Customer Experience

Machines Could Become Driving Force Behind CX

Customer experience improvements have become an important part of companies’ digital transformations, according to survey results Mitel released Tuesday.

More than 2,500 senior IT decision makers across North America, the UK, France, Germany and Australia responded to the survey, conducted in August by Opinion Research for Mitel. The participants represented businesses ranging from 250 to 10,000-plus employees in a wide range of industries.

Among the researchers’ findings:

  • Overall, 95 percent of the respondents saw customer experience (CX) improvements as an important part of digital transformation;
  • 59 percent had completed half or more of their expected CX improvements;
  • 90 percent planned to tie machines to their communications and collaboration tools;
  • 85 percent believed machine-to-people interactions would result in positive transformations in the customer experience;
  • 75 percent planned to implement machine-based interactions with customers within the next two years;
  • 75 percent saw automated event-triggered calls from customer devices as a valuable service;
  • 73 percent believed machine-enhanced routines were valuable to their organization;
  • 57 percent of retail respondents believed better CX would lead to higher customer satisfaction; and
  • 56 percent of retail respondents believed better CX would lead to higher customer loyalty and lower customer churn.

Generation Z

Customers, particularly millennials, readily have embraced digital technology in their day-to-day lives, the report suggests.

Multichannel and machine-enhanced processes that tie together voice, video, movie and online channels to deliver a seamless and highly personalized experience help determine good CX, based on the survey results.

However, businesses need to look beyond millennials to Gen Z — the generation whose oldest members turn 21 this year — suggests a study of United States consumers by WP Engine.

Gen Z members, who will constitute 40 percent of all consumers by 2020, soon will drive every major consumer trend, the WP Engine researchers found.

Biometrics, predictive technologies, voice and gestures will replace typing on a singular device, they concluded.

“The only way to get these types of real-time personalized — and then, ultimately, predictive — experiences is with the assistance of machines,” said WP Engine CMO MaryEllen Dugan.

Companies might need to look further beyond AI and omnichannel communications.

“We’re headed to completely unified experiences across both online and off,” Dugan told CRM Buyer.

A consumer’s in-store preferences will need to be incorporated online and vice versa, she said, and “this will likely mean the adoption of AR and VR.”

Emerging Tech

Larger e-commerce companies have the funds — and to some extent, the skilled manpower — needed to incorporate artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality, virtual reality and other newer technologies into their systems, and “they’ll do this for mass personalization,” noted Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

While e-commerce small and mid-sized businesses face manpower and budgetary constraints, they too will be able to tap newer technologies, he told CRM Buyer.

The rise of AI networks is coming, and the market will total US$100 billion by 2025, Wang has predicted.

These AI networks will be offered by a limited number of large players, including Alibaba, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, he said, and e-commerce SMBs will be able to tap into them.

“This is already here with lead matching,” Wang pointed out.

“For the first time, SMB companies have the ability to leverage the martech stack and cloud software to provide the same seamless type of experience that large companies do,” observed WP Engine’s Dugan.

“Given that their website is essentially their face to the world, they need to use all the technology available to take advantage of the cloud, AI and e-commerce technology,” she said.

That includes “spinning up microsites faster, tracking their audience,’ and adapting quickly to new trends, Dugan said.

Using an open source CMS is one way SMBs can keep down costs, she added, while “providing incredible ROI and competing with larger companies.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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