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Customer Journey Mapping Is Not Enough

Brian Cantor

Time and time again, the customer contact community experiences the distinction between talk and walk.

Some brands claim to be customer-centric but cripple their experiences with business-centric policies and cost-centric metrics. Others claim to believe in omnichannel engagement but still require customers to call for serious matters. Many that claim to see their customers as “people rather than numbers” cannot even recognize those customers when they transfer between channels during the same interaction, let alone when they call back two years down the road.

One of the most recent examples concerns the idea of customer journeys. Opponents of a “transactional” approach to the customer experience, most organizations acknowledge that interactions are part of an ongoing journey. More than 60% are actively working to “map” these customer journeys.

Unfortunately, far fewer are taking action based on this vision. They may be chronicling customer journeys, but they are not orchestrating them. They are not actively working to anticipate customer needs, predict customer behavior or proactively improve the customer experience. They ultimately still treat the customer experience as a set of disparate transactions.

But while the hollow commitment to the journey may represent today’s reality, it is most certainly not an inevitability. Businesses can begin to take action. They can begin to orchestrate journeys to reduce customer effort, improve customer relationships and capitalize on pivotal “moments of truth.”

A firm believer in that more customer-centric, more action-oriented reality, Genesys is making journey orchestration a core part of its value proposition. To strengthen its capability on that front, the solution provider acquired Altocloud earlier this year.

Driven by artificial intelligence, the Altocloud solution uses predictive analytics to anticipate customer needs – and adjust the experience accordingly.

Within the contact center environment, one particularly valuable application involves predictive routing.

“[The solution will] not only predict when a customer needs help but route it to the agent who’s most likely to [successfully connect] with that customer,” explains Peter Graf, Chief Product Officer of Genesys. “[It sends the work] to the agent who has the highest likelihood of succeeding to drive a high Net Promoter Score, first contact resolution, or what have you.”

The key to the solution is leveraging the customer journey as an opportunity to learn about the customer. Who is the customer? How do they prefer to engage? And, most importantly, what is their “intent” behind the interaction?

That emphasis on intent opens the door to numerous sales and marketing use cases, which expands Genesys’ footprint beyond the realm of the customer service center.

By predicting customer behavior, Altocloud offers what Graf describes as “dramatic results given that you’re engaging with the right people at the right time.”

“That reduces your cost and increases your leads.”

One brand uses the solution to understand when agents should proactively engage with customers who are viewing the website. The company is enjoying a 70% reduction in cost per chat, 60% savings in cost per lead and 40% more leads.

By spotting opportunities to address pain points during the shopping process, a B2C organization is meanwhile enjoying a 30% reduction in cart abandonments.

Quite simply, when the organization understands what the customer really wants – and what stands in the way of that objective – it can intelligently engage with the customer. That intelligent engagement is a low-cost, high-conversion way to generate sales.

The impact is not, however, limited to the sales and marketing fronts. By determining why customers are engaging, the technology empowers organizations to optimize any phase of the customer journey – in any contact channel.

“If you bring data together, you can serve your customers much better,” explains Graf. “And that’s really what this is. It’s learning to optimize the journey that has been created for consumers and drive them toward specific outcomes.”

To empower that orchestration, Genesys’ solution does not simply connect customers to agents at key moments of truth. It also provides agents with the context they need to make immediate – and resonant – connections with customers.

If the solution alerts an agent to a chat, as an example, “you have the context attached to the chat request so you can quickly find out why the chat has been launched.”

“It could be because the customer was very close to getting something completed, and then they fell back,” details Graf. “[As an example], the chat would say the customer was 85% done filling out a form about a new life insurance and then abandoned the form. The question that the agent then asks is ‘how can I help you in any way completing the form?’”

Graf believes this ability to quickly tailor the journey represents a gamechanger for the customer experience.

“We [historically] had no real way to use this information in real time to shape the journey,” says Graf. “We might have looked at it retroactively with click maps and heat maps to see where people go and if they click on the right buttons. We would be able to count the milestones we have reached, like how many people filled out this form.

“But we were never able to look real-time into the journey and intervene if we felt it would provide value.”

In essence, Genesys is empowering organizations to turn customer-centric ideologies into customer experience realities. It allows them to turn “buzz words” like artificial intelligence, journey mapping and customer intent into a blueprint for creating better customer experiences and more lucrative customer relationships.

The Altocloud acquisition is only one step in the journey to help organizations become more intelligent, personalized, predictive and proactive when engaging with customers.

“We’re going to use AI to create more convenience, become more focused in our conversations, to help our customers more effectively and more quickly,” says Graf regarding the future of the customer contact community. “Also, we will be able to give customers more interesting offers or opportunities to buy or use a service.”

Not simply a way to improve the frontend experience, AI-driven journey mapping can also improve internal processes.

“The promise of AI is to go and look at everything we have coded in our system,” adds Graf. “Every rule that we have defined, every heuristic that is at play is going to be challenged by an AI algorithm.”

Genesys, which recently chaired Customer Contact Week in Las Vegas, will be contributing to CCW Digital’s Executive Report on the Customer Experience, set for publication in late August.

For more on Altocloud, click here. You can learn about Genesys’ predictive routing capabilities here.