The Execs In The Know (EITK) Customer Response Summit: Hollywood has come and gone and sent everyone in attendance home with plenty of valuable information to apply to their CX strategies, as well as deepened personal connections with our fellow CX leaders, and joyous beachside memories that will last a lifetime. As a one stop for Execs In The Know’s ten-year anniversary Summit celebration year, CRS Hollywood turned out to be the perfect occasion to both look back at how far the industry has grown and get excited for what the next ten years have in store for CX.
With so much game-changing information in such a short amount of time, we know CRS can be a lot to digest – so we’d like to recap ten of Hollywood’s most memorable takeaways from all the spirited keynotes, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and overall recurring themes and topics of conversation that made this particular Customer Response Summit one for the ages.
1. Operational Preparedness: Addressing Global Impacts to Your CX Operational Readiness
Obviously with the recent unfortunate worldwide circumstances regarding the coronavirus, industries of all types are having to look inward to figure out how to keep internal processes on track during this unusual, uncertain timeline that came out of left field.
At CRS, we proactively faced the elephant in the room by starting the conversation on how to deal with the impacts of coronavirus on the CX industry. As such a new development, there is a lot of fear and uncertainty around what to expect. No sessions focused on the topic, but many conversations were had among those who were thankfully able to still make it to Hollywood despite the virus bringing on plenty of travel issues for people around the world.
To continue the conversation and pull together as a community, EITK hosted a webinar on March 11th with some of our most respected board members and partners to help execs gain a clearer understanding on operational preparedness. Nobody could have seen this coming, therefore it shed light on the importance of learning about questions you should be asking now and gaining insights, hearing perspectives, and discussing considerations for the short and long term. This webinar is available on replay and a Virtual Briefing Series is now scheduled to continue the collaboration amongst CX Leaders through this difficult time.
2. Happy Employees Are Still The Way to Generate Happy Customers
During one of our panels, a question was asked about how call center skills and training have evolved over the past five years and the impact that it has had on the hiring process. With so much change towards becoming more of an omnichannel world, call centers have more tools and resources than ever, which subsequently provide more opportunity for agents to develop various skill sets and hone their craft by keeping up with industry trends to best serve the customer.
In response to this, one panelist shed light on the importance of understanding expectations and recognizing the differences of how people learn. Being too rigid can prevent call centers from getting the most out of their agents, which becomes a major issue due to the tremendous cost of mis-hiring.
There is no one-size-fits-all call center agent, and it is imperative to make it as easy as possible to onboard, train, and train agents. Having these internal processes in place will prevent companies from feeling as if they mis-hired, when it’s possible they hired the correct person but never put them in the right position to thrive. This panelist noted how many agents do not want to be call center agents forever. With so much opportunity, agents nowadays are hungry to learn new tools and advance their careers. If your call center doesn’t allow them to do that, you may lose an A+ player you were unaware was even under your employ.
3. The Importance of Journey Mapping
Our always exciting and interactive Customer Engagement Live session for this Summit was focused on journey mapping. Attendees were broken into groups to explore the best ways to provide customer care to various buyer personas in the travel space.
The panel discussion on this topic generated a mixed bag of approaches to journey mapping, which made it a perfect topic for Customer Engagement Live. We learned about how one company makes sure to utilize all areas of their organization to empathize with the customer and get a broader approach focused on customer pain points. This process shed light on the fact that many of the company’s customers were having to deal with as many as 15 agents at a time and having to tell their story to each one, highlighting the need for a new approach. We learned how another company’s journey mapping strategy was born of crisis and focused on supply chain, which led to the creation of a CX taskforce. Another highlighted the process of reverse engineering by working with the end goal in mind since getting started was the hardest part of this company’s strategy.
There is no single way to handle journey mapping since many customers have different needs and preferences depending on industry, and it is always great to see how peers are handling putting the customer first. We can’t wait to show you a whole lot more of this session when we release our piece on Customer Engagement Live takeaways, where we’ll examine all the responses and insights that came from the groups who participated. Stay tuned.
4. Artificial Intelligence: Is it the Right Choice For Everyone?
It is evident that while AI adoption is increasing, we heard in Hollywood why it’s not for everyone. As with everything, it really depends on the state of the business, the goals, defined opportunities, and outcome expectations.
On one end of the spectrum, one of our Shop Talk sessions gave an interesting look into debunking some of the myths around AI with two myths being heavily discussed.
Myth #1: Technology isn’t quite ready to be the default.
Myth #2: Many customers would rather speak with a human.
This Shop Talk breakout session explored one example where the company’s CSAT rates were at 4.4 when customers connected with both agents and bots, which was higher than when interacting with just one or the other. In this same example, the average number of messages per ticket sent by bots rose by 9%, while messages per ticket sent by agents dropped 14% quarter-over-quarter – proving how the adoption of bots has made agents more productive by freeing up time to handle more pressing and sensitive issues.
On the other hand, one of our keynote speakers discussed how they chose not to incorporate AI into their strategy and instead continued to focus on drastically improving CSAT scores within their traditional and thriving customer experience strategy. We learned how this company determined most of its internal conversations around AI were focused on cost savings – which quickly led to the team realizing it was not worth the investment. If the conversation isn’t able to be started with a focus on agent productivity and customer experience, it might not be the proper investment even in a world leaning more into technology with each passing year.
5. Data Personalization
We learned during a keynote session that between 75-80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, knows their purchase history, and understands their needs and expectations.
As we mentioned earlier, frustrating processes that require a customer to retell a story to multiple people will drive buyers away quickly. Establishing trust with the customer through data is key, as people put a hefty amount of trust in a company when supplying it with their personal information. The info is sent over with the assumption that it will be treated with respect and used properly.
We heard plenty of conversations on this topic and are curious to see what’s in store for the next ten years of personalization, as well as how the importance of data protection grows right alongside it.
6. The Expanding Capabilities of Automation
It was a powerful experience learning how certain companies are currently implementing automation processes to improve their agents’ productivity. With each passing year, AI becomes better at not only solving problems, but proactively identifying small problems before they become big problems.
In one session, we learned about how a company’s automation technology gathers data to identify patterns at scale and poke holes in existing internal processes to then tell the company which parts of said processes need to be automated. This data is then swiftly put into a ranked list of processes, detailing how many hours are spent on a specific task and how many systems are involved before receiving an overall score to determine how well the process is functioning. When corralling data in this way, agents and other employees see plenty of time freed up due to the avoidance of meetings to discuss how these processes can be improved – a company can simply look at the data, easily evaluate, and make decisions, all thanks to automation.
7. The Gaming Industry’s Applicability Across the Board
“What works in gaming and invocation applies to anybody with a digital experience.”
On more than one occasion, we received a look into how the gaming industry is a trailblazer when it comes to providing a great customer experience. With such a dedicated and fiercely loyal consumer-base often exclusively living on digital platforms, it is always worth examining how the giants of the gaming industry are keeping customers happy in an industry that will quickly let you know if everything isn’t up to par.
8. Zig When Others Zag: The Most Resounding Resolution Tidbit of the Event
One of our keynote speakers devoted some time to problem solving processes. We learned how this company has a strict policy where agents do not have the ability to compensate customers. No matter what happens, the customer will not receive a gift card, discount, or any other type of compensation to smooth things over when something goes wrong with a purchase or interaction. They noted that 90% of the time, it is much better to solve the problem.
When opening the idea up to the audience, only one other attendee in the entire room noted that their company had a similar policy. It’s a creative strategy from a keynote full of creative endeavors, but nobody can argue with KPIs and long-term growth.
We always love hearing creating problem solving techniques, and this was easily one of the most interesting ones of CRS.
9. Keep Listening
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most effective. Listening seems easy enough, but it was insightful to hear more about the different ways that companies are listening to their audiences with the intent of discovering new ways to satisfy them.
Attendees’ feedback on the topic of surveys was mixed. While some companies seemed to not get much value out of them, others had distinct strategies to use surveys in order to better listen to customers and understand pain points. General surveys can be easily forgettable, but detailed ones centered around interactions can uncover vital data points that can transform a CX strategy.
It’s encouraging to notice more companies dedicating specific programs to listening. It spreads across departments and channels, but is more critical than ever before. We can’t wait to see what the next developments of escalation tracking and page-level feedback are over the next few years.
10. The Attendees
Many attendees, along with EITK team, verbalized the fact that this specific Customer Response Summit felt more communal, social, and collaborative than ever before.
We take pride in having created such a unique, engaging community and it means the world to everyone involved to hear that attendees are truly having a great time and getting value out of the proceedings. The news of the virus and the many last-minute travel cancellations could have easily put a damper on the entire Summit, but all in attendance banded together to make it the best Summit to date, and we can’t thank everyone enough for joining us in Hollywood.
Thanks to those who joined us in Hollywood, we hope to see you at our next CRS in Coronado, California – October 5-7th. In the meantime, please take advantage of our Virtual Briefing Series focused on COVID-19 and take a look at our COVID-19 CX Readiness page with CX resources and more.
Blog post, written by: Execs In The Know