Hi Tracy, tell us about yourself and your background.
I started my career in Finance, working for NatWest in NY and Chicago. I decided to change careers and started working for a software company in my hometown, Pittsburgh. This company introduced me to the power of AI. The software combined 3 different mathematical techniques to come up with a powerful predictive algorithm that was used for predicting response rates to marketing efforts and fraudulent credit card applications. At the time, we referred to it as neural networks, which is now more broadly referenced as AI.
I then moved to England to work for a software start-up in web analytics which introduced me to the digital landscape, and I never looked back. I then joined LogMeIn and worked for the Bold360 business unit. Who knew all those years ago that working with neural nets would one day have me working in digital with chatbots and live chat!
We have recently been acquired by Genesys, and the journey continues to evolve in a very exciting space with the effects seen by the industry.
What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?
I have been in digital for a long time, and it continues to amaze me how corporations view customer experience in the context of their business units. Businesses need to understand that a customer does not lump their experience into discrete sections such as web, mobile, contact center, returns, or brick-and-mortar, but as an overall brand experience. When businesses take a more comprehensive view of customer experience, the results are greater than the sum of their parts, not only for the customer but for the business.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
Our market has seen a widespread transformation over the past few years as a result of Covid-19 and the acceleration of digital transformation. Companies benefited greatly from digital transformation, which accelerated their business efficiency, but it is now time to focus the benefits on the customer experience.
I’m particularly excited to support our Experience as a Service vision – the future of empathetic customer experiences at scale. Enabled by our patented cloud, digital, and AI technologies, Genesys orchestrates the proactive, predictive, and personalized experience for every customer.
In terms of AI and machine learning, the industry is still relatively young in the adoption phase. But what’s different about the customer experience market is there’s so much data. Customers have billions of interactions every day, and there’s a lot of data that companies want to understand and leverage to deliver better consumer experiences. So, at Genesys specifically, we’re seeing applications like predictive engagement (the software predicting the best way to interact with a customer) and predictive routing (which matches the consumer with the right customer service rep, based on who they’ve spoken to before and their profile as a consumer) gaining a lot of traction.
What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?
Companies have come a long way in listening to their customers through feedback mechanisms, but the next phase in improving customer loyalty and retention is breaking down the silos between sales, service, and marketing. Traditionally, companies haven’t been able to do that well because it’s hard to keep track of a consumer as they move between channels. Maybe a customer comes to your store one day, then calls you the next day, and they still don’t have their question answered. A lot of times, brands will have different software systems that don’t integrate with one another, so that context is lost. To improve the experience, it’s really about viewing the customer profile through a single pane so that it’s not disjointed. Experience orchestration technologies allow you to stitch all that together into a single customer journey and then personalize the experience based on the learning from that journey.
What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), or CES (customer effort score)?
Some may view this answer as a cop out, but I personally think this argument has no winner because they are all valuable. The importance is (i) what works within your companies’ culture and what your employees identify with the most and (ii) can you identify ways to improve it, what will have the greatest impact, and (iii) are you doing better than the month before/what is the trend?
How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?
The key is to not be dismissive of social media and have a dedicated team managing it. New channels can skyrocket to popularity and then fizzle out quickly, but you need to understand which channels your customers are actually using or want to use to communicate with you.
For example, a financial services company can certainly monitor Twitter and respond to conversations and questions on the platform, but is that really the best channel to give personalized financial planning advice? Probably not. It’s best to funnel those conversations to the right platform for the customer – in person, over email, or through a phone conversation. But, without monitoring and managing Twitter, that company might not have heard valuable feedback from customers, so it is important to have a CX strategy there.
What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?
I am slightly biased but can honestly say my team, and I have helped so many brands successfully deploy chatbots with amazing CX and financial results over the last few years.
With quick, friendly, and accurate bot support, consumers can easily find answers to common questions on their own. By fielding common requests and providing context for escalated issues, bots can also allow agents to focus on more complex queries. That said, when a conversation needs to be escalated to a live agent, automated chatbots know when to transfer the interaction, along with the full conversational context.
In today’s digital world, customers want their problem solved, and they want it solved now (remind anyone else of Veruca Salt?). A chatbot can do that for a lot of use cases but not everything – so my advice is know your customer, and the rest is straightforward. The
What was the best movie you saw that has come out during this past year?
This may come as no surprise but living with 4 teenagers during COVID who are binge-watching all types of series during every spare moment provides little time for me to squeeze in a movie. However, one movie I can’t wait to watch is Land by Jesse Chatham and Erin Dignam.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
The most useful metric that I have found through a lot of trial and error that had the most impact on moving the dial for NPS, CSAT, etc., is Task Accomplishment.