A new era of CX is here: are you thinking big enough?

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Customer experience is currently undergoing a massive phase of transformation. Just a quick scan through your favorite news site will bring up stories of brands across all verticals grappling with how to transform their businesses through AI and automation — without inadvertently angering or frustrating their customers.

Of course, the AI era is just the latest in a series of digital transformations that began with the rise of the internet, and we will no doubt see new technologies come to teach us new lessons. But what can we learn from the last few milestones of technological advancement in CX — and what do we do next?

Let’s start with the internet. Brands with websites in the early days used them first as an information storage service: “Here’s a list of my products, my hours, how you can contact us, etc.” The first big CX transformation was when brands started using their sites to communicate directly with customers. This was focused on self-service: “Here’s a list of FAQs that will address how you can return a product, or troubleshoot, or make an exchange, etc.”

Then, as communications technology evolved, the way brands interacted with customers also changed. Email and messaging marketing took off, maturing into the messaging/chat revolution. This was the age of chat windows saying “How can I help you today?” and “I noticed you left this product in your cart. Act now with this coupon before we’re out of stock!”

Today, leading brands are the ones that have taken the best parts of these earlier transformation phases and found ways to improve, or even reinvent them, through AI and automation. They understand that this new era of CX is all about leveraging AI for better ROI. While there have been some growing pains (like with any new technology), the fact is that using AI to engage with customers leads to better results like increased customer satisfaction and up to 50% reductions in both agent attrition and time spent per interaction.

However, while some brands have already started down the path of AI transformation, many business leaders who understand that they have to capitalize on this transformation simply don’t know where to start. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of noise in the market right now that’s hindering their decision-making. Many “AI” vendors are making a lot of noise — and preying on the general fear and uncertainty around artificial intelligence, as well as our all-too-human instinct to make quick and cheap decisions.

As someone who has led teams at household name brands through digital transformation to bring new kinds of customer experiences to life, I’m excited to use this space to debate and discuss the lessons I’ve learned over my career — as well as the questions I’m grappling with today. We need to keep sharing what’s working if we hope to get the most ROI out of AI, and we need to remember that the people yelling the loudest are usually not the people who are getting it right.

Taking that step back, and reorienting ourselves to our mission as CX leaders, is the first step. If I could snap my fingers and make one thing about the intersection of AI and CX come true, it would be to make us all think bigger than our immediate goals. We’d be having more discussion about seamless digital customer experiences that yield long-term results, not using AI for short-term cost reduction and scale for the sake of scale.

Right now, too many CX leaders are betting on features and functionality that are going to be behind-the-times in just five to ten years. They’re willing to take a substandard product today at a cheaper price point — a decision that will cost much more in the long run when customers get turned off by poor experiences.

The thing is, this is not a phenomenon unique to the new age of AI. Many of us made the same mistakes back when the internet first arrived (it was called the “dotcom bust” for a reason!), and then again when email, live chat, and then messaging all appeared on the scene and changed how the world experiences customer care and digital engagement.

As you think about your vision and your goals as a CX leader, it’s time to apply the lessons of those previous eras of transformation to the one we find ourselves in the middle of today. Don’t let short-term decision-making obscure your long-term goals. Don’t let fear drive your transformation. And don’t get caught up in the hype and noise from the same kinds of snake oil salesmen that damaged so many brands’ CX strategies in the past. Do think bigger, and make the kinds of decisions that ensure your brand’s long-term health.

Nirali Amin
Nirali Amin is Senior Vice President, Global Solutions & Success, at LivePerson, the enterprise leader in digital customer conversations. She leads a team passionate about helping customers achieve their goals using conversational and generative AI, and has more than 20 years of experience in digital and AI domains working across verticals including financial services, retail, telecom, travel, automotive, and SaaS.

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