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The Magic of Customer Experience: Takeaways from CCExpo 2018

Jenna Harvey, Global Manager, Emerging Industries
May 29, 2018

It's not price or product that makes companies stand apart in the eyes of consumers it's the experience. Who knows more about turning experiences into magical moments than Disney.

Appian joined over 1,500 contact center professionals at Disney World this past week to explore the role of emerging technologies, a renewed focus on culture, delivering a flawless customer experience, and more at ICMI's Contact Center Expo 2018.

The main conference theme centered around the power of connections: how to foster better connections with employees and deeper connections with customers.

"Employee experience and customer experience are built from the same fibers."

- Nate Brown, Director of Customer Experience, UL EHS Sustainability - CCExpo 2018

This is how companies drive customer loyalty that turns them into unforgettable brands.

Here are four key takeaways from the conference that explore how to build brand value through the magic of contact center customer experience:

1. Maximizing Value Through Exceptional Experience

Contact centers are a source of value creation and for many organizations, contact centers represent an untapped potential to differentiate its products and services from the competition.

Different types of contact centers, including service, sales, and collections centers, all have the opportunity drive ROI. Contact centers must embrace that every transaction and interaction adds value. The shift from a cost center mentality requires leaders to be less metrics-centric, focusing instead on creating value for customers, through:

    • Staying ahead of customer needs and expectations

    • Delivering personalization through human touch and technology

    • Providing proactive efforts to service, sales, and marketing at the point of service

Together, these generate positive customer experience, improve customer loyalty, and lead to a higher lifetime value. JetBlue for example, empowers their customer service crew members to make interactions more personal and use engagement touch points to drive loyalty and revenue.

"We have a lofty goal to inspire humanity by making airline experience more personal, helpful and simple. We focus on evolving the customer experience while maintaining competitive costs."

- Frankie Littleford, VP of Customer Support, JetBlue - CCExpo 2018

2. The Importance of Getting Omni-Channel Right

Organizations today need to be able to support customer service inquiries anyplace, anytime, on any device, and across the channels customers want to interact. As organizations support more channels outside of voice, including chat, email, and web, the average cost per contact for each interaction declines.

Contact centers are striving for this type of omni-channel environment and seamless interaction experience for customers, but they are still falling short. SDL reports that 90% of customers expect consistent interactions across channels, however according to The CMO Club, 55% of companies have no cross-channel strategy in place.

One important area for organizations to consider is the Customer Effort Score (CES). Customers value above all else the simplicity in interacting with brands and faster time to resolution.

Additionally, ensuring the right authentication and security measures are in place to protect against fraud risk is increasingly important in omni-channel. As a vulnerable point of entry to vital customer data, along with the increased sophistication of attackers and the accessibility of consumer information from massive data breaches, call center fraud is on the rise.

"By 2020, 75% of omni-channel customer facing organizations will sustain a targeted, cross-channel fraud attack with the contact center as the primary point of compromise."

Using technology to ensure customer information is known, security standards are upheld and organizations get omni-channel right is a top of mind priority.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Digital Workforce are Here to Stay

What's clear is the future of the contact center involves Artificial Intelligence and robotics. Organizations are looking to understand how they can leverage these evolving technologies to make their contact centers smarter and more efficient. Plus, how the collaboration between human, robot, and technology impacts the bottom line.

AI is helping agents with their customer conversations to personalize interactions through smart recommendations, best next actions, auto-triage, and sentiment analysis. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has proven successful in interactions that are simple, fast, and easily automated, including ecommerce, customer service, and quick diagnostics.

Michael Zurat, Director of Engagement at Cognosante, recommends starting small with AI in your contact center and use the findings to build the business case for ROI.

"A good use case for AI in your contact center is for compliance insights and coaching opportunities. AI helps agents be the best agents they can be."

- Michael Zurat, Director of Engagement, Cognosante - CCExpo 2018

With trends emerging in Internet of Things (IoT) and leveraging Voice of the Customer (VoC) data, the contact center is ripe for opportunities in machine learning, predictive analytics, AI, and RPA.

4. Streamlining Contact Center Solutions

These days customers prefer to use self-service options to try to solve their problem. This means that the interactions that come to the contact center are typically more complex or are in an escalated state.

This poses a challenge because the contact center technology landscape is complicated:

    • Unified communication systems, including PBX telephony, IVR, email response, ACD system, web chat

    • Workforce management and knowledge management systems

    • Advanced communication tools, including SMS, social media, mobile, video, co-browsing, speech analytics

    • CRM systems

    • Custom applications and other IT systems

It's not uncommon to see upwards of 20 systems, applications, and screens that call center agents have to maneuver through for a single customer interaction. This causes a lack of agility and productivity, while making it harder to resolve inquiries.

Looking to a digital application platform that can streamline, automate, and connect systems and data, while optimizing business processes, has become increasingly important. This allows organizations to tackle the more challenging cases and interactions that come through to the contact center with ease, to deliver a better customer experience.

"Exceptional service is achievable for every organization because exceptional service is architected from systems and processes that you control."

- Ernesto Salas, Business Programs Sr. Facilitator, Disney Institute - CCExpo 2018

For companies looking to embrace Disney's legacy and deliver an experience that delights customers and agents alike, check out the Intelligent Contact Centerô Platform resource center.

And be sure to join us on May 31 for a webinar on The New Reality for Customer Engagement, featuring Craig Le Clair of Forrester Research, discussing how the confluence of emerging technologies are redefining enterprise operations and transforming the customer experience.

Jenna Harvey

Industry Marketing Manager