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How to enhance customer experiences & stay ahead

Great expectations

Today’s customers are spoilt for choice. They lead busy lives and have high expectations of the companies they deal with. And those expectations are evolving all the time. Almost half of customers expect specialised treatment just for being a good customer, according to research by Accenture.

Sometimes it only takes one poor encounter with a brand to put customers off. Nearly 60 per cent will never do business with a company again after just one negative experience, according to Dimensional Research. Many will take to social media to vent their frustration too – which could drive away other customers.

Business customers have rising expectations of the companies they deal with along the supply chain, as well. To fulfil their own customer promises, they need access to the latest status of orders, deliveries or service levels without having to chase this information.


Empowering customers to self-serve

It’s no coincidence that many organisations are investing in providing more services online, through mobile apps or even via self-service options in physical locations.

These ‘low-touch’ options are a great way to offer customers more choice and convenience, without increasing the cost of providing services. Empowering customers can even relieve the pressure on busy teams, so experts can spend more time helping with complex queries. We’ve actually written an article on the business benefits of customer self-service, which you can read here.

But there are a few things to consider. People vary in their preferences, so it’s important to offer customers a choice in the way they do things. Companies also need to offer a consistent and joined-up experience right across all customer touch points and product or service lines. So what’s the key to getting the balance right?

What constitutes a great experience for customers one year will soon be taken for granted.

‘Convenient’ has come to mean ‘instant’ and ‘appropriate support’ is now interpreted as ‘on-tap answers’ or ‘free doorstep returns’.

To stay ahead of customers’ evolving expectations, businesses need to keep paying attention to customers, monitoring what they do and trying to anticipate what good will look like tomorrow.

This includes using data in new ways to proactively track trends and customer sentiment.

Stay in tune with what your customers really think

Go beyond surveys and feedback forms to learn how your customers actually feel about your business, so you can make better decisions and improve your customer experience.

What is a ‘future ready’ business?

In our research, there were 12 key responses that correlated most clearly with businesses that considered themselves ‘very well prepared’ for the future.

We used this information to build up a picture of what a ‘future ready’ business looks like.
These are the companies most confident and well-prepared for emerging trends, challenges and possibilities.

A positive attitude to change


Openness to new technology


A commitment to active technological planning for their futures


Detailed business strategies for the future


A grasp of emerging trends




The cloud

Because technology is advancing at an accelerating pace, and customers’ expectations are continuously evolving, it’s important to stay flexible.


It’s why more businesses are turning to the cloud as the means to roll out new experiences. (IDC sets out the latest cloud adoption trends here). All major software advances happen in the cloud, where teams can access the capabilities anytime, anywhere, from any device. Just as importantly, capacity can be scaled and flexed with demand.

And, because cloud-based business applications benefit from the latest updates, reliable security provision and automatic backup, there’s less need to worry about features or settings becoming out of date, or of customer data being breached or lost.

This means companies can focus more time and energy on customer experience innovation, as resources and time are no longer taken up having to manage internal IT systems.

Of course, not all cloud services are equal so it’s important to look for business-grade services. This will ensure maximum reliability right around the clock, supporting customers who may want to complete tasks at any time of the day or night.

Why not book a cloud readiness assessment, to see how you could begin rolling out and managing new experiences via the cloud?

Mobile application development

The next step is to convert new ideas for customer experiences into something tangible.

That might be a new self-service app that lets customers complete tasks and look back through their purchase history.

The ability to call up old invoices, details of payments, or the latest status of an order, delivery or insurance claim could add significant value and convenience.
Or perhaps the plan is for a new 3D visualisation or virtual reality experience in store which lets customers ‘experience’ products that are not currently in stock.

Or for connected sensors that monitor customer queues, triggering the opening of a new customer service point or some other action to maintain harmony if the company is suddenly experiencing high demand.

Building custom mobile applications can help make your customers' experience as seamless as possible.

Data analytics & reporting – in real time

Data analytics, visualisation and reporting tools – especially those that deliver real-time visibility – are increasingly critical, allowing companies to act swiftly if new opportunities or issues emerge.

As more of everyday life goes digital, the ability to keep services performing well becomes vital. Just as a good Netflix experience relies on a reliable Internet service, the smooth running of a ‘smart city’ or distribution fleet depends on a clear and constant line of sight across whole networks to swiftly pick up and address maintenance issues or bottlenecks. These scenarios rely on real-time processing of data and instant, always-on dashboard updates.

Local data processing


5G mobile networks and new 5G applications, including those that read and react to sensors connected over the Internet of Things (IoT), offer huge potential for gathering a wide range of new data about a given environment or ongoing service.

That could be the flow of people in enclosed areas (from hospitals and factories to shopping malls), the performance of a transport network or utility service, or the state of repair of a building.

Bringing cloud-based data processing closer to the point of need (via multi-access edge computing) can help maintain reliable real-time data feeds and enable new possibilities. This capability is even more powerful when combined with the lightning speeds of 5G.

Improving the customer experience drives up business performance.

According to Forrester Research, even a single-point increase in their Customer Experience Index can increase revenue by over a billion dollars for certain industries, including mass-market auto manufacturers.

And, as each customer spends more with the company, the ‘cost of sale’ goes down – boosting profitability. Loyalty grows, existing customers spend more, and positive encounters go viral - attracting new business organically. Customers who rate a company as delivering a “good” customer experience are 34 per cent more likely to purchase more, according to XM Institute Research.

The CX Academy, which provides training in how to improve customer experience, summarises the main benefits of delivering a great customer experience as:

Competitive differentiation

Greater customer loyalty & retention


More cost-effective acquisition of new customers

Reduction in the cost of serving customers

Greater staff motivation and longevity

Greater shareholder value

Interestingly, when IDC surveyed businesses at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in April and then again in May 2020, it saw customer experience improvement rise to the top of the European enterprise technology buying agenda . That’s as companies strived to boost customer engagement, and bolster their trust.

Creating the perfect conditions for customer experience thumbnail

Innovate for your customers

Innovation is key to creating and sustaining an outstanding customer experience. Learn about the tools and infrastructure needed to attract, engage and delight customers for years to come.

Ideally, you’ll need a partner that understands all the different component technologies – from connectivity, the cloud, unified communications, IoT and mobility, to robust security.

A partner that knows how to bring all the different pieces together to deliver tangible improvements, in a way that’s flexible and that can be built on in the future.

You may have great new ideas that you want to execute too – new apps or services that you want to create. So look for a provider that can help bring these ideas to life, working with you to roll out new customer experiences quickly, ahead of the competition.