Customer Experience and Emerging Technologies: My CXChat Summary on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and the Customer

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Below is a list of topics, answers and articles in support of a recent Tweet Chat in which I was the guest. The chat (#CXChat) was on customer experience and emerging technologies.

I was invited as a guest in a weekly tweet chat that is hosted by Annette Franz and Sue Duris. This week’s CXChat was about customer experience and emerging technologies. If you have never been involved in a tweet chat, I recommend it. Not only do you get to share your knowledge and insights to a crowd of interested professionals, you also get to learn from those professionals. I have included the topics of discussion, some of my answers and a list of articles in support of the week’s topic. Enjoy!

1. State of Emerging technologies:

While there are plenty of stories about emerging technologies, it appears that companies are lagging behind. Research by Adobe shows that less than 1 in 10 businesses globally (9%) have a ‘highly integrated, cloud-based technology stack.’ Also, research shows that CX is a priority but technology adoption lags. For those of you who are interested, here is Gartner’s latest (2018) hype cycle on emerging technologies.

2. Roadblocks for executives that prevent them from moving forward on their digital transformation initiatives:

Roadblocks include poor culture, lack of skills, lack of funding, and, maybe, most importantly, no clear problem statement for why they are wanting/needing digital transformation. According to Gartner, companies need to adopt these practices: build culture of collaboration and experimentation; start with a 3-way partnership among executives leading digital initiative, line of business and IT. Also, avoid digital hype; first, you need to develop the people, skills and competencies in conjunction with the IT organization. They need to blend people, processes and technology; there is an increased need for people who are creative, manage continuous change and have skills associated with the technology itself (e.g., IoT Artificial Intelligence. Remember that digital transformation is about transforming your business and operating models with technology. Start with understanding your problem first and what you want to solve.

3. How digital transformation and CX transformation play off each other:

First, I think of CX Transformation as a subset of Digital Transformation; CX pros have access to lots of data, including social media, CRM systems, customer feedback, etc. To be successful at CX, you need to be successful in Digital Transformation. Both endeavors revolve around data. Digital transformation efforts result in lots of data; as a consequence, CX is now being digitized, with a need to extract insights from the data. I conducted a customer experience best practices study and found that loyalty leading companies focus analytics efforts on customer understanding rather than internal metrics. Also, loyalty leaders infuse analytics into CX programs, including machine learning, data science and data integration.

4. How employees can drive transformation and emerging technology adoption:

Both are data-heavy endeavors; We know that statistics/math knowledge is related to data science project success. So, become data literate. Learn the basics of analytics; take a course in data science; this type of knowledge will help you understand the value of data and how AI/Machine Learning works.

5. Winning Emerging Technologies in 2019:

Generally speaking, the winners are all about artificial intelligence, machine learning and the general use of data to help people make better decisions and to feed algorithms for automation. According to BI Intelligence, about 80% of businesses will use chatbots — which are applications that engage in interactive conversation using natural voice or text – by 2020. Juniper Research also forecasts that chat bots will save businesses about $8 billion annually by 2022. Here is an article about chatbots and CX (5 Powerful Ways Chatbots can Transform Your Customer Experience). For example, Sonic Drive-in will deploy AI voice assistants to some of their locations to provide a conversational ordering.

6. Emerging technologies that are more hype than action right now:

There is a lot of hype around AI, for sure, but action would lead to success if companies simply focus on solving a particular problem rather than just adopting technology for technology’s sake. So, the problem is less about hype and more about not understanding your business problem first. On a related note, this finding surprised me: Gartner’s hype cycle says that Customer Journey analytics won’t reach the “plateau of productivity” until over 10 years. I recently joined Indigo Slate to lead their research and analytics. The reason I joined the company is that they are developing a CX platform, Ruptive.  This web-based platform helps companies understand their customers along the customer journey, let’s CX pros collaborate from around the world, administers surveys and generates resulting reports with accompanying dashboards, and a lot more. Also, the people at Indigo Slate are great. As I like to say, “I came for the platform. I stayed for the people.”

7. Companies that are hitting it out of the park with their digital transformation and emerging technologies:

eBay is a great example of companies who are excelling at emerging technologies. They uses artificial intelligence in personalization, search, insights, discovery and recommendations, using computer vision, translation, natural language processing and more. Their approach to AI is to “improve the customer experience, build and deploy the right infrastructure for the unique needs of eBay, apply core AI and domain AI science to all that we do, and ensure everything is done in service of the customer experience.” And let us not forget about Starbucks with with voice ordering on their My Barista app: See a demonstration here.

8. Favorite resources on digital transformation, CX transformation and emerging technologies:

Some of my favorites people and brands include: KD Nuggets, Customer Think, MIT Technology Review, Ronald VanLoon, Kirk Borne, and James Kobielus. I turn to social media a lot to find content on digital transformations and rely on lists like this one. Also, here is an article about 10 digital transformation influencers that will change your world. Finally, according to a study of data professionals, here are their favorite resources for data science, machine learning and AI.

Complete Bibliography:

Four ways to connect the customer journey with AI: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/04/19/four-ways-to-connect-the-customer-journey-with-ai/#64439f52b151

AI Adoption is Key to Improving the Customer Experience: https://www.zdnet.com/article/ai-adoption-is-key-to-improving-the-customer-experience/

AI and Marketing (slide): https://www.aisoma.de/10-useful-ai-ml-slides/

Why chatbots should be the weapon to elevate customer experience: https://www.cioreview.com/news/why-chatbot-should-be-the-weapon-to-elevate-customer-experience-nid-28827-cid-175.html

How to Start Using AI to Improve Customer Experience: https://www.cmswire.com/customer-experience/how-to-start-using-ai-to-improve-customer-experience/

5 Powerful Ways Chatbots can Transform Your Customer Experience: https://www.analyticsinsight.net/5-powerful-ways-chatbots-can-transform-your-customer-experience/

Using Customer Journey Orchestration and AI to Optimize Customer Experience: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2019/04/24/using-customer-journey-orchestration-and-ai-to-optimize-customer-experience/#11f3f5e93e4a

LogMeIn’s Forrester Survey Reports AI Widens Gap Between Customer Experience and Marketing Teams: https://www.martechadvisor.com/news/customer-experience-2/logmeins-forrester-survey-reports-ai-widens-gap-between-customer-experience-and-marketing-teams/

The Amazing Ways Ebay is Using Artificial Intelligence to Boost Business Success: https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/04/26/the-amazing-ways-ebay-is-using-artificial-intelligence-to-boost-business-success/#5ee9754f2c2e

Operations and CX are Top Benefits of AI in Retail Industry: https://www.consultancy.uk/news/21330/operations-and-cx-are-top-benefits-of-ai-in-retail-industry

How to Make the Most of the Customer Journey Using AI: https://www.financemagnates.com/thought-leadership/how-to-make-the-most-of-the-customer-journey-using-ai/

eBay’s Platform is Powered by AI and Fueled by Customer Input: https://www.ebayinc.com/stories/news/ebays-platform-is-powered-by-ai-and-fueled-by-customer-input/

CX Trends to Watch: From AI to Customer Journeys: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/04/24/cx-trends-to-watch-from-ai-to-customer-journeys/#3426d1567b4a

What you Need to Know about Chatbots: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomtaulli/2019/04/21/what-you-need-to-know-about-chatbots/#5009bfe24844

Power Up Your Marketing Efforts with AI: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/04/26/power-up-your-marketing-efforts-with-ai/#63a5527c4527

Top 10 #digitaltransformation influencers that will change your world https://www.em360tech.com/tech-news/top-ten/top-10-digital-transformation-influencers-digitally-transforming-world/

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