The Gist

  • Technology's role. Technology plays a crucial part in gathering data and insights for improved customer experiences and loyalty.
  • Common challenges. Organizations face difficulties connecting data across various channels and understanding the customer's journey.
  • AI foundation. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will serve as the foundation for enhancing customer experiences in the future.

CMSWire is holding its upcoming conference, CMSWire Connect, May 10–May 12 this year in Austin, Texas. The conference will host speakers from various domains within customer experience and the digital sphere. CMSWire is running Q&As with featured speakers leading up to the conference.

The world of customer experience is rapidly evolving, and it's important for organizations to stay ahead of the curve to remain competitive. Technology is playing an increasingly significant role in the gathering of data and insights to improve customer experience and loyalty.

As customers become more overwhelmed with surveys, organizations are turning to text analytic and journey analytic platforms to gather data and identify experience trends and themes against unstructured data. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are also being integrated into these programs to predict and positively impact customer experiences in real time.

Sean Albertson, head of client experience measurement and analytics at Charles Schwab, emphasizes the importance of tracking the customer's journey across various channels and integrating AI and ML to predict and improve customer experiences. 

With the importance of customer experience in the digital age, organizations face common challenges when implementing strategies to understand and improve customer experience. Connecting data across various channels, understanding the customer's journey and making things easy for customers are some of the key challenges. The future of enhancing customer experiences lies in artificial intelligence and machine learning, which will be the foundation of improving customer experience. The integration of these technologies will continue to revolutionize the customer experience.

In this article, CMSWire holds a Q&A session with Albertson, who will be leading a master class on customer pain points, "Uncovering Customer Pain Points: Strategies for Enhancing Customer Experience" and is participating in the mainstage panel in "The Future of Enterprise Customer Experiences" at the CMSWire Connect conference. You can also listen to CMSWire's podcast with Albertson, "CX Decoded Podcast: Laser-Focus on CX Metrics for Success," for a head start on some metrics wisdom with Sean.  

Harnessing Technology for Enhanced Customer Insights

CMSWire: In the context of enterprise customer experiences, what role does technology play in gathering data and insights for improving customer experience and loyalty?

Sean Albertson: Technology has always been key in gathering insights around customer experiences using surveys and traditional research programs. However, it is taking an even larger role as we move forward. As customers are overwhelmed with surveys from the companies they work with, response rates are on the decline. Now gathering data and insights using text analytic or journey analytic platforms is a requirement but may not be prevalent enough in a lot of organizations. We can now identify experience trends and themes against the unstructured data of call or chat transcripts, CRM notes and survey comments, blending them together into the most actionable insights.

Tracking the customer’s physical journey across websites, mobile apps and the employee supported channels provides invaluable ways to understand potential failure points in business processes or support models. Adding artificial intelligence or machine learning to the text and journey programs can now allow organizations to predict customer experiences and even positively impact them in real time.

Related Article: How Artificial Intelligence Can Break Through Data Silos

Overcoming CX Challenges in Multichannel Customer Experience

CMSWire: As customer experience becomes increasingly important in the digital age, what are some common challenges organizations face when implementing strategies to understand and improve the customer experience, and how can they overcome them?

Albertson: One of the biggest challenges most organizations have in this new digital age is connecting the data across the various channels the customers use for support. There is more web and mobile data available now but turning it into useful content and connecting it with traditional contact center data is extremely difficult. Channel silos often prevent companies from really understanding the customer activities.

When you add to this the likelihood that during any given interaction, the customer is likely leveraging multiple channels at the same time, it becomes hard to distinguish both the customer preferred channel and the channel in which resolution was actually reached. The focus for organizations today should be on the entire customer’s journey regardless of channel used. This allows organizations to clearly understand both the impact of potential channel switching, but also the struggles within the overall experience that are likely leading to customer churn. At the end of the day, all organizations should be aligned to make things easy for their customers.

Related Article: How Omnichannel Marketing Feeds Into Stronger Customer Experiences

Integrating CX Tools and Aligning with Goals

CMSWire: For organizations that are considering new CX tools and technology, what are the most crucial factors in selecting the right vendors to support their needs?

Albertson: Any organization that is considering expanding their CX analytics program to embrace the broader technology available now, must have a clearly identified PATH to get there. The tools and vendors must align to drive a coordinated approach to finding customer’s biggest struggles. There are several vendors out there that provide solutions spanning from survey to text and journey analytics.

Learning Opportunities

Theoretically, the data and analytic capabilities between the tools are already pre-integrated and ready for omnichannel and cross-functional use. For those, you need to make sure that the vendor has truly finished their integration effort to see that value. If you are looking to select different best-in-class vendors for each of the key technology solutions, then you’ll need to focus on how you will integrate the separate data and analytic streams on the back end. Either way, the benefits of integration and synergy between tools may outweigh other selection factors you might consider.

How Impactful Stories Help Cultural and Alignment Challenges

CMSWire: As enterprise leaders, what do you think are the most significant challenges in scaling customer experience initiatives across large organizations, and how have you overcome them?

Albertson: Culture and alignment can often be a greater challenge for organizations than budget, technology or even staffing. Many organizations struggle to bring the various key parties together to agree on a direction and strategy. Larger organizations can especially struggle here where communication and coordination are harder to implement effectively.

This is where I recommend focusing on a really good story. People and organizations don’t rally around data, statistics or really good project plans. People remember stories. When those stories are interesting and touch something real, people remember, relate and embrace the concepts. Stories can also help organizations create the right kind of culture.

Related Article: Is Your Culture Creating a Great Customer Experience?

AI and ML as the Foundation for Enhanced Customer Experiences

CMSWire: What role do you see artificial intelligence and machine learning playing in the future of enhancing customer experiences, and how are organizations you work with planning to leverage these technologies?

Albertson: As mentioned before, artificial intelligence and machine learning won’t just have a “role” in the future but will be the foundation of enhancing customer experiences. Leveraging AI and ML for research as I described above will provide insights to organizations not possible in prior technologies. This research can predict behaviors, emotions or experiences and then be leveraged to implement solutions in real time.

This technology is already being used to provide personalized services to customers and proactively address potential challenges before they occur. The integration will only become stronger. These impacts aren’t limited to just digital interactions. I see a day where associates working directly with customers are able to focus on the conversations. Their CRM captures the transcript from the call in real time for notes, and from that present relevant articles or workflows for the relevant activity. The customer experience is in the early stages of a new revolution.

Enhancing Customer Experiences 

Sean Albertson will be one of many speakers at the May 10–May 12 CMSWire Connect conference. You can take a peek at his speaking engagements below to learn more:

Want more details on the conference? Click here to visit the CMSWire Connect site.

Check out the full list of CMSWire Connect panel topics, and don't miss the full list of CMSWire Connect speakers.