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

Tag Archives: Digital

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

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

Disrupter 5: Contextualized Knowledge Bases for Personalization and Prediction

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The following is a guest blog by Mandeep Singh Kwatra, VP, Solutions and Capabilities at Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS). For more information about HGS, visit their website

As companies gain a deeper understanding of customers through research and predictive analytics, they will use that information to develop more individualized customer experiences. Today, it’s not enough to have a knowledge base. The best, most insightful business intelligence is developed from a contextual knowledge base that can be used by both agents and customers to predict the right answer based on that particular customer’s data, situation, location, and needs. The end result is faster responses, increased issue resolution, reduced customer effort, and happier customers.

Internet and digital channels have shrunk the world of customer information, and now everything is available at the click of a button. Customer loyalty is as fragile as that button click. Customers want brands to understand what they really need. They want everything personalized for them, at every step of the customer journey—from prepurchase research to complaints or when they are contemplating whether to jump ship. Today’s customers want personalized sales cycle, service queues, and complaints management. This means a knowledge base that employs two key elements:

– First, brand knowledge cannot be dated. It cannot be robotic or a copy paste of a manual or process. Knowledge has to be contextual. It has to be natural and language driven. It has to be how customers like to talk.

– Second, today’s predictive analytics answer to contemporary customer expectations, which are: to get the right answer fast, while also meeting sophisticated personalization criteria.

Contextualized Knowledge Bases

This shift from “content” to “context” requires companies to understand and categorize customers in personalized slots. According to a recent survey by Adobe, more than 60% of online users wanted to know why, what, and how web sites select content personalized for them. Companies need to have their personalization strategies backed by solid, accurate customer data. This is made easy by customers leaving a virtual bread crumb trail on their online journeys for brands to follow. But, the first order of business is to build a contextual knowledge base template that can support personalized customer data. Because customer behavior changes from one situation to another, a contextual database should include customer reactions across a broad spectrum of situations to be comprehensive and accurate. A recent study by Forrester Consulting on behalf of EverString found that marketers most often face the two challenges of ensuring data quality and managing data from a variety of sources (both 47%) in attempting to gain greater insights about customers and prospects. Continue reading

Leaders Speak on Digital Innovations for Customer Experience

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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!

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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.

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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

Get Your Chat Fitness On

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The following is a guest blog from Leslie Joseph, Senior Director, Product Marketing at [24]7. For more information about [24]7, visit http://www.247-inc.com/.

When was the last time you asked yourself “How can I improve the performance of my chat program?” No matter how optimized your chat program is, there is always room for improvement. As with any fitness program, simply following generic rules will only get you half way there. A customized workout for your chat is necessary to get the highest gains in performance. So how does one find the right routines, tools, and methods for getting chat-fit? The answer to all of these questions is in your data. It’s not just about what data you use, but how you use the data to make the biggest improvements.

Data is key. You don’t need to be a 1000-agent chat program before you start thinking about data. In fact, chances are, if you start thinking about data only after hitting a 1000, or even just 100, you probably have some catching-up to do. Smart execs can optimize even a fledgling chat program based on insights that can be gleaned from mashing up chat logs and reports with web data. But that’s just scratching the surface. Once you’re ready, chat transcript mining is the next frontier. Chat transcripts are a goldmine, rich with nuggets of insight that the performance-focused exec can arm to implement actions on the floor that enhance not just the efficiency, but also the effectiveness of agents. Chat mining is also a way to unlock other insights into customer sentiment and issue drivers that can lead to lower out-of-scopes, better customer engagement, smarter targeting, reduced costs and improved customer satisfaction. These insights, either on their own or paired with predictive models, can trim and tone your chat program to top efficiency.

But it doesn’t end there. The most important part is getting started. Once you start building momentum and making traction, you will soon realize that data-driven improvements will put even the best performance enhancing drugs to shame.

Join me on July 19, 2016 at 1:00 P.M. EDT as I discuss how some of the most successful companies use data and analytics to turn their chat channel into lean, mean performance machines. Register today! 

How Data & Analytics Can Turbocharge Your Chat Program Webinar

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PHOENIX, AZ. July 8, 2016 – Chad McDaniel, President of Execs In The Know, and Leslie Joseph, Senior Director, Product Marketing at [24]7, will be hosting the webinar “How Data and Analytics can Turbocharge Your Chat Program.” The action packed training session will take place on Tuesday, July 19th, 2016 from 1:00-2:00 ET.

In this hour long session, Leslie Joseph will provide tangible tips on how to use web data, customer journey analytics, and text mined insights to improve chat results and become an engagement fitness expert. Three levels of chat fitness will be explored:

– Beginner: How to get started by utilizing basic operational analytics

– Intermediate: Ramp up your efforts by working text mining and predictive models into your routine.

– Expert: Progress to the next level through platform analytics that can transform the chat experience for visitors and drive maximum business outcomes.

“Findings from our recent CXMB Corporate Report show that online chat has undergone a notable year-over-year increase, growing by 27% among companies offering one or more Interactive Care solutions,” said Chad McDaniel. “This webinar will feature real, actionable tips that will be applicable to chat providers at every stage of the game.”

To register for the webinar visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5098092745822594819. Continue reading

The Digital Tipping Point Webinar

PHOENIX, AZ. June 20, 2016 – Chad McDaniel, President of Execs In The Know, will be moderating the webinar, “The Digital Tipping Point: Balancing Digital Self-Service and the Human Touch With Knowledge.” The webinar, taking place Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 from 1:00-2:00 ET will be an interactive Q/A style featuring guest speaker, Forrester’s Kate Leggett, and Kelly Koelliker of Verint. The pair will be discussing the increasing importance of digital self-service knowledge and the trends driving customer expectations for service.

The one hour session will take a deeper look at how actionable knowledge management can address the increasing need for self-service, while support the need for traditional channels when self-service is not enough. The following key highlights will be shared:

Trends impacting effective customer engagement and self-service
The 3 E’s of customer experience: Effectiveness, Ease, and Emotion
Best practices for creating actionable knowledge
The digital tipping point and how to balance self-service and the human touch

“Findings from our recent CXMB Corporate Report show that 63% feel their company is beginning to divert focus away from traditional avenues of assistance into autonomous (self-help) options,” said Chad McDaniel. “While it’s crucial to still offer traditional channels, it’s becoming increasingly important to not only offer self-service, but to optimize it the right way.”

To register for the webinar visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9146439583075979009. Continue reading

The Digital Tipping Point: How to Balance Self-Service & The Human Touch

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This is a guest blog written by Kelly Koelliker, Director, Solutions Marketing at Verint Systems. Learn more about Verint at http://www.verint.com/.

For the first time ever, self-service channels have surpassed the phone as the most popular channels for service. As a result, organizations are beginning to invest heavily in these channels, seeking to provide the user experience customers demand. Meanwhile, contact centers still field millions of phone calls every day. So while the self-service channels are growing, many interactions still require the human touch of a phone call.

Many customers prefer to find information on their own, searching and browsing on web and mobile devices. Self-service offers the convenience of anytime/anywhere access for customers, with an added benefit of lower cost for organizations. At the same time, assisted service channels like the phone offer the value of the human touch, which can be critical when dealing with sensitive or complex issues. Continue reading