Even the best system on Earth is useless if it never gets out of development.
As the saying goes, timing is everything, and this also applies to customer experience. Companies looking to boost the customer experience may set out to design the best new help-desk solution, a healthcare mobile app, or a new customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Yet, building the greatest solution containing every capability imaginable takes time. Even the best system on Earth is useless if it never gets out of development. Customer experience solutions need to meet customer needs today, or else there’s a good chance that there could be fewer customers to serve in the future.
When companies need to be able to pivot quickly and cost effectively to meet changing customer needs, they’re finding that low-code/no-code software development is fast becoming the answer. Low-code/no-code development platforms allow companies to pick and choose from pre-assembled application components and connect them together to create mobile or web apps without having to create lines of code.
Trends Driving the Growth of Low-Code/No-Code
Analysts at Gartner estimate that the low-code market will grow to $13.8 billion in 2021 and almost $30 billion by 2025. It also forecasts that low-code application development will account for 65% of all application development activity by 2024. What’s driving this growth? Consider the following.
- Tech Talent Shortage. The growth of low-code/no-code platforms has proliferated due to a shortage of skilled software developers, which has been an issue for a while and accelerated with the pandemic and the Great Resignation. Low-code/no-code helps companies quickly get software development projects off the ground without the need for certified software programmers. In fact, an IDC survey of 380 enterprises showed 48.6% are purchasing low-code/no-code platforms to move innovation in-house.
- Agile Development Needs. Many companies today follow the Agile methodology of software development, where teams work together in incremental and repeatable cycles to continuously improve upon software. Key drivers of Agile development are flexibility and speed. Low-code/no-code can empower those teams with a faster approach to continuous software development based upon ready-made lines of code or API integrations.
- Renewed Focus on Cost. As companies become ever more mindful of their tech spend, low-code/no-code offers a less expensive alternative to custom software development. Just as a custom-made pair of shoes is significantly more expensive than even a designer-brand, mass-produced low-code/no-code can provide greater value.
- Minimized Risk Requirements. Even if costly software developers are available, companies are looking to mitigate the risk inherent in hiring full-time professionals, rolling out customer software and using up precious IT resources when there’s no guarantee that the software will be successful.
- The Rise of Empathy. It’s no longer enough to simply build solutions that meet technical requirements. Solutions need to speak directly to the frustrations, delights and needs of real-live humans. Soft skills such as empathetic listening and being able to walk a mile in a customer’s shoes, are required. The problem is that not every programmer can make the switch from a techie to a human-centric empathizer. Low-code/no-code can help non IT-staff take part in the development process, lending their soft skills to the technical prowess of their IT counterparts.
Related Article: How Low-Code/No-Code Are Changing CX Design
Determining the Best Use Cases for Low-Code/No-Code
Building solutions using low-code/no-code programs can help companies roll out almost-ready-made solutions quickly, cost effectively and with less risk, but there clearly are sacrifices. Solutions won’t always have a customized front-end, they may not have industry-first capabilities and they’re often viewed as software commodities. Yet, maybe it isn’t always about the technology but the experience it delivers that’s key.
Take, for example, a telecommunications company that is having a hard time reaching customers to let them know of system outages. Maybe they don’t need a custom system that provides additional offers or a followup email, or that leverages AI to predict the likelihood of the customer falling away. Maybe they have a more immediate need to simply send SMS alerts to let the customer know that an outage will occur in 24 hours: nothing more and nothing less.
A few years ago, a startup company came to my firm asking us to build a workflow management solution. When we realized that what they needed was fairly basic, we suggested that they didn’t need us, but could develop it themselves using a low-code solution. If it worked, they could save themselves some money, and if it didn’t then we could build something more scalable for them.
They chose to build the solutions themselves using a low-code/no-code platform. In less than two months they had a working beta version that they started testing with real customers. In the end, the product didn’t have the product market fit the founders expected and where forced to shutdown their venture, but thanks to the low-code/no-code solution they weren’t left with a big debt from their development.
Low-Code/No-Code Best Practices
So while low-code/no-code is on the rise as a cost-effective and fast solution to meeting customer experience needs, there are a few best practices to follow.
- Consider low-code/no-code as a prototyping tool. Prototypes can help companies test their solutions to determine how well they will address the challenge. Building a low-code/no-code solution can serve as a prototype before costly investment is made in a custom solutions.
- Establish a center of excellence. While low-code/no-code can democratize software development, it’s important to establish a center of excellence to instill governance and make sure specific standards and protocols are enforced, as well as data privacy and security standards are met.
- Understand the limitations. Before considering low-code/no-code, understand that it’s not suitable to every industry. Highly-regulated industries, such as finance or healthcare, or applications that must be always-on, may require more advanced custom features as well as stringent security requirements.
- Don’t skimp on design. While low-code/no-code can provide a shortcut to software development, it still requires an initial design phase to ensure that you have correctly identified the business problem and how the solution will impact humans. Every project still requires a human-centric approach.
Leveraging software to help improve the customer experience is not really about the software at all, but about understanding your customers on a deeply human level. The key for successful businesses is finding the fastest and most effective route to creating happier customers and discerning when heavy-lifting custom software development is required — and when low-code/no-code is simply good enough.