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2018 Predictions for the Service Leader: Part 5 – Use Case Studies/Data and Security/Risk

We surveyed a number of customer service/experience leaders, from many of today’s leading brands, in our community to get their predictions for 2018. Over the coming weeks we will be releasing their thoughts on specific CX topics including customer expectations, channels, operations, technology, use case studies/data, and security/risk.

Click here to catch up on Part 1 – Customer ExpectationsPart 2 – ChannelsPart 3 – Operations,  and Part 4 – Technology.

The fifth and final installment of this series focuses on thoughts on use case studies/data and security/risk.

Use Case Studies/Data

• The need for user case studies (the how to) will be paramount – what roadmaps and examples are being implemented – Who are the leaders in this area.
• Knowledge on how/where to start OR if they should – where do you start, what are the technologies, etc. what is AI and what is it NOT? It is NOT automating simple tasks (self-service).
• Measure the customer experience –What are the right metrics, how to measure unassisted channels, etc.
• The one other topic is the ROI of customer service – what linkage have companies made with data, tying NPS/CSAT to revenue, or a customer service touch to future behaviors (engagement, purchases, advocacy), or the type of service recovery (refund, no future to future behaviors, etc).
• Surveys: We will see more of a change from asking to predicting.

Security/Risk

• Fraud Prevention: I think that what we’re going to start to see is a recognition that the “customer experience vs. security” is a false dichotomy, because it focuses on criminals rather than customers.
• Brands will realize that authentication and identity early adopters will invest heavily in real-time authentication solutions across all channels – but primarily phone and digital. The key concept will be real-time or near real-time – brands will be looking for something that happens “seamlessly” behind the scenes.
• Phone fraud has been growing exponentially over the last few years as a result of the EMV chip migration on credit cards, disproportionate security investments into other digital channels, and the simple fact that human beings answer telephones.
• We’re seeing not just banks affected by it, but even retailers like Dunkin’ Donuts. Anyone with a loyalty program is vulnerable. I think we will see a fundamental tension between customer experience and fraud mitigation arise in 2018 – that is, brands struggling to do away with their fraud while not interrogating their customers.

To download our 2018 Predictions in its entirety click here. 

2018 Predictions for the Service Leader: Part 4 – Technology

We surveyed a number of customer service/experience leaders, from many of today’s leading brands, in our community to get their predictions for 2018. Over the coming weeks we will be releasing their thoughts on specific CX topics including customer expectations, channels, operations, technology, use case studies/data, and security/risk.

Click here to catch up on Part 1 – Customer ExpectationsPart 2 – Channels, and Part 3 – Operations.

The fourth installment of this series focuses on thoughts on technology.

• AI will begin to automate tasks for the agent and the customer – however AI will take longer to mature than previously thought, due to data infrastructure not mature enough to fully leverage.
• Companies will begin to shift from handling transaction to personalizing service.
• Digital will continue to experience strong growth, powered by mobile usage.
• Messaging channels will continue to grow social volumes.
• More conversations around the “social ethics” of AI deployment.
• Continued push on technology – moving infrastructure to the cloud.
• Deep/machine learning will play a role in 2018 for brands to meet customers where they are. I think brands are starting to get on board with the concept of machine learning and using data to predict behavior. But deep learning can extend beyond things like chatbots. If a brand can predict what a customer might be looking for, it can tailor content to the customer that allows the customer to self-service, send push notifications, etc.
• Thinking about AI secondarily to the types of use cases and outcomes desired that require it.
• Companies will have to address AI and ML in their strategies for customer acquisition and engagement. 2017 may be seen as a year of hype as lots of new vendors emerge on the scene. Expect consolidation and actual AI/ML deployments to increase in 2018.
• Interest in – and deployment of – customer journey analytics tools will increase, as companies try to identify and solve problems upstream before they occur.
• Strategic enterprise automation (front to back office) will help businesses begin to improve the customer experience, while optimizing back office operations, leading to stronger sales and a better bottom line. Examples include automated machine learning/AI, self help, chatbots/avatars, to RPA and beyond. Continue reading

2018 Predictions for the Service Leader: Part 3 – Operations

We surveyed a number of customer service/experience leaders, from many of today’s leading brands, in our community to get their predictions for 2018. Over the coming weeks we will be releasing their thoughts on specific CX topics including customer expectations, channels, operations, technology, use case studies/data, and security/risk.

Click here to catch up on Part 1 – Customer Expectations and Part 2 – Channels.

The third installment of this series focuses on thoughts on operations.

•Further advancements in the area of personalization of the experience. The ability to leverage “big data” sources to create a more personalized experience. Driving demand for analytic platforms, as well as analytic resources (both offshore and onshore).
• Expansion of the work at home (work anywhere) models for care support for cost savings. Advancements of tools and technology to support this.
• ‘Employee engagement’ truly changing culture.
• Customer service must be able to show ROI to adopt messaging channels and chatbots for customer interactions.
• Companies will begin to focus more on the entire customer lifecycle from acquisition, to sales, to service/support. The lines will blur between organizational siloes that focus on acquisition and those that focus on customer care, as businesses embrace a more holistic approach.
• Business leaders will get better at overcoming common, but large, digital transformation challenges (e.g., data silos, governance, systems integration, executive buy-in, acquisitions, technologies, security, etc). This will enable them to develop better customer insights that are actionable, to improve the customer experience, as well as optimize business operations.
• Businesses will drastically adopt and improve how they apply predictive analytics across the enterprise.
• Businesses will further embrace outsource service providers as strategic partners vs. traditional labor arbitrage.
• The usage of behavior profiles will go mainstream in marketing and customer service.
• Companies realizing that they need to center operations, technologies and practices around people and customers, not case numbers and ticketing systems. Leveraging modern technology to replace legacy systems will take time, but brands realize they need to start now to execute on their 3-5 year vision.

Stay tuned next week for Part 4 – Technology.

2018 Predictions for the Service Leader: Part 2 – Channels

We surveyed a number of customer service/experience leaders, from many of today’s leading brands, in our community to get their predictions for 2018. Over the coming weeks we will be releasing their thoughts on specific CX topics including customer expectations, channels, operations, technology, use case studies/data, and security/risk.

Click here to catch up on Part 1 – Customer Expectations. 

The second installment of this series focuses on thoughts on channel choice and omnichannel digital transformation.

• The continued shift to “social channels” and the need to be adept at serving customers who reach out for help in social media.
• A key word is “predictive service”. Next era CX – what AI will enable?
• C-Suite will begin to see the potential for revenue generation on the service side of the house with new channels and old channel improvement.
• Companies must be more agile in testing and deploying new solutions and channels due to increasing competition from new market forces (e.g. Amazon).
• Businesses who do not embrace omni-channel digital transformation will lose customer loyalty, their share of wallet and overall market share, to those that do.
• The volume of calls will continue to grow even with the continued introduction of alternative channels of support.
• Amazon will disrupt the ACD market.
• IoT pervasiveness will increase call volume.
• Phone channel continues to be the dominant channel for “complex” client care issues.
• Many companies focusing on “demand management” initiatives to help clients self-serve, improve CSAT and reduce call volume.
• Mobile Messaging/SMS and MMS. More interesting and efficient use cases for text will emerge. Companies realizing that leveraging instant photos or videos sent can help reduce conversation time.
• Companies look for more true omnichannel platforms and adoption for these grow. Not just a single platform that can hook into all kinds of other technologies, but a single platform that can tie all of the conversations together, no matter what channel.
• Phone channel continues to be dominant for overall customer resolution.
• Companies will continue to add more channels and favor “cheaper” asynchronous (can respond at the same time) channels, like chat and text, in exchange for “more expensive ones”, like phone and email. Volumes of total communication will stay the same, but allow for brands to save money.
• Two way SMS continues to lag with some brands testing specific use cases.

Stay tuned next week for Part 3 – Operations.

2018 Predictions for the Service Leader: Part 1 – Customer Expectations

We surveyed a number of customer service/experience leaders, from many of today’s leading brands, in our community to get their predictions for 2018. Over the coming weeks we will be releasing their thoughts on specific CX topics including customer expectations, channels, operations, technology, use case studies/data, and security/risk.

It is our sincere hope that through sharing with other CX Professionals, we can work together, learn from each other, and ultimately strengthen the CX operations of our brands, as well as the industry as a whole.

We begin the series today with thoughts for 2018 customer expectations.

• The customer will continue to demand higher levels of personalization and integration across multiple brands and devices.
• Customers demanding a higher level of experience and service from companies; what was “good enough” before is no longer good enough.
• Customer expectations will continue to rise across all industries (B2B/B2C) in the area of integration of their communications and data. Creating a larger push for seamless channel shift experience. Requirements will be needed for the operational teams in the areas of training, knowledge management and performance management. (With multi-channel support, more complex KPI’s are needed.)
• Customers increasingly want to self-serve but self-serve must have a smooth transition to assisted service for more complex inquiries. Technologies like chatbots cannot be deployed in siloes.
• Addressing differences in demographics will become increasingly important, as different groups will prefer different types of engagement. What works for millennials may not work for boomers.
• Consumer expectations for personalized service continue to grow. They expect that if they do business with a company, that they have some history or record of that. That if they have a conversation over the phone, that agents can recall that conversation the next time they email or chat.

Stay tuned next week for Part 2 – Channels!

Leaders to Connect at Customer Response Summit Chicago, to Create Next Level Customer Experiences For Their Brands

Industry Thought Leaders From Microsoft, Square, Amazon, and Lyft to Keynote Execs In The Know – Customer Response Summit Chicago

PHOENIX, AZ. – (August 2, 2017) – Advocates for Customer Experience Professionals, Execs In The Know, have released the agenda for their next executive gathering – Customer Response Summit (CRS) Chicago. CRS Chicago will be held September 19th-21st, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, in Chicago, IL. Knowledge on leading industry trends and subjects such as AI and machine learning, employee engagement, text for service, digital fraud, outsourcing, the VoC on channel choice, big data, and more will be shared. The customer experience conference will include keynotes from Microsoft, Square, Amazon, and Lyft.

Customer Response Summit is a gathering of customer experience leaders, across many verticals, focused on working together to improve the customer care industry, and create innovative experiences for their brands. Highlights of the CX leadership event include an exclusive tour of the legendary Wrigley Field and the inner workings of the fan experience at the Chicago Cubs. The newest version of the CXMB Series – 2017 Consumer Edition – will also be released (a joint effort between Execs In The Know and COPC Inc.).

“Our community lives and breathes the Customer First mindset,” said Chad McDaniel, President and CEO of Execs In The Know. “If you are passionate about your customers and want to create the most meaningful experiences for them with your brand, than you’ll feel right at home with us in Chicago. We emphasize a ‘Leaders Learning From Leaders’ approach, allowing our attendees to work together to share best practices, solve challenges, and create lasting connections.”

Other leading corporate brands that will be speaking include The Home Depot, The Mine (a Lowes Company), Sears Holdings, GoDaddy, Samsung, 1-800-Flowers.com, IHG and more. To see the full list of speakers, download the official agenda www.execsintheknow.com/crs-chicago-agenda/.

To learn more or to register, visit the event website www.execsintheknow.com/events/crs-chicago/.

About Execs In The Know

For over 15 years, Execs In The Know has built a reputation of excellence in the Customer Management Industry and a worldwide community of over 50,000 Customer Experience Professionals, dedicated to enhancing the customer service industry. Execs In The Know connects people to engaging industry content, thought leadership, current trends, peer-to-peer collaboration, networking, and industry employment opportunities. Their largest event, Customer Response Summit, takes place twice a year, uniting executives from many of today’s leading brands, to create impactful connections and share actionable insights.

Learn more at www.execsintheknow.com.

Media Contact:

Alyssa Pitura
info@execsintheknow.com

Corporate Journey Mapping & The Importance of Internal Advocates

We all know the importance of a raving fan or brand ambassador. Those loyal followers that purchase your product or service time and again. They are willing to recommend you to others and share their experience with their friends. These individuals are pure gold to any business, but what about your internal advocates? Taking care of your own and growing a tribe from within will help to make your business a better place to work and help to spread your message organically through your employees.

Your employees, everyone from customer service representatives who may be the first point of contact, to individuals in HR or Finance, play integral roles in your business. They keep things running smoothly and ensure your customers have pleasant experiences. They can be happy and excited about their job and your brand – or the opposite – which could have a negative effect on other employees, your customers, and ultimately the success of your brand.

Corporate Journey Mapping

We’ve all heard of Customer Journey Mapping – tracking the journey or steps your customer takes to interact with your brand, make a purchase, submit an inquiry, etc. It’s often used as a means to discover what is working and where improvements can be made, to create a more convenient and pleasant customer experience. What not do the same thing internally in your organization and its various departments?

There are a number of areas you should examine to see if there is room for improvement. Start with taking a good hard look at your departments and try to understand the journey your employees have to take. Understanding department gaps can help you avoid disconnect, bottleneck, and save time and frustration for everyone involved. Next move on to the employee experience. Does everyone seem informed and on the same page? Do you have the proper training and technology? Are you creating a positive atmosphere, providing incentives, or providing encouragement and opportunity for growth? Do your employees seem happy and excited to come to work? This brainstorm session can help you identify what you currently have in place and where you’re falling short.

Here are a few main areas you might look to improve:

1) Culture & Transparency

It’s important, especially as your company grows, to try to maintain a consistent company culture across all sites or locations. You must first understand your company mission and values, and then be able to concisely communicate that to employees. Whether it be through a company document, video, or sit down meeting. Find a way for this education and on-boarding process to be fun and memorable. Continue reading

Customer Executives to Meet in Vegas to Enhance CX and Innovation in Their Omni-Channel Service Strategies

Speakers From Hilton Worldwide, Williams-Sonoma Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC, and BaubleBar to Keynote Execs In The Know – Customer Response Summit Las Vegas

PHOENIX, AZ. January 12, 2017 – Advocates for Customer Experience Professionals, Execs In The Know, have announced the speakers for their next executive gathering – Customer Response Summit (CRS) Las Vegas. CRS Vegas will take place February 6-8, 2017 at the ARIA Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas, NV. Topics like digital transformation, channel optimization, employee engagement, culture, outsourcing, and more will be covered. The Summit will include keynotes from Hilton Worldwide, Williams-Sonoma Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC, and BaubleBar.

CRS Vegas is a gathering of customer experience leaders, across many verticals, focused on working together to improve the customer care industry, and create innovative experiences for their brands. Highlights of the Summit include a behind-the-scenes tour of the customer care heart of Williams-Sonoma Inc. and the release of the CXMB Series 2016 Corporate Edition, a joint effort between Execs In The Know and COPC Inc.

“Customer Response Summit focuses on engagement, candid conversation, and one-to-one interaction with your peers,” said Chad McDaniel, President and CEO of Execs In The Know. “Our ‘Leaders Learning From Leaders’ approach allows our community members to work together to solve challenges, innovate their own customer experiences, and stay on top of the latest trends. CRS Vegas is the best event to attend if you want to achieve customer service greatness.”

Other brands that will be speaking include LinkedIn, Amazon, Square, Cigna, Barnes and Noble, Harry & David, Redbubble, Evernote, YouTube, UPS, lululemon and more. To see the full list of speakers, download the official agenda https://www.execsintheknow.com/crs-vegas-agenda/.

To learn more or to register, visit the event website https://www.execsintheknow.com/events/crs-las-vegas/.

About Execs In The Know

For over 15 years, Execs In The Know has built a reputation of excellence in the Customer Management Industry and a worldwide community of over 50,000 Customer Experience Professionals, dedicated to enhancing the customer service industry. Execs In The Know connects people to engaging industry content, thought leadership, current trends, peer-to-peer collaboration, networking, and industry employment opportunities. Their largest event, Customer Response Summit, takes place twice a year, uniting executives from many of today’s leading brands, to create impactful connections and share actionable insights.

Learn more at www.execsintheknow.com.

Media Contact:

Alyssa Pitura
info@execsintheknow.com

Understanding Your Customers: Nothing Beats Time in the Contact Center

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The following is a guest post from Susan Hash, editor of Contact Center Pipeline.

How much time has your executive team spent on the contact center floor? Not simply a quick walk-through, but actually taking the time to plug in with an agent to listen to customer calls? If execs really want to know what a quality customer experience sounds and feels like, spending time in the contact center will allow them to experience what your customers are feeling and thinking about your organization, as well as what frontline customer service staff go through on a daily basis.

In addition to senior executives, encouraging department leaders across the organization to spend time in the center is a great way to provide them with first-hand knowledge of what goes on within this critical touchpoint on the customer journey—and often the only interface a customer will have with an organization.

Some customer-centric organizations make it an essential activity for new leaders. At ING Direct, department leaders spend a month in the contact center jacking in with agents and listening to calls—and even handling customer complaints. They not only develop a better understanding of the frontline agent’s job, they realize how their own processes impact the contact center, and ultimately, the customer experience.

It doesn’t need to be a month-long commitment to have an effect. The contact center leadership team at Unilever found that a well-planned open house could make a significant impact. Various brand teams were invited into the center for an afternoon. The teams were given an overview of the types of information the center collected and how the frontline agents interacted with callers. Each brand team was asked to discuss the new products being released with the frontline agents so that they could offer their suggestions and ideas (an incredibly valuable resource!).

After the open house, contact center leadership followed up with the various departments to reinforce the idea that the center was willing and able to do more to support each area in improving their performance through customized reports and customer data.

Encourage the Entire Organization to Walk in the Customer’s Shoes

At BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the Customer Experience team created a very unique activity designed to help non-customer-facing functions develop a better understanding of the customer service advocate’s role, and to understand how what they do impacts what happens in the contact center. They set up a call-listening room next to the employee cafeteria. Continue reading