Execs In The Know- A Global Network of Customer Experience Professionals

CR Summit Austin

Leaders Speak on Digital Innovations for Customer Experience


The following is a guest blog from Ted Hunting, Vice President, North America Marketing at Genesys. For more information about Genesys, visit their website

During the Customer Response Summit (CRS) last week in Austin, I shared my perspective on customer expectations of seamless, personalized omnichannel journeys with customer service executives from some of the world’s greatest brands. It was a rare opportunity to exchange ideas on digital innovation in customer experience (CX) with such a group.

To set the stage for brainstorming sessions on digital innovation, I talked about the prediction that by 2020, more than 90% of customer engagements will begin online, and what that means to CX innovation.

Currently in many customer service environments, organizational silos remain across channels, including web, voice, callback, mobile app, text, email, social, and video. In spite of initial interactions occurring on the web, customers nonetheless expect the effortless, personalized omnichannel journey that results from integrated communication channels. We explored some examples of businesses successfully integrating voice and digital channels to improve CX.

We looked at CX from the business perspective, examining aspects of the Genesys Customer Experience Platform, including:

– An omnichannel desktop that displays every step in the customer journey, across every channel

– Enterprise-wide reporting and analytics dashboard for overall view of CX and NPS

What did this group identify as key future trends? The internet of things (IoT), personalization through big data, and emerging self-service models such as chat and voice bots, led to brainstorming on digital innovation in the CX world.

Here’s what this group of CX leaders expects to see emerging in digital innovation:

Personalized customer journeys

Customer journeys will be increasingly personalized, leveraging big data and business rules to predict customer needs and deliver better CX.

– Visibility into the customer journey will continue to evolve so companies can provide proactive recommendations and communications for front- and back-office functions across the company, not just for the contact center. Continue reading

Follow Up and Group Facilitator Notes: Customer Engagement LIVE!


This is a guest blog written by Greg Sherry, Vice President Marketing at Verint Systems.

One of the primary objectives of Customer Response Summit Austin was to “identify best practices and discuss innovative ideas on how to serve customer through emerging channels.” Verint’s contribution to this theme was an interactive general session called “Customer Engagement LIVE!” where we grouped executives into discussion groups of seven or eight participants. The groups engaged in conversations around the strategies and execution steps that can help define how customer-centric organizations can enrich interactions, improve business processes, and optimize the workforce.

One of the questions included on the breakout group handout, for example,  was “If you could provide your peers with one piece of advice as they create and execute their customer experience strategy and program, what would it be?”  There were also discussion questions around Customer Engagement and Enterprise Workforce Optimization.

Below are some of the highlights attendees shared during the breakout group read back presentations. Do you want access to group facilitator notes from all of the major discussion and engagement areas? If so, click here for the detailed Customer Engagement LIVE! notes.


Breakout Group Discussion Highlights

Employee Engagement- TED Talks! We want to hire and retain the best contact center agents that we can. So, we want to make sure we have a variety of internal programs around employee engagement as well as all our focus on customer engagement.  One thing we started was Ted Talks Tuesday’s where we find creative and inspirational Ted Talks videos that have themes around creativity, innovation, customers. We then have a discussion group after the video. Our executives, managers and agents love all the interactions we all have – and we are learning new ideas and ways of thinking at the same time! Continue reading

Wondering if you Need to Start Accounting for Smart Machines in Your CX?


This is a guest blog written by Dan Gordon, SVP Strategy & Development, West Interactive Services.

The answer is: Probably not just yet.

At CRS Phoenix back in February, I spoke about how crucial it is to leverage data to optimize your customer experience. Now, as certain emerging technologies begin to pique our interest, I’m expanding on that point to hopefully help some enterprises avoid putting the cart before the horse.

The smartphone is one of the greatest technological advances in human history – and its impact on what brands have had to consider in their customer experience (CX) strategies over the past five to 10 years is just the beginning.

Data continues to transform how humans interact as the lines blur between virtual and physical… device and appendage… human and machine.

The mix of physical devices, buildings and various technologies at the public’s disposal is poised to evolve and extend rapidly through 2021[i], and Gartner believes that data generated from the networking of these devices will create $14.4 trillion in value for organizations between now and 2022.[ii]

Many believe that advanced smart machine technology will become a staple in this shift. Brands trying to keep up with the demands of today’s mobile customer are at full attention.

A smart machine is a device that is equipped to make decisions and solve problems in a humanlike manner (think self-driving cars). Relying on data and metadata, or “the information of everything,” smart machines are expected to drive a higher level of quality and consistency in everyday customer interactions by relying on neural networks that dissect things like text, images and voice — all without human intervention. Continue reading

Better Customer Loyalty Through Personalization


The following is a guest blog written by Kathy Juve, SVP, Global Marketing and Product Development at Convergys. Learn more about Convergys by visiting their website.

Among CX professionals, interest in personalizing customer experiences is always a hot topic, but companies often invest too much time and too many resources in things that don’t matter much to customers.

Why? Because most companies lack the necessary research data and analytic insights to know with certainty when personalization works, when it doesn’t, and how to make it have the biggest payoff.

To help contribute to the industry’s understanding of personalization in customer care, Convergys has surveyed over 3,000 customers across a variety of industries. The results have given us an accurate picture of the current state of personalization today, and clear answers to the questions of how customers want their service experiences to be tailored to them.

We share some of the key discoveries here.

Most Personalization Attempts Miss the Mark

In customer care, personalization should be about making attempts to establish an authentic, timely, and mutually beneficial connection with a customer based on what is known about their individual needs and preferences.

Our research shows that most companies are struggling to do this.

When we surveyed customers about their most recent phone interaction, for example, the most commonly identified personalization attempt (47%) was that the agent mentioned the customer’s name. Unfortunately, we found that mentioning a customer’s name ranks near the very bottom in terms of importance to the customer.

So, how do you deliver personalization in ways that matter the most to customers? Our research points out that it’s not simply a matter of training the right agent behaviors or supporting agents with the right technology, but rather a strategic blending of the two.

Here are the top four components of both agent-owned and technology-enabled personalization factors, according to customers: Continue reading

The Customer Rage Study: What It Means To You and Your Bottom Line

The following is a guest blog written by Mary Murcott, President of the Customer Experience Institute at Dialog Direct. Learn more about Dialog Direct by visiting their website.

There are only two ways to build a business: retain existing customers and acquire new ones. Great customer service and satisfaction are the key to both because most customers are acquired through positive word of mouth. So you would expect most companies to be fully focused on providing exceptional customer service and experiences, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Every two years, Dialog Direct partners with CCMC (customer care measurement & consulting), the W.P Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and the Center for Services Leadership to conduct the Customer Rage Study to gauge how customers view companies and how retailers and etailers can address areas of weakness that cause them to lose customers. The study identifies customer problems and addresses the nagging question:

Why are customer service and satisfaction still declining, despite their paramount importance and bottom line impact?

The study revealed that, in 2015, $202 billion were at risk due to customer problems with products/services. Key takeaways:

66% of customers with problems experienced rage

60% identified wasted time as the biggest damage

Only 35% were satisfied with their first contact

Only 14% got problem resolved upon first contact

It takes an average of 4.2 contacts to satisfy the complainant

Nearly one in four wants revenge


If they become satisfied, 48% of customers would still recommend the brand

When providing both monetary and non-monetary remedies, satisfaction almost doubled from 37% to 73%

What are the implications? Continue reading

How Customer Experience Is Changing

Amit Shankardass

The following is a guest blog written by Amit Shankardass, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Teleperformance. Learn more about Teleperformance by visiting their website.

Sometimes the world moves so quickly that it is difficult to see which changes and developments are really important. Progress just happens and we often forget how things used to happen, even in the recent past. How customers relate to brands is just one example of an area of business that is moving faster now more than ever, especially in terms of how the customer experience shapes how customers feel about brands and companies.

In order to predict the future, it’s impossible to just extrapolate from the past, but it’s possible to step back from the rapid change, to take stock and evaluate just what has changed. With a deeper understanding of what has changed the customer experience and why, it is easier to understand how customer interactions may change in the coming years.

The industry analyst Gartner recently published a research paper suggesting that 89% of the companies surveyed are now competing with the customer experience as a key differentiator. Managing the customer experience has become the single most important task for executive managers, now with a higher priority than other traditional areas of focus, such as reducing costs or increasing revenue.

Why has this happened?

The simple answer to this is that the way customers communicate has changed in a short period of time. Two specific innovations arguably made the largest impact on mobile Internet access:  (1) launch of the Apple iPhone in 2007 and (2) rise in popularity of online social networks. Customers are now comfortable publishing their views on products and services for the consumption of friends, family members, and followers, and they have immediate access to prices, reviews, and the ability to make purchases 24/7.

How did this happen?
Continue reading

Why IVR? Why Now?

Abhay - Headshot

The following is a guest blog written by Abhay Prasad, Senior Director, Product Management, Self-Service, at Aspect. Learn more about Aspect by visiting their website.

Did you know your customers probably don’t want to talk to you?

This is one of the surprising discoveries we made while conducting primary consumer research on customer service preferences across generational groups, including Millennials. Instead of talking to an agent, 70% of Americans would rather solve product and service issues themselves and 91% would use self-service if it were available. And the demand for self-service is growing. This year, 42% of survey respondents told us they would rather do just about anything else (like clean a toilet) than talk to customer service – a 27% increase over last year’s survey results.

By tapping into consumer’s preferences for self-service options, businesses stand to save millions of dollars in operational costs, but only when self-service is convenient, appealing and customer-focused. IVRs, which have been considered a mainstay of customer self-service for years, are designed more to keep customers from reaching an agent than to help them resolve their issue in an efficient manner. As a result, most customers who find themselves in an IVR will do their best to find their way out again.

There IS a better way to meet customers’ self-service needs. In fact, we can think of at least eight better ways. Here are two of our favorites: Continue reading

Customer Experience Leaders Unite in Austin to Drive Service Innovation

Speakers From eBay, Hyatt, Verizon, and Electronic Arts to Keynote Execs In The Know – Customer Response Summit Austin

PHOENIX, AZ. August 17, 2016 – Advocates for Customer Experience Professionals, Execs In The Know, have announced the speaker roster for their next executive gathering – Customer Response Summit (CRS) Austin. CRS Austin will take place September 18-20, 2016, at the JW Marriot Austin, in Austin, TX. Topics such as humanizing digital commerce, multichannel, holiday lessons, digital strategies, analytics, employee engagement, technology, and more will be discussed. The Summit will include keynote speakers from eBay, Hyatt, Verizon, and Electronic Arts.

CRS Austin is a gathering of customer experience leaders, across a broad spectrum, focused on working together to improve the customer care industry, and create innovative experiences for their respective brands. Highlights of the Summit include a behind-the-scenes tour of the Electronic Arts Austin location and the release of the Customer Experience Management Benchmark Series 2016 Consumer Report, a joint effort between Execs In The Know and COPC Inc.

“Customer Response Summit truly serves as a “think tank” for the corporate community of customer executives,” said Chad McDaniel, President and CEO of Execs In The Know. “Our “Leaders Learning From Leaders” approach emphasizes brand-to-brand mentorship and sharing around the best customer engagement strategies. We have one of our best speaker line-ups and collection of brands joining us and I can’t wait to see the real insights and discoveries made in Austin.”

Other brands that will be speaking include RCI, Target, Whataburger, Walmart, Express Scripts, Lands’ End, Dell, Shutterstock, SiriusXM, USAA, Costco Wholesale, and more. To see the full list of speakers, download the official agenda http://ow.ly/i9wt303jL5I.

To learn more about CRS Austin, or to register, visit the event website https://www.execsintheknow.com/events/crs-austin/. Continue reading

8 Great Questions Answered on Providing Text Message Customer Service


The following is a guest blog written by Lauren Kindzierski, VP of Solutions & Capabilities | Global Growth Strategy & Marketing Team, at Hinduja Global Solutions. Learn more about HGS by visiting their website.

Your customers are texting. Do you know how many are already texting to your company toll free line? At our March 23 webinar, How to Launch Text Message Customer Service, we provided some key insights into how to provide this customer service channel to meet, and exceed, the raised bar on today’s CX expectations.

For our poll regarding “What is the status of your brand launching text as a customer service channel,” we noted that 64% are thinking about launching text as a service channel.

The second poll, “How are you currently using text for your customer service?” revealed that 79% of respondents are considering options. A total of 15% of attendees are using one-way notification and alerts, while 3% are using two-way text to interact with customers and resolve issues, and 3% are using both.

According to our webinar attendees, a good sampling of companies across verticals, today’s businesses are increasingly turning to text as a channel to reduce customer effort and meet the demand for optimized CX. Here are some of the questions brand leaders from across North America had regarding launching a text solution:

Q1: What should the average response time for text be?

A: When a customer is texting a business, they are definitely going to want a response within seconds, if not faster. When texting friends and family, the average response time for a text message is 90 seconds. Therefore 90 seconds is a really good starting point, because that’s what consumers have come to expect.

Q2: If a customer is in the CRM and is marked as “opted-out,” can a rep still text the customer? Is there anything that stops the rep from texting an opted-out customer?

A: In our system, if a customer has opted-out, the rep cannot text the customer. The customer would have to re opt-in through the legal disclosure process. Continue reading

Rule for Robot Overlords: Trust and Robotics in Customer Experience


The following is a guest blog written by Benjamin Little, Director of Design Strategy, Sutherland Labs. Learn more about Sutherland Global Services by visiting their website.

The service environment is evolving. As technology becomes more intelligent we see consumer demand, competitive pressure, and economic sense all pressing us to bring robots into the customer experience. If you are an aspiring human handler of our robotic workforce, it is important to consider the tentative trusting relationship humans have with robots.

Before my smart phone, before my Roomba, there was my my first GPS navigation system. I happily followed its instructions and my wife made fun of how quickly I lost the ability to get anywhere on my own. I was very happy to shut off that part of my brain that used to visualize the system of streets and remember the requisite steps to reach my destination. I’d outsourced that cognitive process of navigating and could now focus my energy on something more fun. A generation later and my daughter will likely consider navigation by paper map akin to penmanship and butter churning: vintage skills that were once ubiquitous.

What happened to me relates to what experts call “transactive memory.”[1] Transactive memory is, in essence, the externalization of information. For anyone familiar with how software works, think of it as a pointer and then get a little creeped out by how memory allocation rules apply the same to both biology and silicon. Since the advent of Google, society has largely talked about outsourcing human memory to the internet, and transactive memory has begun dominating how the average consumer thinks. We are really good at remembering how to find information, but increasingly we are not storing that information in our brains quite as readily.

Which brings us to robots. Memory is one thing, but modern robotics is giving us new opportunities to outsource cognition. Navigating was one of the earliest versions of this, but recent research from Georgia Tech [2] shows that we over-trust our mechanical sidekicks for more than just memory. The study focused on human propensity to keep following a robot out of a burning building, even when it had proved itself unreliable. Despite repeated warnings from just about every science fiction story to do with robots, we still trust them. While this situation has more dire implications than my phone trying to send me the wrong way up a one-way street, we are seeing more and more service opportunities for robotic workers to merrily lead our customers in the undesirable outcomes.

The lesson for business about how we consumers think is that we consumers don’t necessarily care about how amazing the technology is behind the interface. From a UX perspective, asking Google to tell me the capital of Ecuador (Quito, by the way) is not tremendously different than asking a policy question about my healthcare coverage. It is a matter of adoption and comfort with robotics that takes us from there to walking into a SoftBank store and asking a robot which phone I should buy. Now, I individually care that the technology behind each of those interactions is different, impressive, and complex, but at the point of service there is an expectation that everything just work. Continue reading