I love Nashville. Over the years I’ve been to Nashville for three conferences, all at the Opryland Hotel. If you’ve never stayed at the Opryland Hotel, you’re in for a real treat — it’s like being in a terrarium. Enclosed, lush green grounds with winding paths. Why, there’s even an indoor boat ride!
So, it was with great pleasure that I traveled to Nashville last week, this time for the Genesys CX18 conference. The two-day program was chock-a-block full of great insights about how to improve your CX. Here are a few key themes that emerged, and my thoughts on those themes:
- Creating moments that matter by connecting on an emotional level, which is a skill that can be learned from storytellers, is important. This underscores the need for service and marketing organizations to collaborate to build meaningful customer journeys that connect emotionally with customers.
- Consumers continue to want a good, consistent cross-channel experience, yet businesses struggle to deliver on this. It’s tough, we get it. But it’s time. We here at Cyara are seeing a marked uptick in our clients’ interest in testing journeys that span channels.
- Businesses are ready to hop on the AI and chatbot train, but customers are still dubious. Perhaps this is because of all the bad chatbots out there. Chatbot testing will become an important skill to develop.
- Delivering a great CX requires collaboration between business and technology. Technology is an enabler of a great CX, but it is the business side that defines the vision. When working closely together and functioning as a single team, businesses can accelerate the pace of change and continuously improve their CX.
Below, I've summarized some of the key sessions on these topics.
Creating Moments that Matter
Matthew Luhn of Pixar delivered a phenomenal keynote on the importance of connecting with someone emotionally in driving a memorable experience. His key point is that people won’t remember what you said, or what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel. As business leaders, we need to define the feeling — such as confidence — that we want our customers to have when they engage with us, and then design our experience and systems to deliver on that. Sheryl Kingstone of 451 Research echoed this key message in her keynote the following day.
State of CX — Consumer Preferences vs. Businesses’ Plans
Another interesting session was the preview of Genesys’ State of CX Research, summarizing interviews with 1900 consumers and 1300 business leaders. The research was on consumer sentiment and business sentiment, and the speakers highlighted a couple of interesting disconnects. The first is around the cross-channel customer experience. While 83% of consumers said that cross-channel experiences were desirable (and honestly, who are the other 17%?), only 50% of businesses currently support cross-channel experiences — a not insignificant gap.
Conversely, the data they collected showed businesses are over-investing in chatbots based on consumer demand. While 14% of consumers had used a chatbot, only 2% prefer using a chatbot. And yet, 66% of businesses plan to deploy a chatbot within the year.
All about the Bot
Even in light of that fact, it is not surprising that AI and chatbots were the hot topic of the event. One of the most memorable pieces of advice on chatbots was to start small — take services you’ve already automated, and re-create that service in a chatbot interface. This gives you a clear, simple use case — one that you know can be automated — to learn from, and work out the kinks.
In a breakout session, I also heard from businesses that had deployed chatbots. MYOB, a business software company, had a particularly interesting use case. Today, they offer support online and in the contact center. Typically, customers start with online and when that fails, will call the contact center. Their hypothesis was that they could offload some of those calls by creating a chatbot experience that enabled users to customize content more finely. Hence, they focused their AI deployment on customizing support conversations with the aim of increasing the rate of self-service completion. Even though the main objective was focused on resource savings, they maintained a strong eye on NPS — in fact, their business case looked to divert those resources to service recovery and improved CX.
Anthem: Business and Technology Partnering for CX Transformation Success
Two executives from Anthem, Jillaine Horn, VP of Service Experience Business Leader, and Anil Ravula, Staff VP of Service Experience Technology, spoke about Anthem’s transformation to a customer-centric organization. This journey started about 4 years ago in response to changing market dynamics. One of the main challenges Anthem encountered was their very complex service environment, which was the result of an amalgamation of service experiences from different acquired organizations. In sum, they were looking at 15,000 service associates, 30+ contact centers, and several thousand 800 numbers, all of which support over 75M interactions. To deliver a consistent (and consistently good) experience requires standardization, and continuous evolution. A key success factor for achieving this pace of change, was the adoption of Agile/DevOps including tight collaboration between business and technology.
It was an inspirational couple of days, and I’m more excited than ever about where the contact center industry is headed. It’s clear that the demand for great CX is only increasing, and that the pace of change will continue to accelerate. And, it’s equally clear that the complexity of delivering on this consumer expectation will continue to remain challenging. Genesys has great solutions that enable businesses to engage their customers in meaningful, contextual interactions in the channel of their choice. But delivering a great customer experience doesn’t stop with your systems of engagement. That’s where Cyara comes in. We help organizations deliver a flawless CX while accelerating the pace of innovation, and we do this with a CX Assurance Platform that enables you to weed out defects at each stage of the development lifecycle, ensuring you deliver the delightful customer journeys you envisioned. To see how the Cyara Platform works, watch this video, or contact us to get started on your journey to delivering a flawless CX.