2020 Predictions

01/13/2020

New year, new opportunities!

To celebrate the start of 2020, CCW Digital asked leading brand executives, innovative technology providers, expert analysts and best-selling authors to share their predictions and recommendations for the new year.

 

Demand more from AI, but don’t become overly reliant

AI remains top-of-mind for industry experts, with standouts like Shep Hyken, Nadia Chaity, Brad Nichols and Matt Wujciak discussing its importance. The key, however, will be to think beyond the obvious use cases (chatbots, basic task automation, etc) and identify the more productive ways to automate the customer experience. How, for example, can automation augment agents during live interactions?

But in pursuing AI, it is important not to go too far. AI can (and should) play an important role in the experience, but it is still best used as a complement, rather than a substitute, for live agents.

“[AI] is an enabler to transact on the easy things that do not require particular effort from a human and guide the customer to the right expert whenever something is more complex and requires a special touch that only a customer support agent can provide,” says Gabriel “G” Masili.

Mindful that agents will not only remain important but take on a bigger role, Jennifer Hanson advocates for an increased focus on employee satisfaction and retention.

 

Unify your channels -- and everything else

Although it is not a new topic, omnichannel remains an elusive one for the customer contact community. As a reminder, it should come as no surprise that experts like Jeanne Bliss, Sandy Ko and Cheryl China are emphasizing the importance of elevating and/or unifying touch points.

The focus on unity and consistency is not, however, limited to channels. The expert panel also stresses the importance of uniting the entire operation, ensuring that all stakeholders -- even those not in traditional “customer” roles -- are contributing to a great, customer-centric experience.

As organizations embrace design thinking, the importance of achieving systemic alignment and buy-in has never been more important.

 

Increase efficiency the right way

“Cost-cutting” often conjures up a negative image, but that does not have to be the case. “Bad” experiences are often the product of costly inefficiencies. By addressing them, we help the bottom line and CSAT scores.

Various experts discuss the importance of reducing effort for customers and agents, which should lead to shorter (yet more productive) interactions. They also identify technology that can help scale customer centricity, to bring great experiences to customers on their preferred terms.

Examples include machine-based translation and self-service. If designed with the customer in mind, these options allow organizations to serve more customers, in more media, at a drastically lower cost.