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By: Lauren Kindzierski and James Waite of HGS
In 2019, the customer service industry continued to see the rapid growth and expansion of automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and analytics. These game-changing technologies, when paired with the already popular and expanding self-service, chat, social, messaging, and other digital channels, are driving more digital transformation that is focused on both the customer and agent experience.
The difference today – in 2020 – is that it is no longer about why it’s important to invest in CX initiatives; rather, the conversation is around how much investment and in which areas should be invested. Companies are starting to secure more investment in CX initiatives due to AI, automation and analytics helping to prove out business cases, usually positioned as cost savings due to better operational efficiency. In addition, many of the historical ‘siloed data’ problems will start to get resolved as customer data platforms (CDPs) become more prevalent, and give CX professionals a 360-degree view of the customer for better personalization and insight into the customer journey. Finally, in 2020, expect smarter and faster technology, bundled with a delivery capability that is packaged as a service or takes a total cost of ownership approach, making sophisticated solutions easier to try.
So what should you expect to be talking about with your peers and service providers this year? These are some of the hottest emerging customer experience trends affecting our industry:
Customer Data Platforms & Journey Analytics for a 360-Degree View
There is no doubt about it, customer engagement is fueled by customer data. But, an understanding of customer feedback does not reveal everything about customer experiences. To get the full picture, customer service needs to understand customer behavior across channels, web activity, purchase and return history, marketing offers used, and more. However, many customer care leaders feel defeated today because data resides in multiple systems and platforms that are not integrated. The answer is to create a CDP and combine it with customer journey analytics, thus creating a unified 360-degree view of the customer. In 2020, CDPs will give customer care and marketing teams the ability to finally track the history of a customer to deliver hyper-personalized messages, extend tailor-made offers, recommendations, and predict future needs.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Automation That Enhances Live Agent Support
The customer service industry has always been burdened by costly labor attrition due to the repetitive tasks some contact center agents are faced with on a daily basis. AI and machine learning technology can enhance live agent support and help overcome this industry-wide problem. In the last two years, the industry has discovered that the real value of AI and automation is in the agent experience. When deployed, this technology can help agents do the majority of the heavy lifting. For example, AI can predict the right response to a customer inquiry in any digital channel. AI and automation can also help agents find the right answer quickly, populate the right screens at the right time, reduce the number of clicks, or even present personalized cross-sell offers at the perfect time in the customer-agent dialogue. In 2020, these new customer care solutions will bring together the empathy of agents with the efficiency of bots, thus producing an amazing (and cost-effective) customer experience.
The Rise of the Flexible Workforce and the Gig Economy
There are a lot of buzzwords flying around the industry related to what is ultimately flexible working, including “work-at-home,” “the gig economy,” and “crowdsourcing.” Benefits exist for all parties involved. For companies, it allows for greater flexibility in staffing, pay is contingent on the completion of an outcome, and employees are independent contractors, thus making attrition much lower or nonexistent. For the flexible workers, they are called upon when needed and can accept or decline based on their lifestyle or financial situation. Lastly, for customers, the flexible workforce can be used strategically to help staff the hours that were previously difficult to fill, thus reducing customer wait times. There is, however, contention surrounding the gig economy in three major areas: customer data, security, and compliance. As a trend for 2020, we can expect brands to draw on the gig economy; however, the industry will remain cautious not to go all in and instead supplement existing contact center operations.
Business Process Outsourcers (BPOs) Rethink Business Models
Twenty years ago, outsourcing was a phenomenon. It meant that companies could dramatically decrease their operating costs, using low-cost labor and a telephone. However, as consumers’ expectations have dramatically shifted when it comes to CX, it quickly became apparent to brands that their customers will no longer tolerate poor experiences. The challenge is that companies procuring BPO services still think of those connotations to the word “outsourcing” and will nearly always go to market with a request for proposal (RFP) for a “call center provider,” awarding the business to the lowest price bidder. The sad reality is that it has reached the point where it has become unsustainable and bad for customers. Today, and going into 2020, the customer service industry will witness BPOs disrupting traditional business models by becoming more creative with their value propositions, technology innovation, and pricing – such as a total cost of ownership (TCO) approach, gain-sharing models, or contractual incentives focused on driving value using innovation.
Mind Blowing Social Media Customer Experiences
Today, a new generation of digital natives – Gen Z – is turning to social media for help and expecting more than just a response. They expect a mind-blowing CX. The challenge is many brands are seeing a growth in social volume year after year, and yet staffing levels remain the same due to limited budget and resources. Many brands have mastered the basics of simply responding to customers, but now brands are starting to take social care to the next level by leveraging a powerful combination of AI, automation, bots, analytics, and the human touch. AI is helping to filter out the non-actionable posts, leaving only the engageable messages. This pool of messages can now get prioritized using AI, in order of most important. Automation then routes the right post to the right team. These teams are better trained in responding and resolving issues in-channel using a creative brand voice. In the end, it results in what we all want – more shares, comments, retweets, and a positive brand reputation.
The Power of Partnerships and Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As) for the Complete Digital CX
As fast-growing disruptive companies enter the market and steal market share away from long-time traditional enterprises, it is forcing companies to rethink the way they do business. This places a priority on providing effortless, digital, and mobile-first customer experiences. The challenge is that large enterprises cannot move as fast as a small startup, and time is money. The slower they move, the higher the customer churn. The solutions many brands are pursuing include traditional partnerships, outsourcing relationships, or an M&A with companies that can bring the digital intellectual property (IP) and the talented resources behind it (such as data scientists, developers, AI and machine learning engineers, and cybersecurity engineers). In 2020, we will continue to witness consolidation happen within our industry, as well as more partnerships strategically designed to transform CX.
Investment in Data Privacy and Security Increases and, In Turn, Affects the CX Industry
According to Risk Based Security (RBS) research published in the 2019 MidYear QuickView Data Breach Report, there were “more than 3,800 publicly disclosed breaches in the first six months of 2019 exposing an incredible 4.1 billion compromised records.” Whether hackers took data from a corporate server, an insider stole customer information, or information was exposed on the company website, it is important brands have a plan ready to execute. In a breach situation, the top priority is to assemble a team of experts, including legal, information security, IT, operations, communications, investor relations, and most importantly – customer care. In 2020, take necessary steps to build out a plan that could help minimize any reputation damage in the event a breach occurs. A contact center team’s ability to de-escalate anxiety and to lessen customers’ fears will be crucial to reputation preservation efforts and, more importantly, rebuilding customer trust and loyalty. Partnering to focus on compliance, accurate reporting, and safeguarding customer data are going to be critical in 2020 and beyond.
Digital Transformation with Customer-First Thinking
In the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed many companies buying advanced technology based on all the benefits it can deliver. Information Technology (IT) and operations departments are too often implementing this software without collaborating with customer-facing teams, conducting meaningful pilot tests, or taking the time to fully understand the impacts that IT changes could have on the customer. An IT-first approach has taken hold, resulting in the trending of a fundamental problem – it’s impossible to digitally transform CX without customer-first thinking. This means that companies on the cusp of IT change are not first asking the critical questions of – (1) what does the customer want and (2) how can technology help make that happen for them? It’s obvious that IT-first approaches don’t build customer trust or relationships, they usually hinder them. In 2020, the CX trend is thinking more about the human, human nature, and its relationship to the machine – and less about the machine and its relationship to the cost base.
To learn more about these CX trends and others, please register for our webinar featuring industry experts Chad McDaniel (Execs In The Know), Ivan Kotzev (Nelson Hall), Simon Dillsworth (Ember), and Graham Brown (HGS) on January 23rd, 2020 or listen to the recording on demand.
HGS is a global leader in BPO and optimizing the customer experience lifecycle by leveraging AI, automation, analytics, and digital to deliver transformational impact to clients. Learn More at www.teamhgs.com.
The contact center industry plays a pivotal role in delivering efficient customer service and support across various sectors. However, operating a contact center can be costly, primarily due to the highly labor-intensive nature of its operations. To address this challenge, organizations are increasingly turning to automated process flows to optimize their contact center operations and achieve significant cost savings.
Join us as we share the remarkable transformation journey for PSCU, the nation’s largest credit union service organization, and how they leveraged AI and automation to simplify hundreds of workflow processes and eliminate their complicated knowledge base—all while boosting agent performance and efficiency.
By streamlining and automating data retrieval and consolidation, knowledge management, and issue escalation processes, agents can dedicate their expertise to more complex, value-added tasks. This not only amplifies their productivity but also elevates customer satisfaction by ensuring faster and more precise resolutions.
In this session, Kim West, VP Product Marketing from Uniphore, will share invaluable lessons and key takeaways to:
Technology is most effective when it’s used in the service of human beings. Join Intradiem President Jennifer Lee for a customer case study featuring Jim Simmons from Synchrony Financial. Jennifer will discuss technology-driven strategies to boost employee well-being and performance, and Jim will explain how Synchrony Bank is leveraging automation along with Thrive’s science-backed behavior change platform to provide more human-centric support to its contact center agents. Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, will share via video how Thrive embeds employee well-being into everyday workflows, which lowers stress, builds resilience and improves performance.
In today’s competitive business landscape, customer service has become the ultimate differentiator. It’s no longer just about resolving issues; it’s about creating meaningful connections that foster loyalty and advocacy. Channel shouldn’t matter when it comes to delighting customers. The modern customer service team needs to meet customers where they are without having their information siloed across tools or channels. This panel discussion will bring together industry experts, thought leaders and seasoned practitioners to explore effective strategies and best practices for cultivating lifelong conversations with customers. Through engaging dialogue and insightful anecdotes, the panelists will highlight the key elements contributing to making customer service the centerpiece of your business by establishing a seamless channel experience that transcends traditional boundaries.
We all see it coming, an AI revolution that is more than just hype. However, figuring out how to make it work smoothly for customer service and finding the best way to learn, evaluate, and put it into action is not a walk in the park.
Join us as we examine the opportunities for leveraging AI to better understand, shape, customize, and optimize the customer journey and your overall CX. We’ll share real-world success cases and even a few cautionary tales of when things didn’t go quite as planned.
During this Shop Talk, you’ll leave understanding:
Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) has always been focused on providing member-first service to more than 12 million global customers, and their frequent recognition by Forrester, KPMG, and JD Power reflects that emphasis. With the advent of more advanced technology, NFCU has worked hard to strike a balance between the high-touch interactions and digital journeys they provide to members. To guide this work, NFCU adopted a Digital First, Member Always philosophy.
In this session, we will share a glimpse into some of the ways the NFCU customer experience teams are bringing this mantra to life. Starting with the fundamentals, we will discuss key initiatives that are improving the member’s digital journey.
You will learn about:
We hope you will join us to hear about NFCU’s exciting journey as they deliver compassionate service that strives to always put the member first!
As the workforce grows and diversifies, leading across generations has become more challenging than ever before. There are now five generations in the workforce (Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation-X, Millennials, Generation-Z), each with unique values, communication styles, work preferences, motivators, and technology habits. This can lead to misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions among colleagues, making it critical to welcome different perspectives and use them to lead effectively.
In this workshop, COPC Inc. will present 2023 research that illuminates the reality of generational divides in contact centers and customer experience operations.
Join COPC and your peers to learn how to transform your leadership approach and create a culture that welcomes generational differences. Leave this session with a better understanding of how to lead and manage each generation while maintaining individual strategies for maximum success.
Join Execs In The Know on Friday, September 22nd at 2 PM for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of SmileDirectClub’s manufacturing facility, dubbed the SmileHouse.
Your host Alvin Stokes, SmileDirectClub’s Chief Customer Contact Officer, will share how this disruptive brand streamlines the process from customer engagement to purchase decision and innovates the CX journey for their customers. He’ll delve into the fascinating connection points between customer experience and the SmileMaker Platform, which uses advanced AI technology via an app to put game-changing innovation in the palm of consumers’ hands.
Be a part of this tour to witness firsthand the impressive 3D printing technology, observe the seamless production of the brand’s clear aligners, and explore how using the power of innovation can up-level your customer experience. We can’t wait to see you there!
As a leading robotic vacuum cleaning company, iRobot prides itself on being a mission-driven builder that is revolutionizing the way the world cleans with consumer robots. In this thought-provoking keynote, Ledia Dilo, VP – Head of Global Customer Care and Fulfillment at iRobot, will address how the brand leverages customer-centric strategies to drive sustained growth, optimize operations, and build customer loyalty in an industry currently challenged by slowing demand, growing competition, and supply chain cost.
With a focus on optimizing operations, she’ll unveil the four strategic pillars that drive iRobot’s customer interactions, streamline onboarding experiences, and transform the contact center into an insights-driven and strategic business unit. Additionally, she’ll highlight the crucial role of the care team, their technical training, and collaborative partnerships with engineering in addressing complex product issues. Find out how iRobot leverages customer data and proactively engages with consumers to build lasting relationships. Drawing on her extensive experience, inspiring anecdotes, and metrics showcasing the success of proactive initiatives, she will demonstrate the immense value of customer-centricity in shaping the trajectory of brands to deliver win-win outcomes.
Join Ledia to gain insights on iRobot’s remarkable legacy that will inspire you to reshape your brand’s customer experience, unlock new growth opportunities, and cultivate enduring customer loyalty.
Join our panel of experts as they delve into the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential transformative impact on customer experience (CX). The revolutionary capabilities that AI offers enable brands to drive meaningful change by delivering efficiency, hyper-personalization, predictive insights, and seamless interactions to just name a few.
This thought-provoking discussion will shed light on a wide range of perspectives, various use cases, and challenges and opportunities that are specific to an organization’s size and structure when deploying AI in the current CX landscape. Our panelists will also share how they are navigating critical considerations, such as ethics, data privacy, and striking the right balance between automation and maintaining a human touch.
The latest AI has the potential to automate far more customer inquiries than prior generations of conversational AI. While most people are familiar with ChatGPT, few have deployed Large Language Models in customer-facing applications.
LOOP Insurance is excited to share their journey from a simple chatbot to a state of the art LLM-powered AI assistant that has yielded an impressive increase in effectiveness and CSAT.
In this session you will learn:
Witness the transformative journey of iPostal1, the worldwide leader in digital mailbox technology, as we explore the extraordinary impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on customer service. Due to rapid growth and an influx of customers, the brand was challenged to rethink how it could maintain its high standards for an exceptional level of service.
Armed with innovative solutions and a dynamic suite of tools, iPostal1, was able to scale its operations and take control of how it managed relationships with customers without diminishing the quality of its customer service.
Join us to hear from Dan Medina, Director of Customer Service Operations at iPostal1, and Colin Crowley, CX Advisor at Freshworks, to learn how AI can empower your customers, agents, and leaders alike by:
The cultural alignment between your organization and your BPO partner has become an essential ingredient to drive performance, speed to proficiency, and a consistent customer experience across locations. When cultural alignment is measured, monitored, and continuously calibrated, both companies arrive at a greater understanding of each other’s beliefs, communication processes, and abilities—functioning with truly dynamic collaboration.
In this session, learn how Qualfon and Neiman Marcus’ cultural alignment has resulted in the ultimate strategic partnership.
In a rapidly changing world, the landscape of work and business is undergoing unprecedented transformations. During his keynote, Peter Mallot, Worldwide Support Leader for Modern Life and Business Programs at Microsoft, will provide an informed perspective and timely insights at the intersection of Workforce Strategy, Culture, and Technology.
The future of work is progression, not an overnight solution. It demands a shift in corporate culture, management philosophy, and workforce adaptation, where the focus moves from reactive to proactive, from support to achievement. The path forward lies in a delicate balance between leveraging technology’s capabilities and empowering people toward greater productivity, collaboration, flexibility, and automation to enable customers to achieve more.
Join Peter to gain a deeper understanding of the engine required to drive change for an organization’s most valuable assets — its teams and its customers.
In this engaging keynote address, Stacy Spikes, CEO of the nationwide movie subscription service MoviePass, will take you on a journey where customer-centricity and innovation converge to create immersive and personalized cinematic experiences for all.
Discover how MoviePass is reinventing itself post-bankruptcy, overcoming past challenges, embracing product and customer service improvements, and setting its sights on a new horizon. From navigating customer churn to building customer trust and loyalty, Stacy will share real-life examples of the pivotal moments and invaluable insights that are shaping the brand’s trajectory.
Learn why diversity and building community are not just cultural values, but smart business moves that lead to better products and greater market reach. Additionally, Stacy will delve into the potential of blockchain technology as a powerful tool to bridge the gap between moviegoers and filmmakers.
Join us for this thought-provoking and inspiring look into the future of cinema and Stacy’s ambitious plans for reinventing moviegoing for customers.
As CX leaders, we recognize that enabling a customer-centric vision holds immense potential for driving value for our organizations.
Join our esteemed panel of industry experts as we explore how CX is used to drive revenue opportunities and strong business value. The panel will unlock the key KPIs and performance metrics that leaders must be measuring and monitoring to validate and amplify the value of their CX vision. With an ever-changing technology landscape alongside evolving customer expectations, we will explore the future impacts of CX ROI and discuss the influence it will have on what we measure.
From this session you will take away:
Enter digital workers, where AI and automation meet to support employee and customer experiences. They are changing our understanding of the future of work.
To support human employees, digital worker technology will continue to advance capabilities. The unique capabilities of Generative AI and automation are enabling CX leaders to gain a deep understanding of customer preferences, behaviors, and pain points.
Join us as we explore a real-world example of how a leading brand harnessed digital workers to revolutionize its contact center operations.
During this Shop Talk, you’ll discover:
As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology evolve, contact centers are using them to transform customer experiences through agent assist, self-service, and conversational analytics capabilities.
Join Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Truist to discover best practices for how to leverage AI-powered technology to deliver exceptional customer experiences. In this session, you will learn about:
With the global CX personalization market forecast to hit $11.6 billion by 2026, it is imperative that brands embed true personalization opportunities across the service journey. Facilitation begins with bi-directional omnichannel engagement that will require cutting-edge technology, insightful analytics, and advanced agent enablement.
This incredible panel will showcase agents alongside their business leaders in what is sure to be a powerful conversation on the approach needed to radically transform customer relationships. Join us as we unpack and explore critical insights from two unique perspectives on:
Inspiration is a catalyst for greatness. It transcends the mundane and ordinary, breaking through conventional boundaries to unleash the full potential of individuals and teams. In this captivating keynote, Carolyne M. Truelove, Vice President, Reservations and Customer Relations at American Airlines, will unveil the immense power of inspiration and its ability to ignite a drive for exceptional results and lead transformative change.
Discover the extraordinary possibilities that lie within you as a leader. Everything a leader does requires connection, including vision, strategy, and execution. Learn the art of connected leadership, fostering a culture of open-mindedness, and leveraging your leadership to navigate through the ever-evolving business landscape. When inspiration permeates every aspect of an organization, magic happens. Join Carolyne for an unforgettable keynote and unlock the secret to inspiring others into action.
Generative AI brings forth a new realm of possibilities for enhancing the customer experience. However, its propensity to occasionally deliver inaccurate or nonsensical information — a phenomenon known as a hallucination — could potentially impact hard-won customer loyalty. To ensure its success, generative AI has to solve problems and respond in a way that is accurate, helpful and free from toxicity and bias.
Join AI experts from TELUS International, a leading digital customer experience provider, for a Tech Forum exploring:
Companies today require a robust well-being strategy to have a material impact on the growing crisis of workplace mental health and business resilience. Join us for this interactive session as we explore the Four Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence. We’ll be exploring how to intentionally cultivate learning, development, and leadership strategies that focus on mindfulness and emotional intelligence, and how they are enhanced by dynamic neuroinsights and AI technology.
There is a great divide emerging in customer experience (CX) and leaders are being presented with the opportunity to blaze a trail forward with Conversational AI to set themselves apart in their service experience.
Conversational AI presents the opportunity for companies to harness new technology in a low-risk, high-impact environment. Embracing these new possibilities makes it possible for CX leaders to deliver enhanced and effective service at scale.
During this Tech Forum, you will be guided through the steps and considerations needed to build your very own AI assistant. Participants will walk away appreciating how simple and risk-free it can be to deliver big CX wins.
Join us as we explore:
Don’t miss this opportunity to bridge the Conversational AI divide and unlock the full potential of AI assistants in revolutionizing your CX.
In today’s remote work environment, organizations must not only hire the right talent but must also leverage technology to effectively manage and improve the employee experience (EX) throughout the agent life cycle.
To boost agent experience and reduce cognitive load, leading organizations are:
In this 90-minute session, we’ll explore how to best empower remote employees and motivate them to foster collaboration amongst themselves as well as with managers. With effective strategies in place, companies will see higher ESAT, engagement, and retention from happy and productive team members.
As you build onboarding for new hires, getting your agents to a place of confidence and proficiency can often be a challenge, especially in a hybrid workforce environment.
In this interactive session, we will reveal key findings on CX preferences designed for today’s consumers and what experiences they truly expect when contacting your brand for support. Find out why driving higher speed to proficiency with new hires is the top metric for delivering the experience your customers expect and deserve.
The hybrid workforce is here to stay. Learn insights into why companies are losing customers and market share by not having effective onboarding. While companies shifted to ‘virtual learning’ due to need, most lack a cohesive and scalable training and onboarding strategy for new hires in a global hybrid workforce.
In this session you’ll learn:
Jack Meek currently leads customer care operations at GoDaddy, the world’s largest services platform for entrepreneurs around the globe. GoDaddy’s mission is to empower their worldwide community of 20+ million customers — and entrepreneurs everywhere — by giving them all the help and tools they need to grow online. With 21M+ customers worldwide and 84M+ domain names under management, GoDaddy is the place folks come to name their idea, create a compelling brand and a great looking website, attract customers with digital and social marketing, and manage their work. Jack is responsible for developing and executing the future global care strategy that will continue to differentiate GoDaddy as the advocate of small business success throughout the world.
Jack is an influential change leader who has a passion for technology, innovation, and seeing people succeed. His foundational expertise and passion for building a solid employee and customer centric culture started at MCI where he was repeatedly recognized for record-breaking performance & leadership achievements. He then went on to help build and consolidate large-scale customer service and sales organizations at in the Telecom and Retail Energy space. Jack has successfully transformed and maintained customer operations and sales organizations of all sizes and across many different industries. He spent several years as a senior leader in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry helping multiple clients such as Verizon, Sony, and T-Mobile achieve their customer outcome goals.
Jeff is a passionate advocate for Customers and designing frictionless experiences for them. He began his career in Marketing in 1991, as a call center agent, while attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison and studying Communication Theory and Research. The first eight years of his career included multiple call center operational roles. Following his first eight years in operations, Jeff spent 10 years in the Omnicom family in both the US and the UK/Europe with multi-channel responsibility for Client Services and Program Strategy in a variety of verticals including Telecom, Energy, Media and Non-Profit. He currently serves as the VP and GM of Listener Care for SiriusXM with responsibility for all live customer interactions. His scope includes partnerships with 16 BPOs, in nine geographies, representing more than 60 support center locations.
Bill Colton is the Co-Founder and CEO of Global Telesourcing, a premium provider of digital and voice customer experience and sales solutions for some of the largest and most recognizable brands in the US. Using native-speaking English agents who spent their formative years living in the US, their workforce is as bi-cultural as they are bi-lingual. Global Telesourcing serves clients from centers in both Monterrey and Leon, Mexico, as well as work-from-home.