Forrester CXNYC 2017 Review
With so many businesses focusing on customer experience, it’s become more difficult than ever to use it to differentiate a brand in the marketplace. In an environment of constantly rising customer expectations, companies are challenged to create programs that not only improve service but drive revenue and growth.
Taking CX to the next level requires more than simply fulfilling or even exceeding customer wishes: it means elevating CX strategies and implementing the right tools to move forward to a higher plain. But it also means breaking away from the mindset that all customers are created equal and using segmentation to determine who are the clients with the most future value, determining which from this cohort will respond most positively to exceptional CX and then identifying the people whose loyalty can best help a business grow.
Forrester’s CXNYC Forum, June 20-21 at the New York Hilton, explored the concepts behind achieving breakaway CX. Industry leaders heard about documented research in such areas as, customer journey mapping, accelerating digital transformation, predictive and text analytics, strategic deployment of AI and chatbots as well as the need to making a commitment to CX that goes beyond the use of technology.
As always, presenters included high-level Forrester analysts and industry-leading speakers from top b-to-b and b-to-c companies from a variety of business sectors. Speakers discussed strategic innovations and customer initiatives now in progress at Verizon, KPMG, Wayfair, Foot Locker, Mass Mutual, Sleep Number and others. There were “Deep Dive” sessions as well as several invitation-only seminars. In an interesting touch, there were a series of creative murals depicting issues of interest in the lobby of the conference area.
CRMXchange spoke with sponsors in exhibit hall to learn more about emerging solutions, new partnerships, recently releases and product upgrades.
Acquia was founded by the organization behind Drupal. Acquia Lift unifies content and customer data in a single solution to deliver real-time personalization across any device, giving businesses the capacity to “make unknown users known.” As the only personalization solution built for Drupal, Lift gathers information on each web visit that a customer might make and can syndicate content from any source to create contextualized experiences across a variety of channels.
Companies that deploy Lift have the advantage of beginning the personalization process with data collection that allows them to better understand customer behaviors and implicit interests This in turn enables businesses to deliver content in context throughout the buyer’s entire journey. Offering consistently relevant content has been proven to increase clicks, signups and downloads and having the ability to craft personalized offers improves purchase rates and values. The scalable cloud-based solution offers drag-and-drop content and personalization rules onto pages with an intuitive UI.
BloomReach started as a Search Engine Optimization solution, but has evolved into an open intelligent digital experience platform that drives personalization by understanding user preferences. For example, if a customer goes online seeking a black dress shirt on a retail site, the solution’s rule-based algorithms will show only the desired item, as opposed to older systems which might also display black t-shirts, polo shirts and pullovers which he or she would need to sort through before finding what they wanted. BloomReach Search returns the most relevant products to specific users, ranked according to performance and the visitor's’ personal behavior. Its continuously learning technology ensures users automatically receive the most relevant results, while also giving businesses control to manually adjust product rankings to respond to known trends, events, or upcoming promotions. BloomReach offers Insights which pinpoint the issues that are stopping customers from converting on a website, and provides immediate advice on how to fix them, giving businesses access to a holistic view of the customer journey.
Customers First Now (CFN) is focused on helping drive companies to take positive action toward improving CX Strategy. They provide an end-to-end Customer Delight (CX) solution which begins by working with clients to define their CX vision, goals, and outcomes, working to identify and create a CX Governance team, and building a multiyear CX Roadmap, as well as implementing appropriate programs such as VOC, Surveys, and Journey Mapping.
“Too many companies become what we call ‘lost in the journey’,” said CEO and President Kerri Nelson. “It’s not worthwhile to do journey mapping without it resulting in taking the right actions.” CFN Insight makes it more meaningful by providing a scoreboard built in to the software that assigns “owners” to customer touchpoints to drive accountability, action, and change which means the customer touchpoints and overall experience are constantly being optimized.
The solution provides a plethora of visualizations, map views, charts, scorecards, and reports, to provide teams with a higher level of customer intelligence to make smarter and faster decisions. By using the Journey Map as a framework for documenting customer experience data, as well as colleague collaboration, and corporate goals, companies make it a critical business system for managing culture change. Nelson brings the perspective of having been a b-to-b customer, with a background in administering CX programs for Dun & Bradstreet as well as being instrumental in the growth of IHS from a $500 million company to a $1.8 billion dynamo.
LiquidHub is helping companies to reimagine customer engagement. They enable their clients to build customized experiences without having to abandon existing systems. “Customer service failures can go viral, impacting the perceptions and buying decisions of millions of people around the world,” said Suzanne Lentz, Partner and VP of Marketing for LiquidHub. “They reflect today’s digital age where on demand, online everywhere customers expect highly personalized, valuable experiences at every touchpoint— and are vocal when their expectations are not met.” Lentz believes that a successful engagement strategy needs to take three elements into account: business, design, and technology. This requires an interdisciplinary alignment of three groups IT, marketing and line-of-business leadership, although Lentz acknowledged that the latter often takes the lead role. They help clients facilitate the type of cross-department communication and collaboration to move forward.
Their LiquidService solution provides a suite of tools and services to help businesses deliver higher-level service and a consistent brand experience. Each touch point and interaction is an opportunity to enhance perception and improve loyalty. The company offers its customers highly personalized and interactive self-service functionality. LiquidHub prides itself on being technology-agnostic and does qualitative research to help businesses decide between which technology platform may work for them versus what technology they already have in place. “Sometimes, innovative ideas might work better with legacy systems,” said Lentz. Their LiquidService solution provides a suite of tools and services to help businesses deliver higher-level service and a consistent brand experience. Each touch point and interaction is an opportunity to enhance perception and improve loyalty. The company offers its customers highly personalized and interactive self-service functionality. LiquidHub prides itself on being technology-agnostic and does qualitative research to help businesses decide between which technology platform may work for them versus what technology they already have in place. “Sometimes, innovative ideas might work better with legacy systems,” said Lentz. Liquid Hub works with midsize companies and is strong in verticals such as financial services, insurance and healthcare.
Luminoso is a growing artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language understanding (NLU) specialist that enables businesses to rapidly uncover value in unstructured data. They apply this expertise to help automate contact center processes and detect customers’ underlying intent. “While 63% of customers say that initial contact resolution is the most important element of a positive contact center experience, half of customers still need to speak with multiple reps to have their issues resolved and there was a 6% decrease in FCR as recently as 2015,” said Denise Christie, Marketing Communications Manager for Luminoso, “It can take as long as six months to set up a system which uses a keyword-or ontology-based approach to understand, classify and label contact center interactions, and it requires active, high-maintenance upkeep. and 30% - 60% of manually tagged interactions are incorrectly labeled due to overlapping or missing labels. Our solution can accurately create a new set of labels or optimize an existing set within hours.”
By using AI and NLU to understand classify, and properly tag tickets, live agent and chatbot transcripts, emails and more in real-time, Luminoso enables companies to identify key concepts and underlying intent in any text-based interaction. This in turn gives companies the capability to deliver the correct answers to customer questions without the need for advance configuration or special training. The solution is also multi-lingual. “Most NLU systems are only in English,” said Christie. “Luminoso can provide native data analysis in 13 languages spoken by nearly 3 billion people, accounting for over 44% of the world’s population.” The software is flexible and can be deployed as either a standalone cloud or on-premise solution or integrated into an end-to-end platform via an API, with in-house developers available to lend assistance in putting an API together.
NGData powers personalized customer experiences through Lily, its next-gen customer data platform. “If you know your customers better, you could develop a more relevant experience for them, said Molly Galetto, VP of Marketing for NG Data. “Lily gathers all information about an individual to create Customer DNA. This represents the complete customer understanding including contextual and behavioral aspects for each individual customer. Attributes which make up a Customer’s DNA are scored, calculated and updated using real-time analytics and machine learning. It integrates data across all channels, generates insights and helps businesses make better decisions.”
The solution considers over a thousand metrics, including web data, contact center info, car loan simulations and other relevant information experiences. It integrates quickly into enterprise architecture. “Website experiences trigger relevant conversations with customers on inbound calls by putting information in the hands of representatives,” said Galetto. “You can either talk CX or authenticate CX. Lily harnesses information to create a fully connected experience.”
SAS is a worldwide analytics supplier operating in 48 nations that takes in $3.2 billion in annual revenue. It provides a unified, open analytics platform which they view as having unparalleled breadth and depth to help businesses engage with customers when it matters most. Their solution helps businesses generate smart marketing strategies powered by predictive analytics and machine learning. Companies can use it to identify, track, serve and retain customers even when on multiple devices. In addition, they can gain insights from data, understand customer preferences and drive ROI. “We don’t predefine the customer journey,” said Rene van der Laan, Director Global Practice -Customer Intelligence for SAS Institute. “By developing AI and machine learning in our platform, we provide guidance.”
SAS also believes that in many cases today the customer experience is not meeting customer expectations. “In too many situations, there are still silos across different touch points,” said van der Laan. “We give companies the information they need to ensure the consistency of the conversation on all the channels that customers choose as most appropriate for their needs.” SAS Customer Intelligence 360 combines customer level digital data with traditional data sources to give companies a 360-degree customer view, enabling them to engage contextually with customer across inbound and outbound channels.
Tandemseven recently announced the patent of its UX360 customer experience platform which they believe takes journey mapping to new levels of sophistication. They call themselves as “experience innovation company” which helps businesses create differentiated experiences for their customers. David Clark, VP and Design Director of Tandemseven demonstrated the exceptional flexibility of UX360, which enables companies to create journey maps for individual customers.
The solution includes a wide selection of templates that allow businesses to rapidly and easily create customizable journey maps that use prepopulated data. UX360 can be integrated with voice of the customer and other CX platforms to help companies leverage customer experience data more quickly, incorporating interviews, surveys and VoC data. “We make it simple for people within an organization -working individually or in tandem- to keep maps up to date and respond quickly to changes to make each map a living artifact,” said Clark. “UX360 creates a single source of truth about customers that can be used throughout an entire organization to ensure that marketing, sales and service teams are operating off a common understanding.”
Usabilla offers a voice of the customer platform that enables businesses to collect user feedback across all digital channels. It is a “new guard” visually based solution that is smarter and more intuitive without being as intrusive as old guard systems which often sent surveys that were too lengthy and complex to just about every user.
With Usabilla, companies can target customers and allow users to select the section of a website about which they wish to provide feedback. Custom feedback buttons can be placed on the site to allow users to provide input anytime and anywhere. For example, companies can ask people who leave a site or abandon a shopping cart why they are taking this action. Businesses can also choose to survey customers after they have made purchases as opposed to interrupting them before they make a decision. Usabilla also has a strong focus on surveying people who use apps, providing native in-app feedback with no distractions. Users can tell businesses how they perceive their app, take screenshots, report bugs and share their opinion all from within a specific app without being redirected.