenges.

If you’re trying to keep your patients safe and your practice afloat, you must understand the future of telehealth so you can plan how to make the transition with success.

What Is Telehealth and What Is Telemedicine?

Telehealth can be defined as using telecommunication technologies (such as computers or mobile devices) to facilitate health-related services. These services include medical care, patient education and monitoring, and also telemedicine.

Telemedicine is a more specific term to describe patients’ diagnosis, treatment, and consultation via digital technologies.

Telehealth Benefits and Challenges

The pandemic increased the demand for digital and remote health-related services to unprecedented levels. However, it also highlighted telehealth benefits and challenges in a more transparent way. Let’s take a closer look at these challenges and advantages.

Main Advantages of Telehealth

The benefits of telehealth go far beyond preventing exposure to viruses and diseases. As doctors and patients transition into the digital world, more and more benefits become evident. Patients and physicians no longer need to be in the same city or even state to attend a consultation.

Those who live in rural areas or have mobility issues can better access healthcare services without leaving their homes.

The future of telehealth is also beneficial to busy parents and professionals who have little time for in-person visits. As a healthcare professional, this allows you to reach more patients, grow your practice, and sustainably increase your revenue.

A healthcare provider stands in front of a window with a tablet in her hands.

Image source: Pixabay

Streamlining consultations between doctors and patients is just the beginning. Health institutions of all sizes and types are adopting telehealth in their practices. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Monitoring all types of conditions can be more consistent through the use of technology.
  • Patients can log their symptoms into applications and safely share them with doctors.
  • Physicians can review and interpret medical imaging scans or blood test results through digital communication.

Whether it’s for remote patient monitoring, mobile health via smart devices, or the use of ingestible sensors — technology-centric healthcare is here to stay. You can now get data from IoT devices during telemedicine appointments and monitor your patients in real-time. Adopting telehealth can demand a hefty initial investment, but you can expect reduced costs in the mid and long term.

Telemedicine Risks and Challenges – And How to Overcome Them

With every new trend comes new challenges. Many physicians and owners of healthcare institutions are tentative about investing in their own solution because they are worried about the risks. However, if done correctly, medical technology should empower you and your healthcare practice to reach new heights and conquer new horizons.

Challenge: Receiving Payment and Reimbursement

Getting payment from customers online can be a challenge for teams and institutions. Private and public health insurance companies like Medicare used to have restrictions for coverage of telehealth consultations.

However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, most of these restrictions were lifted by the government for Medicare. Therefore, opening the opportunity for insurance providers. With this limitation removed, it has now become easier for healthcare institutions to receive payments or reimbursements.

Solution: Set Up Technology for Integration and Tracking

When looking for a tech partner to bring your healthcare service to the digital world, you should request that payment solutions are integrated into your current EMR/EHR system.

With the right technology, you can keep track of all reimbursement claims and organize receipts. For example, when a patient schedules a consultation via your EMR/EHR system, you can set it up to automatically track their insurance coverage.

This means that your system would send a payment request to the patient or a reimbursement claim to their insurance provider on the day of the consultation.

Challenge: Keeping Sensitive Patient Data Safe

Privacy is a significant concern for both patients and providers when it comes to health information. You must ensure that all communication ends are protected and encrypted – even on the patient side. Cyber-attacks can happen on either end, raising concern about data privacy.

Solution: Hire a Third-Party Provider with Experience in Data Privacy

Josip Radic, Deputy Director of Engineering at Scopic, explains that a third-party software development company should have experience with data privacy and HIPAA compliance. “Data in healthcare systems can be very sensitive, so healthcare companies have to take all necessary steps to prevent any type of data leakage,” Josip adds.

Most healthcare providers work closely with government agencies that regulate security guidelines and stipulate best practices. Third-party security agencies can also audit your applications to evaluate the quality of your safety implementations.

However, it is better to play it safe and have security measures in place before the audit, and other regulatory processes occur.

Challenge: Handling Massive Amounts of Patient Data

Depending on the telehealth services you offer, you may be dealing with massive amounts of data daily — from medical imaging scans and videos to patient records, and other vital information.

Managing lots of sensitive patient data is an enormous challenge and requires particular know-how and experience. The responsibility of storing such data can be a daunting problem, especially when considering the importance of information security.

Solution: Big Data Expertise and Serverless Settings

As a solution to this challenge, you should look for a dependable third-party software development partner. Focus on finding a company with vast expertise in big data and deep know-how on patient data privacy.

Another layer of data security you should consider for your application is avoiding servers. “Architect your solution in a ‘serverless’ way. This will mean you can transfer responsibilities to cloud platforms (if the software is cloud-based) or other companies that take care of system updates, maintenance, and upgrades,” Josip explains.

Challenge: Patient Retention and Digital Literacy

Transitioning your practice to digital can be a challenge. Often, a lack of digital literacy can cause patients to abandon their applications early on. You need to create accessible, flexible, and easy-to-use solutions so patients can access the app on the go from wherever they are. Ultimately, if your solution is too complicated or lacks usability, you can end up losing patients.

Solution: Invest in User Experience and Responsiveness

Sometimes, the best way to enhance patient care and streamline communication is to tailor-make your own solution. By doing so, you can create applications that fit your specific needs and overcome your pain points.

Start by considering your goals and challenges and draw up a plan of action. Make sure to research the solutions your competition is using and seek the advice of an expert.

Don’t forget to think mobile! Statistics show that more people are accessing healthcare services through their phones. Mobile applications should be a part of the solution when caring for patients and enabling communication. Your telemedicine app should not only be safe and fast but also available for any type of screen – from desktop to tablets to mobile devices.

User experience is also key. Your application must be intuitive and easy to navigate for both professionals and end-users. Enabling real-time communication to help save lives and boost patient satisfaction is not an easy task. So, make sure you are equipped with the knowledge and team you need to reach your goals.

A healthcare provider talks to a patient via video chat while seeing image scans and test results in various screens.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

The Future of Telehealth is Upon Us. Are You Ready?

The year 2020 brought telehealth to a level that many thought would take decades, yet here we are. We still don’t know what telemedicine will look like in a few years, but we have some ideas.

The challenges are significant, but the solutions are viable. You should embrace all the benefits of bringing your medical solutions into the digital world. Partnering with a dependable software development company will help you bring your telehealth ideas to life. If your practice is ready to shape the future of patient care, telehealth solutions (scopicwoftwaredotcom) are the way to go forward.

Top Image Credit: edward jenner; pexels; thank you!

Giulianna Santos

Marketing Specialist at Scopic

I’m an experienced digital marketer at Scopic. I believe that good quality information can impact the world. I strive to hare new perspectives to help businesses grow and achieve new heights.

Politics

Cybersecurity Outsourcing: Principles of Choice and Trust

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Alex Vakulov


A few years ago, cybersecurity outsourcing was perceived as something inorganic and often restrained. Today, cybersecurity outsourcing is still a rare phenomenon. Instead, many companies prefer to take care of security issues themselves.

Almost everyone has heard about cybersecurity outsourcing, but the detailed content of this principle is still interpreted very differently in many companies.

In this article, I want to answer the following important questions: Are there any risks in cybersecurity outsourcing? Who is the service for? Under what conditions is it beneficial to outsource security? Finally, what is the difference between MSSP and SecaaS models?

Why do companies outsource?

Outsourcing is the transfer of some functions of your own business to another company. Why use outsourcing? The answer is obvious – companies need to optimize their costs. They do this either because they do not have the relevant competencies or because it is more profitable to implement some functions on the side. When companies need to put complex technical systems into operation and do not have the capacity or competence to do this, outsourcing is a great solution.

Due to the constant growth in the number and types of threats, organizations now need to protect themselves better. However, for several reasons, they often do not have a complete set of necessary technologies and are forced to attract third-party players.

Who needs cybersecurity outsourcing?

Any company can use cybersecurity outsourcing. It all depends on what security goals and objectives are planned to be achieved with its help. The most obvious choice is for small companies, where information security functions are of secondary importance to business functions due to a lack of funds or competencies.

For large companies, the goal of outsourcing is different. First, it helps them to solve information security tasks more effectively. Usually, they have a set of security issues, the solution of which is complex without external help. Building DDoS protection is a good example. This type of attack has grown so much in strength that it is very difficult to do without the involvement of third-party services.

There are also economic reasons that push large companies to switch to outsourcing. Outsourcing helps them implement the desired function at a lower cost.

At the same time, outsourcing is not suitable for every company. In general, companies need to focus on their core business. In some cases, you can (and should) do everything on your own; in other cases, it is advisable to outsource part of the IS functions or turn to 100% outsourcing. However, in general, I can say that information security is easier and more reliable to implement through outsourcing.

What information security functions are most often outsourced?

It is preferable to outsource implementation and operational functions. Sometimes it is possible to outsource some functions that belong to the critical competencies of information security departments. This may involve policy management, etc.

The reason for introducing information security outsourcing in a company is often the need to obtain DDoS protection, ensure the safe operation of a corporate website, or build a branch network. In addition, the introduction of outsourcing often reflects the maturity of a company, its key and non-key competencies, and the willingness to delegate and accept responsibility in partnership with other companies.

The following functions are popular among those who already use outsourcing:

  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Threat response and monitoring
  • Penetration testing
  • Information security audits
  • Incident investigation
  • DDoS protection

Outsourcing vs. outstaffing

The difference between outsourcing and outstaffing lies in who manages the staff and program resources. If the customer does this, then we are talking about outstaffing. However, if the solution is implemented on the side of the provider, then this is outsourcing.

When outstaffing, the integrator provides its customer with a dedicated employee or a team. Usually, these people temporarily become part of the customer’s team. During outsourcing, the dedicated staff continues to work as part of the provider. This allows the customer to provide their competencies, but the staff members can simultaneously be assigned to different projects. Separate customers receive their part from outsourcing.

With outstaffing, the provider’s staff is fully occupied with a specific customer’s project. This company may participate in people search, hiring, and firing of employees involved in the project. The outstaffing provider is only responsible for accounting and HR management functions.

At the same time, a different management model works with outsourcing: the customer is given support for a specific security function, and the provider manages the staff for its implementation.

Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) or Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS)

We should distinguish two areas: traditional outsourcing (MSSP) and cloud outsourcing (SECaaS).

With MSSP, a company orders an information security service, which will be provided based on a particular set of protection tools. The MSS provider takes care of the operation of the tools. The customer does not need to manage the setup and monitoring.

SECaaS outsourcing works differently. The customer buys specific information security services in the provider’s cloud. SECaaS is when the provider gives the customer the technology with complete freedom to apply controls.

To understand the differences between MSSP and SECaaS, comparing taxi and car sharing is better. In the first case, the driver controls the car. He provides the passenger with a delivery service. In the second case, the control function is taken by the customer, who drives the vehicle delivered to him.

How to evaluate the effectiveness of outsourcing?

The economic efficiency of outsourcing is of paramount importance. But the calculation of its effects and its comparison with internal solutions (in-house) is not so obvious.

When evaluating the effectiveness of an information security solution, one may use the following rule of thumb: in projects for 3 – 5 years, one should focus on optimizing OPEX (operating expense); for longer projects – on optimizing CAPEX (capital expenditure).

At the same time, when deciding to switch to outsourcing, economic efficiency assessment may sometimes fade into the background. More and more companies are guided by the vital need to have certain information security functions. Efficiency evaluation comes in only when choosing a method of implementation. This transformation is taking place under the influence of recommendations provided by analytical agencies (Gartner, Forrester) and government authorities. It is expected that in the next ten years, the share of outsourcing in certain areas of information security will reach 90%.

When evaluating efficiency, a lot depends on the specifics of the company. It depends on many factors that reflect the characteristics of the company’s business and can only be calculated individually. It is necessary to consider various costs, including those that arise due to possible downtime.

What functions should not be outsourced?

Functions closely related to the company’s internal business processes should not be outsourced. The emerging risks will touch not only the customer but also all internal communications. Such a decision may be constrained by data protection regulations, and too many additional approvals are required to implement such a model.

Although there are some exceptions, in general, the customer should be ready to accept certain risks. Outsourcing is impossible if the customer is not prepared to take responsibility and bear the costs of violating the outsourced IS function.

Benefits of cybersecurity outsourcing

Let me now evaluate the attractiveness of cybersecurity outsourcing for companies of various types.

For a company of up to 1,000 people, IS outsourcing helps to build a layered cyber defense, delegating functions where it does not yet have sufficient competence.

For larger companies with about 10,000 or more, meeting the Time-to-Market criterion becomes critical. But, again, outsourcing allows you to solve this problem quickly and saves you from solving HR problems.

Regulators also receive benefits from the introduction of information security outsourcing. They are interested in finding partners because regulators have to solve the country’s information security control problem. The best way for government authorities is to create a separate structure to transfer control. Even in the office of the president of any country, there is a place for cybersecurity outsourcing. This allows you to focus on core functions and outsource information security to get a quick technical solution.

Information security outsourcing is also attractive for large international projects such as the Olympics. After the end of the events, it will not be necessary to keep the created structure. So, outsourcing is the best solution.

The assessment of service quality

Trust is created by confidence in the quality of the service received. The question of control is not idle here. Customers are obliged to understand what exactly they outsource. Therefore, the hybrid model is currently the most popular one. Companies create their own information security department but, at the same time, outsource some of the functions, knowing well what exactly they should get in the end.

If this is not possible, then you may focus on the service provider’s reputation, the opinion of other customers, the availability of certificates, etc. If necessary, you should visit the integrator and get acquainted with its team, work processes, and the methodology used.

Sometimes you can resort to artificial checks. For example, if the SLA implies a response within 15 minutes, then an artificial security incident can be triggered and response time evaluated.

What parameters should be included in service level agreements?

The basic set of expected parameters includes response time before an event is detected, response time before a decision is made to localize/stop the threat, continuity of service provision, and recovery time after a failure. This basic set can be supplemented with a lengthy list of other parameters formed by the customer based on his business processes.

It is necessary to take into account all possible options for responding to incidents: the need for the service provider to visit the site, the procedure for conducting digital forensics operations, etc.

It is vital to resolve all organizational issues already at the stage of signing the contract. This will allow you to set the conditions for the customer to be able to defend his position in the event of a failure in the provision of services. It is also essential for the customer to define the areas and shares of responsibility of the provider in case of incidents.

The terms of reference must also be attached to the SLA agreement. It should highlight all the technical characteristics of the service provided. If the terms of reference are vague, then the interpretation of the SLA can be subjective.

There should not be many problems with the preparation of documents. The SLA agreement and its details are already standardized among many providers. The need for adaptation arises only for large customers. In general, quality metrics for information security services are known in advance. Some limit values ​​can be adjusted when the need arises. For example, you may need to set stricter rules or lower your requirements.

Prospects for the development of cybersecurity outsourcing in 2023

The current situation with personnel, the complexity of information security projects, and the requirements of regulators trigger an increase in information security outsourcing services. As a result, the growth of the most prominent players in cybersecurity outsourcing and their portfolio of services is expected. This is determined by the necessity to maintain a high level of service they provide. There will also be a quicker migration of information security solutions to the cloud.

In recent years, we have seen a significant drop in the cost of cyber attacks. At the same time, the severity of their consequences is growing. It pushes an increase in demand for information security services. A price rise is expected, and perhaps even a shortage of some hardware components. Therefore, the need for hardware-optimized software solutions will grow.

Featured Image Credit: Tima Miroshnichenko; Pexels; Thank you!

Alex Vakulov

Alex Vakulov is a cybersecurity researcher with over 20 years of experience in malware analysis. Alex has strong malware removal skills. He is writing for numerous tech-related publications sharing his security experience.

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5 Signs That Indicate Your Startup Is Ready To Scale Up

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Deanna Ritchie


Concerns surrounding the current changing economic cycle amid rampant running inflation, a tightening monetary policy, and an even tighter labor market has seen small business sentiment reach a new low against the backdrop of tumultuous conditions.

Across the board, small business confidence has plummeted to new record lows. According to an earlier August report by CNBC, The Small Business Confidence Index dropped to 42 points at the start of the third quarter, four points lower than the quarter before.

Today, more than half – 51% – of small business owners and entrepreneurs have described the current state of the economy as “poor,” a jump from 44% recorded in the second quarter.

The post-pandemic economy, which has brought widespread uncertainty to both business owners and consumers has left many owners signaling red as they try to shield themselves financially against a looming recession.

The tall tale that reads around 90% of startups fail, and 10% fail within the first year since inception is looking more and more realistic these days.

A lack of financial capital, consumer support, and appropriate services or products in a highly competitive market has driven many startup entrepreneurs further into the dark. But these and other conditions have been a persisting challenge for many startup owners, and for those who can upscale their ventures in the coming months or years or now left feeling more puzzled than ever before.

Despite the hard economic challenges, running from higher operating costs to troublesome labor conditions, there are still a number of startups – in several industries – that carry the potential to increase their capacity, whether it’s broadening their services or products offerings, onboarding new personnel, or even going public with a brick-and-mortar store.

Signs That Indicate That It Is Time To Scale Your Business

Regardless of the conditions, you’re operating, it’s time that you start noticing the signs that will help you realize it’s time to scale your business – and here are five of the most common ones.

You Still Have Ongoing Funding

Whether your startup was lucky enough to strike a few lucrative funding deals with credible investors, or you recently signed new backers that are willing to invest in your new line of products and services, startups that still have plentiful funding amid the turndown will potentially be ready to scale their ventures in the coming months or years.

It’s always best to consider how funding is used, and where most of its being allocated. If most of your finances are currently tied to research and development, you might want to still hold out before going too big too soon. If the funding is still there, it’s a good indicator that the startup is still in a good position and that the possibilities of scaling could be around the corner.

Optimized Sales

Sales have been booming, and the startup is finding it more and more difficult to keep up with the strong demand. If you notice that you need to hire or onboard new personnel to help drive revenue and growth, you might need to consider how you can scale your business in the months ahead.

It’s best to play it safe, as most of the time higher sales can be driven by market trends, and consumer shopping behaviors can change on a whim. If your sales strategy is still on track with startup goals, look to ways in which you can initiate optimized sales growth, while at the same time onboarding a talented team.

Sturdy and Loyal Customer Base

Startups that are more focused on rapid growth, and not consumer demands or building a loyal customer base tend to fail a lot quicker. This might not be the case for every startup, as industries do tend to differ, and consumer purchasing behavior.

Nonetheless, startups that have established a loyal and trusting customer base, and that have a clear value proposition within their business ethos might be ready to start branching out to other parts of the consumer market.

It could also swing the other way around. In the case where a startup has to start turning clients away, because of increased demand, and not enough physical hands to help the business cope, the business could start running into a bottleneck situation.

This is why it’s important to invest in a valuable core team that can help drive sales, and carry the potential to push further development of the business.

You Have a Strong Team

Although customers are a crucial part of the business, a strong and highly motivated team is just as important to the core of the business.

Any business owner will tell you that without the right people, a business is setting itself up for failure. Having a strong team that carries out the mission of the business day in and out will only help a startup become more successful in the long run.

If you notice that your team is capable of running projects by themselves, resolving issues without requiring executive intervention, or generating new leads that could potentially lead to new sales – your startup might be ready for the next step of its scaling journey.

Steady Cash Flow

Aside from investor funding deals and private backers, startups that enjoy steady cash flow might be in the right position to enter a new era of growth.

Although it’s possible that scaling your startup will automatically increase costs, it’s important to delay every outlay of cash as long as possible. This will help the business remain financially secure, even in the face of a sudden market downturn.

Generating revenue is a good thing, but having a steady stream of income coming and going through your business is a good indicator for any startup owner.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of startup owners who need to consider before simply deciding they want to scale their business. Whether it’s bringing onboard new members, or launching new products and services to help alleviate a bottleneck demand – seeing the signs of positive business growth means that your startup is ready for its next phase.

Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Beytlik; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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The Role of Advanced Tech in Modern CX

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Deanna Ritchie


While customer experience (CX) will always require a human touch, there’s something to be said about technology and its role in keeping customers happy and engaged. And if you look at the current landscape of business tools, you’ll see that there’s never been a better time to focus on modern CX.

What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience might sound like a buzzword or fancy term that Silicon Valley startups paste into PowerPoint presentations when raising a fresh round of capital. Still, it’s a tangible concept that has a real-world impact on your business (for better or worse).

According to HubSpot, “Customer experience is the impression your customers have of your brand as a whole throughout all aspects of the buyer’s journey. It results in their view of your brand and impacts factors related to your bottom line including revenue.”

Modern CX is especially important when you think about the sheer volume of options the average customer has to choose from. With so many similar services and products being sold by competitors, you need something that sets you apart. A positive customer experience can help you do this. Likewise, ongoing CX impacts loyalty, repeat purchases, customer lifetime value, and more.

Customer experience is created and influenced by two primary touch points within your organization: Your people and your products. If you’re going to enhance customer experience, start by thinking about (1) how you can improve the way your people interact with and serve your customers, and (2) the quality, utility, and perceived value of your products by the customer.

Exploring High-Tech Approaches to Customer Experience

If you want to elevate the customer experience and grow your business, you must reduce friction. And the best way to reduce friction is by streamlining your approach using technology and innovation.

Here are several technologies and approaches that successful companies rely on (and you can too).

1. IT Help Desk Software

If you’re still using a basic ticketing system to handle support tickets and IT requests, you’re playing from behind. Not only are your customers extremely frustrated with the slow pace and poor service, but your employees are drowning behind the scenes.

IT help desk software decreases end-user confusion, streamlines problem resolution, and makes quick use of pesky tickets. Some features of IT help desk software could include the following.

  • Assign individual tickets to specific team members based on skillsets, certifications, experience, and availability. This ensures customers get the best (and fastest) support for their individualized needs.
  • Automatically and intelligently triage support tickets so that simple fixes can be automatically addressed without requiring manual input from a team member.
  • Get notifications and reminders on outstanding support tickets so that no customer request is left open for too long.

Most advanced help desk software is built on the cloud, which increases your team’s flexibility and allows you to provide customer support from anywhere (without being dependent on location or device).

It’s also entirely scalable, which makes it easy to continue providing great support, even as your customer base and volume of support tickets grow.

2. AI and ML Chatbots

People want as many different customer service options and channels as they can get. And they expect someone to be available to help them regardless of the time or day. From a company’s perspective, this creates a lot of pressure and expectation. Thankfully, technology comes to the rescue once again. This time, it’s in the form of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) chatbots.

AI and ML chatbots are essentially online chat technology with smart algorithms. Companies program them to understand and interpret customer questions. They can provide answers, suggest solutions, and/or triage customer support requests. Employees can then send tickets to the correct support person.

While some companies choose to develop their own chatbots, you can also leverage existing platforms.

3. 24/7 Social Monitoring

You can’t afford to clock out. While 9-to-5 may be standard work hours, companies with high modern CX scores are tuned into what’s happening with their customers 24/7/365…and you should be, too.

While 24/7 monitoring is important, you don’t have to physically park yourself (or employees) in front of a computer or phone around the clock. Using monitoring software, you can listen to what’s happening and gather insights about what people are saying on social media. You can also track, analyze, and respond to email and chat requests.

Some of the top 24/7 monitoring platforms on the market include Zendesk, Hubspot, LiveAgent, and Hootsuite.

4. Virtual and Augmented Reality

While maybe not as common as some of the other technologies listed in this article, don’t underestimate the rise of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). We live in a virtual world where more of the buying process is happening at a distance. This is leading brands are always looking for ways to increase customer engagement and enhance the shopping experience. AR and VR are game-changers in this regard.

Amazon, which is always on the bleeding edge when it comes to modern CX – is a great example. Their new AR View technology allows shoppers to view items in their homes before purchasing.

Amazon’s technology allows prospective customers to view products in the setting of their own homes before they make a purchase. They can make their purchases based on how the product looks and fits their current setting, color scheme, and so forth. They no longer need to move furniture around once something arrives only to discover it doesn’t really work as they thought. Instead, they use a smartphone to boost confidence prior to purchase.

Aside from being interesting and unique, this “view in your room” technology serves the distinct purpose of reducing the friction that shoppers often experience when they don’t know what a product will look like in their home and/or if it’ll fit the space. Customers who use this augmented reality technology end up happier with their final purchases and are less likely to return the products they purchase.

Measuring Customer Experience

If you’re going to commit to strategically improving your CX, you want to make sure you’re measuring it. (This is the only way to track progress and know if you’re getting the results you’re searching for.) Again, there are several ways you can do this, including the following.

  • Start tracking your Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). This is basically a measurement of how happy your customers are with your products and service.
    • To calculate a CSAT score, you simply send customers a one-question survey after a purchase or support interaction that asks: “How satisfied were you with [company/product]?”
    • Typically, you ask customers to rank their satisfaction on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the most positive).
    • Over time, you can track your CSAT score and watch as it moves up or down. This will give you some context for how customers feel.
  • It’s natural to have some churn. However, tracking customer churn rates will help you understand when and why customers are leaving.
    • Dig in and analyze the data. Determine the reasons for the churn and any actions you can take to reduce future churn.
  • Engage with customers and proactively gather feedback. If possible, meet with customers face-to-face or have extended open-ended discussions via phone or video conferencing.
    • This allows you to measure both the experience and the sentiment. (You can tell a lot through tone of voice, inflection, word choice, etc.)

Adding It All Up

Customer experience is more than a buzzword. It’s a tangible measurement of the way customers feel about your brand and its products.

By prioritizing modern CX with the right high-tech investments, you can improve your results and experience success.

Featured Image: CottonBro; Pexels.com. Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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