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Digital Engagement Blog

How to Become More Customer-Centered

The Nooks and Crannies of Customer Engagement

When it comes to delivering truly modern customer engagement across all the nooks and crannies of an enterprise, one thing is clear.

It’s not clear.

With all the innovation and movement in the customer engagement space these days…not to mention the incredible chasm that exists between technology early adopters, the mainstream, and the laggards, what one organization may consider modern, another tried seven months ago…and yet another 18 months ago.

So what is clear?

Three Customer-Centered Actions

Topics: Customer Experience ai Contact Center Insights

Understanding NLU - A Cheat Sheet for Beginners

NLU is a hot topic these days as it it powering many conversational interfaces. 

So I asked our speech experts to help explain NLU.

But first to Breaking Headlines:

  • Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
  • Ban on Nude Dancing on Governor’s Desk
  • Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
  • Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
  • Stolen Painting Found by Tree
  • Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
  • Local HS Dropouts Cut in Half
  • Hospitals Are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

LOL.

These headlines show that language is complex, ambiguous, flexible, and subtle.

A contact center agent can understand the headlines but does a machine/computer/IVR/chatbot have any hope of understanding what is said?

NLU to the rescue!

One technology that can help is NLU.  It can understand the meaning of conversations, dialogs and spoken interactions. 

If it's not already, NLU should be in your customer engagement strategy toolbox.

In this NLU Cheat Sheet, we cover definitions and basics for NLU.

Topics: Customer Experience Performance Optimization voice self-service

Where to Use Conversational Interfaces

Conversational Interfaces

Conversational interfaces where called a break-through technology by MIT Technology Review.

Another article went on to say...

"We think the next era will belong to “the conversational layer” — both text- and voice-driven — that will use chat, messaging, or natural language interfaces to interact with people, brands, services, and bots." 

 

This conversation layer is powered by conversational or dialog agents. A dialog agent can -

  • listen to what you say
  • understand what you want and your intent, and
  • take action
  • respond to you
Topics: Contact Center Insights IVR Customer Experience Intelligent Assistance

SpeechTEK 2017 and the Rise of the Conversational Interface

“New uses of speech technologies are changing the way people interact with companies, devices, and each other. Speech frees users from keyboards and tiny screens and enables valuable, effective interactions in a variety of contexts.”  (SpeechTek)

Technologies and use cases for conversational interfaces are rapidly changing.  To better understand these industry trends I attended SpeechTEK 2017.  Here are a few notes and observations from the field.

Mix of Yin and Yang, Old and New

The conference brought in a mix of old school contact center vendors (Convergys, Aspect, etc) and new tech vendors (Google, Amazon, etc) analysts, consultants and enterprises.   It was interesting to see the collision and friction between the old and the new.

Topics: Customer Experience Industry Insights

Artificial Intelligence Landscape:  Ready to Place Your Bets?

Are you ready to invest in AI technologies to drive contact center performance?

My guess is that you already have.

You might have deployed speech analytics or an IVR using natural language or a Chatbot or fraud prevention.  All these solutions likely use machine learning and artificial intelligence to discover insights and optimize performance.

Good job.

But the AI landscape is buzzing with emerging tech that could have major implications on customer service.  Yes, some technologies will optimize existing processes (like IVR self-service) but others will be disruptive to your current processes (like Chatbots over a messaging app).

You're going to invest (more) in AI technologies for customer service. 

The only questions are when, on what solutions, and how much.

To answer these questions, lets take a broad view of how the AI landscape is developing and look for trends and patterns.

Topics: Customer Experience Industry Insights Intelligent Assistance

3 Things the Self-Driving Car Teaches Us About Intelligent Assistance

Picture this.

You want to go somewhere.

  • Your office.
  • A restaurant to meet some friends.
  • Aunt Alice’s house for pick any holiday.

So, what do you do?

  • You jump in your car.
  • You say where you want to go.
  • You arrive safely, on-time.

This is the promise of self-driving cars.

 

And, it’s about to happen...at least that’s what we’ve been led to believe.

But is it?

Topics: Customer Care Customer Experience Performance Optimization Chatbots

Digital Customer Experience: Lessons from Forrester CXSF 2016

Don't you wish Curly had it right?  You know, the cowboy from City Slickers who said the secret of life is just one thing.  All you have to do is figure out what that one thing is for you, right? 

If Curly were around to help us figure out the secret of digital engagement, it wouldn't be pretty.  He'd have to take off his dusty old cowboy boots to count all the secrets that are important to digital customer experience.   

Today we have more channels, more technologies, more silos of data, and more distractions competing for the digital consumer's ever-decreasing span of attention.  How do you come up with a digital engagement strategy in a world swirling with chatbots, intelligent assistance, and new messaging channels?  

In search of answers, the explorer in me set off on a fascinating journey. 

Topics: Customer Engagement Customer Experience Digital Context

The Surprising (and counter-intuitive) Truth About Customer Service

So in today’s digital world, which is your customers’ preferred way to interact with your company?
Is it…

  • A mobile app?
  • Web self-service?
  • Social media?
  • Email?

Give up?

It’s none of the above.

All generations of consumers prefer interacting with brands via the phone or in-person in a store over any other channel.

Surprised?

We were, too.  But there's a lot more to the story. 

Topics: Customer Engagement Customer Care Customer Experience Digital Context

The Mashup In Your Pocket: Bots, Messaging, and Mobile Apps

We live in the future.

What seemed like science fiction just a few years ago? 

It’s coming.

It’s happening.

It’s REAL.

The thing is, your customers already have the future right in their pockets. You do too. We all do.

Heck…you might even be reading this blog post on it.

It’s on your mobile device. In it, really…and also across the connected universe of devices and networks and servers everywhere.

Though you (and all your customers) may think it is, the device in your pocket is no longer your phone. It is a whole lot more. Especially as both Apple and Google have announced extended use of messaging tools on the device, the device formerly known as your phone is now your virtual assistant.

Why?

Topics: Messaging Apps Customer Engagement Customer Care Customer Experience

You're Not Ready For A Fluid Customer Journey

Industry analysts (Gartner, Forrester, et al) sometimes look over the horizon and alert us to new things we don't yet see.

We recently spoke with several industry analysts who had surprising observations and forecasts that, if true, are creating problems and risks for us right now.

Here are a few highlights about where analysts think customer engagement is headed and why our problem may be about to get worse.

Topics: Digital Context Customer Experience Mobile Engagement