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

Tag Archives: Chatbots

Where Intelligent Automation Implementations go Wrong

In our conversations with the customer service leaders in our community, we hear about the challenges of implementing intelligent automation often. Whether their organization is taking its first baby steps or already executing their sophisticated AI strategy, there are a few common pitfalls executives have shared:

Lacking Necessary Resources

There is no out-of-the-box solution to implement intelligent automation in your organization. Companies seldom account for the IT infrastructure automation demands and are rarely prepared to produce data sets that are accurate and large enough for effective machine learning. Without these key ingredients, AI projects will fail.

The Fix: Before you invest in a vendor solution, ask the service providers you are scouting what you would need to use their tool. If data is a problem in your organization, you may be able to find a solution that leverages a different resource—one your company can provide.

Organizational Silos

Meeting resistance from other departments can stop your automation initiative before it gets out of the gate. Because customer experience touches so many areas of an organization, it’s vital to think through the consequences to each business unit before implementing the solution.

The Fix: Beyond involving the leadership in the departments who will be affected, training can be a great opportunity to get buy-in from the ground-level employees who will be using the AI solution. Instead of merely training workers on the tool, consider sharing the reasoning behind the automation and what benefits the company expects to get from it.

Choosing the Wrong Problem to Fix

Because intelligent automation is new to many companies, leadership is often leery of sinking too many resources into an AI project. If the initiative doesn’t live up to expectations, automation may suffer a setback at your organization. Too wide a scope, and your project will take years to reach completion. Too narrow, and it doesn’t make an impact.

The Fix: Create an initiative that will move the needle in the area your company is most focused on at the moment. If your organization is in cost-savings mode and you can use automation to reduce call volumes or the time spent on service tickets, it gives you the ammunition you need to use AI for other goals, like increasing customer satisfaction. Continue reading

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.

How to Transform Your Digital Customer Experience

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The following is a guest blog by Vijai Shankar – Senior Director of Industry Marketing at [24]7.ai.

Digital transformation. It’s disrupting every industry and impacting how you deliver a great customer experience. Companies that ignore it risk their very survival; but those that embrace it can dramatically improve customer satisfaction and drive greater value – without driving additional costs.

In the world of customer service and support, there is significant change happening from both a technology and consumer standpoint. Customers are more sophisticated and have increasingly higher expectations of experience from the companies or brands they interact with, while new and innovative technologies are enabling companies to transform how they provide support. From artificial intelligence-based chatbots to messaging applications, it is very important to clearly understand how different technologies can be used to transform the customer experience (CX).

Businesses in all sectors are beginning to realize the importance of digital transformation and are raising the bar for each other. At the recent Customer Response Summit in Chicago, organized by Execs In The Know, I observed and interacted with executives from brands and we all agreed on one thing: customer experience is the forefront of digital transformation, and as each brand improves their service and experience they set the bar for the rest, even across industries. The growth of mobile has put today’s customers in the “Experience Era” and businesses need to support customers across multiple, interconnected devices and channels, with the optimal customer experience. Natural language processing, artificial intelligence and machine learning are the foundation of digital transformation and exponentially drive the potential and value of virtual agents or chatbots now and into the future.

However, digital transformation isn’t a single fix to improving the customer experience today, and the transformation will need to happen with a practical, iterative approach. It starts first with businesses defining what truly is digital transformation and its fit in customer experience. Businesses also need to know how to separate facts from fiction and learn from the best practices and proven strategies, from previous successful transformations. Continue reading

Customer Experience Leaders Share Innovative Ideas for the Next Era of CX: Customer Response Summit Chicago, September 19-21

The following is a guest blog post from Ted Hunting, VP North America Marketing at Genesys

Next month, Execs In The Know will bring together service leaders from many of the largest global brands to advance the conversation on creating great customer experiences.  From past experience, it’s a very tight-knit group of CX leaders sharing best practices and ideas around omni-channel customer engagement, across all channels, and empowering employees to deliver great customer experiences.  This community is one of my favorites as the people are super-smart and passionate leaders who openly share their challenges, advice, and ideas –  it’s all about candid discussions and one-on-one engagement and networking.

As a member of the Execs In The Know CX Partner Advisory Board, on behalf of Genesys, I am excited to again join this group and will be leading an educational session with group brainstorming on “Journey Analytics and Effortless/Personal Keys for the Next Era of CX” on September 20th. The session will discuss how you can use journey analytics and new digital approaches to orchestrate an “outside in” customer journey that is more personal and predictive, while reducing effort. We will also share best practice use cases where AI, bots, digital self-service, and humans can work hand-in-hand. Join us to discuss and learn about this new era of effortless, personal omni-channel CX where old and new emerging channels come together and robots and humans work as one.

I highly recommend brands who truly understand the importance of customer experience to their business success and survival to join this group.  Execs In The Know is a well-respected organization that people turn to for advice and it’s unlike other similar events in the CX industry, due to the level of attendees and openness in communication. In attendance will be leading financial services firms, retailers, healthcare companies, hi-tech firms, hospitality companies, and utilities from across North America – both traditional leaders, but also some of the new disruptors changing business today. To learn more about joining visit https://www.execsintheknow.com/events/crs-chicago/ and follow @execsintheknow. And to learn more about Genesys, the industry’s #1 customer experience platform and recognized leader per Gartner and others, please visit http://www.genesys.com/about.  Or checkout some really awesome customer stories from CX leaders like Sabre.

Execs In The Know would like to thank Genesys who have been a long time supporter of the Customer Response Summit event, continue to be involved and valuable to our community of CX professionals, and truly care about seeing progression and enhancement in our industry. 

Debunking Chatbot Myths

The following is a guest post from [24]7. For more information about [24]7, visit their website


America became independent on July 4, 1776. Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb.  Magellan was the first to circumnavigate the globe.

All myths.*

Chatbots are the greatest thing since sliced bread.**  All chatbots utilize artificial intelligence. Chatbots will replace humans.

All myths.

Chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) are all the rage in the area of customer service. Everyone wants one. A lot of people are claiming that chatbots will take over our industry. Will they make an impact?  Absolutely. Should you be evaluating how they could benefit your company and your customers? Definitely. Will chatbots and AI eliminate humans?  Nope, at least not anytime soon.

Debunking chatbot myths is not easy when there’s so much hype and hyperbole in the market today. Most every vendor now offers a chatbot of some sort and many companies are trying to build their own. But, it’s important to first determine what’s fact and what’s fiction, else you might end up investing time and resources on a dead-end project that only addresses part of its intended goal.

At Execs in the Know’s Customer Response Summit, we’ll establish a dialog that addresses these four popular chatbot myths and separates fact from fiction: Continue reading

Integrating Bots and Brains for Optimized CX

The following is a guest post from HGS. For more information about HGS, visit their website

For those who worry that technology is doing irreparable harm to our day-to-day communication, here’s some good news. The art of conversation is not lost, it’s just evolving. In the customer experience call center world, we’re on the front lines of business to consumer communication disrupters, starting with digital channels like a company website and chat, to SMS-text, social media, advancing natural language processing (NLP), artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive learning, automation, and analytics. These tools bring tremendous opportunity to win and retain customers with better CX.

combining bots and brains

According to Gartner, 89% of companies are competing on CX, yet less than 10% of consumers think service from the call center is good. Today’s businesses need to improve service, be easier to do business with and open 24X7, and be consistent across multiple channels and digital devices with personalized interactions, empathy, and insight. Without this optimized service, brands risk becoming irrelevant to today’s customers, who show no loyalty. A Unified Customer Experience Strategy® brings a balance that leverages the latest digital innovation, while also cost-effectively improving service through conversations that make emotional connections with customers. This means understanding these three drivers: 

1) Customers’ expectations of service competence are higher every day, with world-class companies like Amazon and Apple setting an excellence standard that is leading with self-service and integrating human expertise when it adds value. Households have adopted digital and AI innovation as a way of life. Think “Hello Siri.” Starting your conversation with a bot is rapidly becoming the new norm. According to a recent Google study conducted by Northstar Research, more than half of U.S. teens and 41% of U.S. adults use voice search on a daily basis. A consistent customer experience that bridges channels is extremely important for Generation C—a demographic of connected customers  that represents today’s  buyer attitude and mindset. Bots, increasingly, provide a strong sense of reliability, consistency, and ease of use, which are critical to meet the demand for a unified customer experience strategy.

Continue reading