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

Tag Archives: CR Summit

What is the technology behind a true omnichannel solution?

The following is a guest post by Priyanka Tiwari, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Interactions. To learn more about Interactions, visit the company’s website.

Over the last few years, the word ‘omnichannel’ has been used (and overused) to describe a utopia of marketing and customer care. We all have heard and read about how an omnichannel approach solves all customer care issues and allows brands to prove their customer obsession. Then why do brands still pursue a better approach?

The answer is simple: because every brand has defined ‘omnichannel’ using the best of their abilities and technologies at hand. We saw many multichannel or cross-channel solutions being called omnichannel only to be found incapable of delivering what they promised. What we needed was a solution capable of delivering a true omnichannel experience. And what differentiates a true omnichannel solution from its counterparts is the technology that empowers it.

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How AI Automation Has Changed Customer Service Operations

The following is a guest blog by Charles Schrier, Director of Marketing  at SmartAction.

As a lifelong customer service professional, you’ve watched the customer service function change from necessary evil to cornerstone of business success. For so long, businesses found ways to cut costs and increase efficiency in the call center because it was always viewed as a “cost” center. But with today’s customer demands for experiences that are easy and effective, and with more contact channels than ever before, it is getting near impossible to forecast and staff the call center, train agents in the proper skills, and offer consistency across channels and touchpoints.

Companies have an amazing opportunity to meet customer demands and create a strategic advantage over the competition by incorporating AI automation into their customer service operation. Forrester research tells us that 2/3 of consumers said that valuing their time is the most important thing to them, which helps to explain the rise in self-service adoption. With conversational AI automation, businesses are offering self-service for many of the simple and complex repetitive tasks that their call center agents had always been doing. Thanks to consumer tech products like Siri and Cortana, customers are actually very adept and comfortable interacting with conversational AI, whether through voice or digital media. Therefore, companies with AI automation are outpacing competitors by offering the effortless experience their customers want while migrating their operations towards sustainable growth.

AI automation’s most impactful ROI promise is in helping call centers conquer headcount challenges. As contact volumes explode through more and more channels, it has become increasingly difficult to forecast and accurately staff the call center. Even when volume spikes are predictable, they are still expensive to manage using live agents alone. The answer to higher volumes is no longer to hire more people, but rather to use AI agents mixed with live agents in order to automate more and make the live agents more effective for the inquiries that require the human touch. Many companies have found success using an AI virtual assistant service to:

    1. 1. Automate repetitive calls, chats, and texts with live agent failover. This helps agents focus on the top priority customer conversations because the routine tasks, like checking order status or making payments, are taken care of by AI.
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    3. 2. Gather customer data upfront before passing to live agent for assistance. An example is customer account authentication with screen pops for agents so that customers do not need to repeat information.
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    5. 3. Automate outbound calls and SMS texts for appointment confirmations, delivery reminders, reorders, or other alerts. This is normally a huge cost and time-suck for live agents.
    6.  

    7. 4. Offer a conversational AI Front Door, which uses a natural language greeting like, “How can I help you?” to capture intent. Conversations then get routed either to the IVR, a live agent, or additional AI self-service.

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  • Execs In The Know CX Leadership Event – Customer Response Summit – Coming to Marina del Rey

    Leading CX Leaders From Microsoft, Upwork, LinkedIn, and Chick-fil-A to Keynote Execs In The Know – Customer Response Summit Marina del Rey

    PHOENIXJuly 12, 2018 — Execs In The Know, a community of Customer Experience Professionals, has announced the details of their national event – Customer Response Summit (CRS) Marina del Rey. CRS Marina del Rey will be held September 10th-12th, 2018, at The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey, in Marina del Rey, CA. Culture, customer engagement, AI, the millennial workforce, mindfulness, digital transformation, and more will be featured topics of discussion. The customer experience conference will include keynotes from Chick-fil-A, LinkedIn, Upwork, and Microsoft.

    CRS is a gathering of customer service leaders, across many verticals, focused on creating innovative experiences for their brands. Highlights of the CX leadership event include an exclusive tour of the Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles, evening networking opportunities, and numerous case studies. The newest version of the CXMB Series – 2018 Consumer Edition, will also be released (a joint effort between Execs In The Know and COPC Inc.).

    “Our EITK community is a dynamic, collaborative group of customer experience executives who are constantly inspiring us and leading the charge in their own organizations,” said Chad McDaniel, President and CEO of Execs In The Know. “There’s nothing quite like the sharing, networking, and learning at our live events and I would urge anyone who hasn’t been part of one to join us in Marina del Rey to experience it for themselves.”

    Other leading corporate brands that will speak at the customer care event include Humana, Uber, GoDaddy, Southwest Airlines, Slack, Electrolux, and more.

    To learn more or to register, visit the event website https://www.execsintheknow.com/events/marina-del-rey/.

    About Execs In The Know

    Execs In The Know is a global community of customer experience professionals focused on excellence in customer experience. Execs In The Know gives brands a platform to share and gain insights, benchmark their brand, stay on top of the latest trends in CX, and create lasting relationships with their peers – “Leaders Learning From Leaders.”

    Execs In The Know holds numerous live events each year including Customer Response Summit, Subject Matter Briefings, Lunch & Learns, and Dinners. They also offer industry content and thought leadership, webinars, reports, and various social communities.

    Learn more at www.execsintheknow.com.

    Media Contact:
    Alyssa Pitura
    info@execsintheknow.com

    Top 10 Best Things About CRS Charleston

    Charleston was our most successful Customer Response Summit yet, and we’ll be pondering the ideas it sparked and reliving the memories we created for a long time to come. Narrowing it down to just 10 was tough, but here’s our take on the top highlights of the event.

    10. The 5 Minutes of Brilliance Presentations

    These bite-sized presentations were so beloved, many attendees asked for more at future events (we’re working on it!).

    Andy Yasutake of LinkedIn and Mark Killick of Grubhub did an excellent job of breaking down their respective topics—Andy spoke about how LinkedIn worked on customer service request surges, and Mark spoke about using business intelligence to improve operations. We’re still thinking about their talks.

    9. The Case Studies

    One thing we’ve heard again and again is that our community craves presentations on what real companies do to move the customer service needle. At CRS Charleston, there were many breakout sessions to choose from. The topics represented leaned to digital and AI concerns, but they were varied enough to make the sessions useful to everyone:

    • -BOTs, Speech, and Humans – Seamlessly Balanced
    • -CX Measurement for the Ever-Connected Customer
    • -Are You Ready? This is the Year of Consumer Messaging & Bots
    • -Scaling True to Yourself
    • -The Future of Customer Service is Here. Are you Ready?
    • -Expanding Customer Conversations Over Digital Channels
    • -University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan Delivers A High Touch, High Tech Customer Experience

    8. The “Networking” Event

    There’s no better way to make new connections than at our social events. The evening at Prohibition combined a 1920s-themed party with networking. Friendships and business relationships were formed—or cemented—by the night’s end.

    7. The CXMB 2017 Corporate Edition Results

    Every CRS Charleston attendee received a copy of the full report in their welcome packet, and COPC Inc.’s Judi Brenstein, Balsam Brands’ Caroline Tuan, Sweetwater Sound’s Salena Scardina, and Grubhub’s Mark Killick explored the real-world implications of the CXMB 2017 Corporate Edition.

    Here are some highlights:

    • -82% of corporate leaders feel their organization meets the customer service needs of its customers, while only 40% of consumers do
    • -Just 61% of executives believe their company offers support in all the channels their customers want to use
    • -Metrics CX senior leaders are using to measure success include CSAT (77%). NPS (67%), Customer Effort (28%), and Other (10%)

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    5 Minutes of Brilliance – How LinkedIn Handles Surges

    At our Customer Response Summit events, we love to offer use case examples of how providers are helping the brands they work with to provide better customer experiences. Our 5 Minutes of Brilliance sessions during the event are quick snippets of best practices used to solve a specific issue or challenge.

    For those of you that were unable to join us last week in Charleston, we hope that you enjoy the recap of one of our 5 Minutes of Brilliance sessions below.

    The following is a guest blog by Joey Greenwald, Director, Demand Gen & Operations at Directly. 

    At the bi-annual Execs In The Know Customer Response Summit,  March 12-14, 2018, Andy Yasutake, Senior Director of Global Technology and Solutions & Operations at LinkedIn, spoke about using Directly’s unique customer care model to manage customer service surges. Here are the key takeaways:

    How does LinkedIn leverage the gig economy?

    “There is this marketplace of people out there . . . very engaged members who are already active on LinkedIn hosting and helping other members. What if we could tap into that in some way? We partnered with Directly. Directly offers an expert-based solution. We already had a significant amount of members engaging in our community forums, in our help centers . . . What if we picked a few members and offered them a monetary reward?”

    How did Directly help with a significant surge in customer service requests?

    “Surge protection was built in. In 2012 when we had an issue . . .  it took us 16 weeks to recover. We had to hire a bunch of people that didn’t know how to use our tools. [In 2016]  it was [re] exposed, but a lot of members started contacting us. We had a 1300% increase. [This time] we engaged experts . . . and leveraging the power of the Directly platform with our tools and our brand of LinkedIn, we were able to improve performance.”

    What has Directly done for LinkedIn overall?

    “We were getting incredible response times. An email that would take twenty four, seventeen hours . . . we were getting response times in six minutes, so the customer satisfaction went through the roof. They’re going, ‘This is like a real time channel, except it’s email.’ Directly’s solution helped us identify members . . . offer them a Directly/LinkedIn co-branded message . . . but it offers [the service request] up first to [Directly] experts before it goes to an internal [representative].”

    It was an incredible solution that was just offering general support. The impact has been significant cost savings. . . . [and] we’re averaging 3 to 5 minutes on response times for emails that would have taken 24 hours. . . . Our internal employees . . . are actually working on higher value channels.”

    If you want to watch Andy’s entire presentation (it’s not long, we promise), click here.

    Join the CX conversation with Directly on Twitter @Directly, and if you want to find out how Directly can transform your customer service, visit their website or schedule a demo today.

    How We Built the Wine Bot Margot for Lidl

    The following is a guest blog by Tobias Goebel, Director of Emerging Technologies at Aspect. For more information on Aspect, visit their website. 

    It was mid-July 2017 when I got an email from a sales colleague about a potential chatbot opportunity with a short window to respond. The prospective customer was the UK branch of supermarket chain Lidl. The Lidl digital marketing director and his team had already looked at a variety of vendors and were ready to make a selection, but they were still open to listening to us. It was a long shot, we thought, but we still wanted to give it our best effort.

    Fast forward 5 months, and we’re seeing tweets like this from the Daily Mail and The Sun:

    Wow, what had happened? Well, a fantastic team effort is what had happened.

    Winning Team Lidl Over

    Lidl saw value in:

    – our expertise around all things Customer Experience

    – our unique approach to Natural Language Understanding with support for many languages

    – our “cloud clout” and the resulting time-to-market

    – our design-once-deploy-anywhere framework that allows taking one bot and deploying it on channels like FB Messenger, SMS, Amazon Echo, IVR, etc. with minimal additional effort

    – our experience in building and hosting enterprise-grade, transactional customer self-service solutions that integrate into the larger marketing and contact center ecosystem of a multi-national corporation, including the ability to expand into eCommerce

    From our Press Release: https://www.aspect.com/company/news/press-releases/lidl-uk-launches-ai-wine-chatbot-to-uk-customers-with-aspect-software

    How does a conversation with Margot look like? Have a look here:

    When implementing the application, we decided to work with one of our long-time application development partners, 2-steps-ahead, who has been building voicebots on our IVR and chatbot platform, Aspect CXP™, for over a decade. Internally, we had all of the right people in place and ready to take on this project: Aspect Professional Services provided the project management and architectural support, R&D provided support by our on-staff linguists. With the combined forces of our team and 2-steps-ahead we were ready to embark on the buildout of the solution. Continue reading

    Chat vs. Messaging for Customer Support: Why Messaging Wins

    The following is a guest blog by Krysta Gahagen, Product Marketing Manager at Sparkcentral. For more information on Sparkcentral, visit their website

    Many brands ask us about the differences between using live chat versus digital messaging (ie. Messenger, WeChat, in-app/in-web messaging, etc.) for customer support. That’s right, chat and messaging are NOT the same. Although chat was loved by brands in the past, we believe its final days, as it currently exists, are near. To explain why it’s important to first clearly distinguish how the two are different.

    Take a look at the examples below to see the difference between a messaging interaction versus that of a chat interaction.

     

     The example above is one of messaging.

    In this interaction, I had reached out to one of my favorite brands, Nordstrom, to get some help finding a jacket.  Here is what was great about using messaging for customer support:

    – This conversation was asynchronous, meaning the agent and I could communicate without being available at the same time.

    – It was extremely convenient – I received a push notification on my phone’s home screen when the agent responded (rather than staring at my phone waiting for a response).

    – It was contextual, so if I ever forgot which jacket I was looking at, I could just open up the app and go directly to the link the agent had sent me. Also, if I ever reached out again, the agent would know exactly what that previous interaction looked like.

    – It felt personal and human. I was able to share just how genuinely excited I was by simply adding emoji to the message. With messaging, agents and customers can share and express emotions via emoji and gifs. Continue reading

    Top 3 Benefits and Best Practices of Contact Center Modernization

    The following is a guest blog by Jil Fisher, Vice President of Product Management at West Interactive. For more information on West, visit their website

    Some things never go out of style, like The Beatles, evenings by the fireplace and homemade apple pie.

    Unfortunately, your contact center isn’t one of them, and if you haven’t replaced or upgraded your solutions recently, there’s a good chance your customers have noticed. In that case, it’s probably time for a little contact center modernization.

    A good contact center makes an impact for three important stakeholders:

    1) Your customers
    2) Your agents
    3) And your business

    Contact center modernization can make your solution better for them all. Customer care has made huge advances over the last several years. Texting is now a common communication track for businesses, and AI and chatbots continue to forge new ground.

    Amid all this change, customer expectations have responded. Today’s customers demand the flexibility to communicate in their preferred channel, at their preferred time. And they no longer accept long wait times and impersonal service as the norm.

    You need to keep up in order to keep your customers.

    In the past, updating or replacing your system to provide a higher level of service was cost-prohibitive. But today, that’s not necessarily the case. With a cloud-based system and an experienced partner, you can take your customer experience to new heights without doing the same for your expenditures. If you haven’t done so yet, going to the cloud is the number one step in contact center modernization.

    But even if you do have a cloud-based solution, there are a few best practices to find even more value. So with that in mind, here are the top three benefits and best practices to guide you through your contact center modernization.

    Save big money over time

    Obviously, one massive incentive of contact center modernization is cost savings. So as you begin this process, consider future adaptations for even greater efficiency and customer experience.

    As new technology develops, you need to have a process to incorporate it into your contact center plan. Customers may want to connect through traditional voice channels, but the preference is quickly changing to other channels, including email, chat, mobile and social.

    That means your contact center needs expanded capabilities around these channels. On the one hand, you’ll have a few more expenses up front to ensure all those channels are supported, even if you’re not currently using them. But these channels are also easily automated, which can drastically cut customer service costs and agent workload.

    Best Practice #1: Update the systems you need today and prepare for the growing customer service channels of the future.

    Of course, upgrading your premise-based system to accommodate all of these channels can get very expensive very fast. But by moving to the cloud, you can cut many up-front costs and prepare for quick changes down the road.

    These solutions could completely replace your current technology, but they’re more likely to run alongside existing systems. Cloud-based solutions let you pick upgrades you need without the expense of replacing all your current equipment right away. Plus, your customers can start using the channels they love, giving an instant boost to loyalty and retention. Continue reading

    The Top 10 Customer Experience Trends in 2018

    The following is a guest blog from Lauren Kindzierski, HGS Vice President, Solutions and Capabilities. For more information on HGS, visit their website.

    The customer service industry will experience the biggest digital shift yet in 2018, as customer experience (CX) brand leaders seek to expand channels, leverage analytics, adopt automation, and integrate the front office with back office operations. CX pioneers should prepare for a surge in the adoption of disrupter technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), digital self-service, and bot tools, as well as the need to hire data scientists to improve business intelligence and better enable consumers to get the right answer fast. These digital capabilities will help some businesses, with the right unified engagement strategy and delivery expertise, to unlock a treasure trove of transformational potential for optimizing customer experiencebalancing the cost of service with frictionless engagement. In this report, we will cover those digital innovation and customer engagement operational trends that will assist CX leaders in planning their transformation projects in 2018-19. (Click here to view a webinar from January 10 on this same topic.)

    1. Digital channels finally overtake voice.

    We will finally witness the tipping point where digital channels—email, chat, social, text, messaging—overtake voice in the contact center. Mobile driven interaction management —in-app messaging, chat, SMS, and social—have become foundational components of an omnichannel strategy. According to Dimension Data’s global contact center benchmarking report, digital interactions accounted for over 42% of all interactions taking place inside the contact center in the beginning of 2017. At that current rate, digital was expected to overtake voice in 2018. It’s already happening with some of our clients. One consumer packaged goods client being serviced out of the UK receives 71% of all customer interactions from digital channels, and only 29% from voice. Included in these statistics are messaging via WhatsApp, which currently accounts for approximately 10% of the client’s volume. Instant communication will become the standard for exceptional customer service in 2018. Messaging is the new channel of choice, according to Twilio research, which states 89% of consumers want to use messaging to communicate with a business. There are multiple benefits to messaging such as the ability to send photos or videos between agents and customers, faster and more timely communications, and the ability to stop, start, and continue with the conversation at the customer’s convenience.

    2. Investments in advanced analytics tools drive customer experience transformation.

    Advanced data analytics tools can help businesses uncover business-critical insights and gain a competitive edge. According to Gartner, “By 2018 50% of agent interactions will be influenced by real-time analytics.” As customer experience analytics matures, it is becoming increasingly predictive and focused on personalization. A sophisticated data analytics tool can make predictions, or generate recommendations based on information gathered, thus giving contact center agents and bots more background and context on each individual customer they are servicing. In addition, analytics plays a significant role in increasing productivity. As one case in point, speech analytics can detect non-value adds, such as long conversational pauses or points in the conversation when the customer has to repeat responses. Continue reading

    Execs In The Know Connects Customer Experience Leaders to Industry Learning at Customer Response Summit Charleston

    Powerhouse Speakers From Neiman Marcus, Indeed, Capital One and T-Mobile to Keynote Execs In The Know – Customer Response Summit Charleston

    PHOENIX, AZ. – (February 15, 2018) – Community of customer experience professionals, Execs In The Know, have released the agenda for their next executive gathering – Customer Response Summit (CRS) Charleston. CRS Charleston will be held March 12th-14th, 2018, at the Belmond Charleston Place, in Charleston, SC. AI for service, employee engagement, outsourcing, quality, personalization, and more will be featured topics of discussion. The customer experience conference will include keynotes from Neiman Marcus, Indeed, Capital One, and T-Mobile.

    CRS is a gathering of customer service 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 Innovation Lab, evening networking opportunities, and an exclusive tour of the T-Mobile Charleston facility. The newest version of the CXMB Series – 2017 Corporate Edition – will also be released (a joint effort between Execs In The Know and COPC Inc.).

    “Between our stellar line-up of speakers and our historic host city of Charleston, we are thrilled to bring CRS to the East Coast, in March,” said Chad McDaniel, President and CEO of Execs In The Know. “Our community is constantly inspiring us through the stories and innovative experiences they offer in their own brands. I can’t tell you how special it is to be able to meet face-to-face with these amazing leaders and watch the sharing that takes place amongst peers.”

    Other leading corporate brands that will be speaking at the customer care event include Grubhub, Sweetwater Sound, Aetna, USA TODAY NETWORK, Balsam Hill and more.

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

    About Execs In The Know

    Execs In The Know is a global community of customer experience professionals, from various industry verticals, all focused on the same thing – excellence in customer service and experience. Execs In The Know gives brands a platform to share and gain insights, benchmark their brand, stay on top of the latest trends in CX, and create lasting relationships with their peers – “Leaders Learning From Leaders.”

    Execs In The Know holds their national event – Customer Response Summit – twice a year (in the Spring and Fall), giving executives the opportunity to connect face-to-face. They also hold a number of other live regional events throughout the year including Subject Matter Briefings (on topics like social media, AI, SMS, outsourcing, etc.), Lunch & Learns, Workshops, and EITK Dinners. The community is able to stay engaged long after the events come to an end through industry content and thought leadership, webinars, reports, and various social communities.

    Learn more at www.execsintheknow.com.

    Media Contact:

    Alyssa Pitura
    info@execsintheknow.com