As 2017 draws to a close, companies around the world are making 2018 budget plans to further invest in customer experience (CX) and use it as a differentiator against their competition. It’s therefore the ideal time for IPsoft to launch its latest white paper, which looks at how automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive technologies can underpin a concept we are calling TCX – Transformative Customer Experience. Business leaders, particularly ones that have yet to chart a journey toward higher-level CX, should consider TCX among their 2018 initiatives.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of delivering a good customer experience in the current marketplace, especially as customers’ demands for quick and quality service continue to climb. In a recent Microsoft survey of 5,000 people across five countries (Brazil, Germany, Japan, the US and UK), 56% of respondents said they stopped using or buying a brand due to a poor customer service experience. The same survey also found that the bar for what constitutes good CX is rising rapidly, with 54% of those questioned saying that their expectations for customer service were higher than a year ago (a figure which rises to 66% for those aged between 18 and 34).
Meeting these expectations is clearly a major challenge, but the rewards for those companies that succeed in CX will be significant – studies have shown that companies with satisfied customers enjoy greater loyalty, higher revenues and stronger long-term growth. However, CX investment needs to evolve beyond low-level chatbots that often provide a weak first line of customer interaction. Chatbots fall short of what cognitive virtual agents, such as IPsoft’s Amelia, are able to deliver because of her natural language, sentiment and contextual abilities. Customers should be thinking about not just providing effective CX, but delivering TCX to create stronger and more enduring experiences. That’s why IPsoft is urging enterprises to seize the opportunity and build TCX into their investment plans, to ensure they get closer to their customers, build long-term customer relationships and stay ahead of competitors.
Amelia is already transforming customer experiences in a number of industries by making interactions more natural, conversational, effective and enduring. As we explore in the white paper, she embodies all three core elements that IPsoft believes make up TCX:
- Intimate. One of the most effective ways of establishing a strong relationship with a customer is to engage with them directly in a language they understand. Amelia’s use of cutting-edge technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), deep neural networks and machine learning enable her to understand how humans speak and interact, which is often in incomplete thoughts and broken sentences.
- Integrated. While many enterprises offer multiple customer support channels, interactions with Amelia can be passed from one channel to another without loss of quality or intent, so an inquiry submitted in one channel can be answered in another. Amelia can also integrate with back-office systems to service customers will all necessary information and functions.
- Intelligent. Amelia not only understands what end-users say but also what they mean. Emotional intelligence leads to a much higher level of understanding, and therefore a better user experience that requires a minimal amount of repetition or clarification.
With each successful deployment, Amelia gains more advocates and admirers among C-suite executives. This is important because, for a TCX strategy to be successful, it needs the full support of leadership and, somewhat surprisingly, many business leaders do not see any urgent need to gain CX proficiency, never mind transform customer experience. Recent research from analyst firm Forrester found that the main challenges holding back CX improvement programs were organizational culture, structures, and processes, all of which are driven by business leaders. In another Forrester survey, 57% of CX professionals agreed with the statement, “Our executives think CX is important but show no sense of urgency around building a CX competency.” The conclusion that Forrester analyst Maxie Schmidt came to, based on this research, was that “CEOs do not believe CX is a critical success factor.”
If this kind of thinking does not change among business leaders, then a significant number of enterprises will find themselves overtaken by forward-thinking challengers that view customer experience as a true competitive differentiator. A new year brings new opportunities for business leaders to consider adopting a TCX strategy, generate the business benefits it can deliver, and stay ahead of rivals.
For continued reading on the topic of Customer Experience:
- Don’t Fear the Future: Embrace AI by Managing Change and Employee Expectations by Aphrodite Brinsmead, Senior Analyst Relations Manager, IPsoft
- Making Lasting Memories Through AI by Jonathan Crane, Chief Commercial Officer, IPsoft
- Retaining and Growing Your Customer Base with AI by Daniela Zuin, Marketing Director, IPsoft