Tag Archives: Customer Experience

EX is the New CX

(This article is a continuation of my earlier article “When the Voice of the Customer Actually Talks.”)

I recently attended (virtually) CX Summit 2021, presented by Five9, which focused on “CX Reimagined.” At first this title for the event seemed a bit grandiose to me – Reimagined! After attending the event, I now think the title was perfect, and it could have gone even further. I saw how the “art of the possible” in CX (Customer Experience) and EX (Employee Experience) in the Contact Center is already being realized and is being taken to new realms of possibility through AI and Cloud empowerments.

The evolved (reimagined) Contact Center now comes with more options for digital channels to accommodate the customer, more voice data-powered services that serve both the customer and the contact center representative, and more seamless actions on both ends of the call line, even for complex inquiries. This is all enabled by the 3 A’s: AI, Automation, and voice Analytics. We have heard it before: “happy employee, happy customer!” That now looks like this: “EX is the new CX.” Boom!

In an information-packed talk from Gartner Analyst Drew Kraus on “Getting Past the Hype in Customer Service”, where he reviewed just how much hype there is in the customer service and support technologies market, it became clear to me that Five9 delivers on the needs, not the hype.

Another informative and data-packed presentation was by Five9 SVP Scott Kolman and COMMfusion analyst Blair Pleasant, where they presented and did a deep dive into the Five9 survey “2021 Customer Service Index – Learn how customers have reimagined the customer service experience.” I won’t go too deep here (you should watch the whole session on-demand). Some interesting highlights include:

  1. Five9 surveyed 2048 consumers, with participants from 7 countries, representing ages 19 to early 70’s. They also completed a similar survey in 2020. Side-by-side comparisons of the survey results (by age, by year of survey, and by country) for the different survey questions were quite informative and potentially quite useful for any contact center operation. If that’s what you or your business does, then you should investigate these “Voice of the Customer” results.
  2. Across all demographics, only 25% of respondents felt that their contact center experience got worse (either “much worse” or “slightly worse”) from 2020 to 2021. We might have expected a different result with the pandemic raging. Everyone else (75%) felt that their experience got better, much better, or had no opinion.
  3. Some very surprising results appeared (with significant differences between countries) when people were asked to rate the keys to “Good Service Experience”. Highly rated categories were “Rep gets right answer, even if it takes more time” (33%); “Rep can answer my question quickly’’ (26%); and “Don’t have to wait long to reach rep” (20%).
  4. Similarly, there were some significant differences by country when people were asked to rate the keys to “Bad Service Experience”. Top responses included: “Get passed from one rep to another” (34%); “Have to wait long to reach rep” (26%); and a tie for third place (at 13%) for “Cue/on hold system not helpful” and “Rep cannot answer my question quickly”. (Remember, that despite these seriously bad experiences, only 25% of respondents generally saw a drop in customer service experience in the past year.)
  5. One of the more enlightening survey results appeared when asked, “How likely are you to do business with a company if you have a Poor Service Experience?” The USA responses were significantly different than responses from the other 6 countries in the survey in one category: over 11% of USA respondents were “very likely” to continue doing business, versus 3-6% of non-USA respondents being “very likely”. However, in the “somewhat likely” category, all countries were in the range 10-16%, with the USA respondents close to the midpoint, near 14%. In my opinion (not expressed by the session presenters), a reason for these seemingly incompatible responses is that there are two sentiments being conflated in this one question. On the one hand, you have the bad experience on “this” call. On the other hand, you have perhaps the much worse (time-consuming) future experience of switching providers and dealing with the corresponding onboarding (for whatever service this is about). I might be “somewhat likely” to switch providers after one bad call experience, but I would not be “very likely” to go through the pain of switching providers and all that entails.

There were many interesting and powerful sessions in addition to this one, which I focused on here because it presented lots of survey data, and I love data! Another great session was the presentation by former astronaut (now Professor) Michael Massimino – brilliant and inspiring, with numerous words of wisdom, leadership advice, and life’s lessons learned. Of course, I admit that I was drawn into his NASA space stories, including the Hubble Telescope repair mission that almost went wrong, because I worked with the Hubble Space Telescope project for 10 years and I worked an additional 10 years at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center where many of the telescope’s instruments were tested.

My big takeaway from the Five 9 CX Summit is how cloud, AI, automation, and voice analytics are rapidly driving change in the positive direction for contact center representatives and for customers who call in. Maybe that’s why the customer experience didn’t change much from 2020 to 2021, because a lot of those technologies have already been deployed in the past couple of years, particularly for Five9’s clients.

Chatbots and conversational AI are just part of the story – there’s so much more. Five9’s new cloud-enabled, AI-powered, voice data-driven solutions and services described at the summit are definitely worth exploring and investigating for your contact center: IVA (Intelligent Virtual Agents), VoiceStream, Agent Assist, Studio7, Practical AI, WFO (Work Flow Optimization), Conversation Architect, and UC (unified communications) integration into the contact center VX (Voice Experience) workflow.

Learn more about CX Reimagined and the roles of AI, Automation, Cloud, Voice Analytics, and Omnichannel Customer Engagement in the modern contact center at CX Summit 2021, presented by Five9. (Even if you missed the live event, the sessions are recorded, so you can watch them on-demand at any time you wish.) See for yourself where the Reimagined becomes the Realized in CX. And learn why EX is the new CX.

Note: This article was sponsored. The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the opinions of any other person, company, or entity.

#Five9CXSummit #CXNation

When the Voice of the Customer Actually Talks

For many years, organizations (mostly consumer-facing) have placed the “voice of the customer” (VoC) high on their priority list of top sources for customer intelligence. The goals of such activities are to improve customer service, customer interactions, customer engagement, and customer experience (CX) through just-in-time customer assistance, personalization, and loyalty-building activities. In recent years, even government agencies have increased their attention on Citizen Experience (CX) and Voice of the Citizen (VoC), to inform and guide their citizen services.

CX has become increasingly data-informed and data-driven, with VoC data being one of the key data sources. Other data sources include purchase patterns, online reviews, online shopping behavior analytics, and call center analytics. As good as these data analytics have been, collecting data and then performing pattern-detection and pattern-recognition analytics can be taken so much further now with AI-enabled customer interactions. 

AI is great for pattern recognition, product and service recommendations, anomaly detection, next-best action and next-best decision recommendations, and providing an insights power-boost to all of those. AI can be considered as Accelerated, Actionable, Amplified, Assisted, Augmented, even Awesome Intelligence, both for the customer and for the call center staff.

Consequently, VoC and AI have wonderfully come together in conversational AI applications, including chatbots. Chatbots can be deployed to answer FAQs, to direct calls to the right service representative, to detect customer sentiment, to monitor call center employee performance, to recall and recognize patterns in the customer’s prior history with the business, to confirm customer identity, to identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, to streamline data entry by automatically capturing intricate details of a customer’s preferences, concerns, requests, critical information, and callback expectations, and to detect when it’s time to direct the call to a human agent (the right human agent).

In short, the VoC reaches its peak value when it captures the full depth and breadth of what the customer is talking about and what they are trying to communicate. AI-enabled chatbots are thus bringing great value and effectiveness in consumers’ call center experiences. 

From the call center representative perspective, AI-enabled chatbots are a tremendous efficiency and effectiveness boost for these persons also. Many details of the initial customer interaction can be automatically captured, recorded, indexed, and made searchable even before the call is directed to the representative, increasing the likelihood that it is the right representative for that customer’s specific needs. Not only is the CX amplified, but so is the EX (Employee Experience). Surveys and reports have documented that the strong improvement in call center staff EX is a source of significant value to the entire organization. 

One dimension of this EX amplification that should not be overlooked is when advanced case management is required from a human call center agent. In cases like that, the agent is engaged in their best (most satisfying) capacity as the expert and most knowledgeable source to help the customer, in sharp contrast to other calls where they are engaged in answering the standard FAQs, or in quoting customer account information from a database that a chatbot could easily have retrieved, or in asking the customer to repeat the same information that the customer gave to a previous agent. Everybody wins when all those latter activities are handled swiftly, accurately, and non-redundantly prior to the person-to-person engagement that can then provide the best human touch in the entire caller experience.

Chatbots employ a suite of data-driven technologies, including: machine learning (for pattern detection and recognition, sentiment and emotion detection), natural language processing (covering natural language understanding NLU and natural language generation NLG), voice assistants (for voice search and autonomous action-enablement), cloud computing (to activate actions, services, document creation and document processing), AI (for auto-transcribing conversations, creating real-time action lists, and adding information to appropriate fields automatically), and more.

When the Voice of the Customer talks, the modern AI-powered Call Center listens and responds. 

Learn more about the modern Call Center and CX Reimagined at CX Summit 2021, presented by Five9. The Summit’s 5 tracks and multiple sessions will focus on the transformation of the contact center through the evolution of digital channels, AI, Automation and Analytics. By applying the power of data and the cloud we can reimagine CX and realize results in a rapidly changing marketplace. At the Summit, you can connect and network with contact center professionals, ecosystem partners and peers, you can learn to optimize your Five9 implementation to superpower your contact center, you can hear customer stories and product updates, and you can learn how Five9 can help you deliver a whole new level of customer service. Register here for CX Summit 2021 and see for yourself where the Reimagined becomes the Realized in CX: https://five9cxsummit.com/insix

Learn more about the Summit, some highlights and key takeaways, in my follow-up article “EX is the New CX.”

Note: This article was sponsored. The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the opinions of any other person, company, or entity.

#Five9CXSummit #CXNation