It’s that time of the year again when CX executives across the world evaluate their activities throughout 2018 to find out what worked and what didn’t. Many CX leaders also try to keep up with the evolving trends and best practices to keep up with (and lead) the competition. Year after year, one of the most common mistakes made is following the hype rather than the best practices that deliver actual results. The CX space has no shortage of self-claimed experts who make and share predictions that are informed by reading a few articles or hearing that a well-known brand is planning to use a new technology and recommend that all companies follow suit.

What distinguishes the Best-in-Class CX leaders from their poor performing counterparts is their ability to eliminate such ‘noise’ in the market. These savvy leaders spend more time learning the activities and technologies that help their peers improve their performance and less time consuming bad advice. My research at Aberdeen is focused on helping CX leaders do exactly that — track and measure the adoption of various CX activities and technology tools, as well as observing the performance impact companies enjoy by using them. In Aberdeen’s most recent CX survey, we asked participating firms to share the current and planned adoption of various technologies. We then analyzed the results and determined the top 10 technologies CX leaders plan to incorporate in their technology toolbox in 2019. These technologies are illustrated in the below figure.

Figure 1: Top 10 Technologies CX Leaders Plan to Adopt in 2019

Each of the technologies in Figure 1 help CX leaders with certain activities. Let’s now take a closer look into adoption rates and use cases of the first three technologies:

Artificial Intelligence: It shouldn’t come as a surprise to most CX leaders that AI ranked as the number one technology businesses plan to adopt. Most conversations with end-users and solution providers since late 2016 include AI — largely because many companies are in the earlier stages of understanding this technology; what it can do, its limitations, business impact, etc. To this point, Aberdeen surveyed 445 customer service leaders for the November 2018 AI in the Contact Center: Service Leaders Across the Fortune 1000 Are Paying Attention study. Participants were asked to share the primary use cases for which they use AI.

Aberdeen juxtaposed the self-reported performance results between companies using AI capabilities and those that don’t. The findings — reflected in Figure 2 — show that firms using AI enjoy 2.5 times greater annual customer satisfaction rates (9.7% vs. 3.9%) and drive 2.4 times greater year-over-year increase in annual revenue (9.2% vs. 3.8%).

Figure 2: Companies Using AI Maximize Customer Satisfaction Rates

Looking at the performance gap between users and non-users of AI, it figures that CX leaders cite AI as the number one technology capability they seek to incorporate in their 2019 toolbox. If you currently use AI capabilities or plan to use them, carefully examine the use cases for which this technology can be deployed in your business. Some firms use AI for optimizing routing activities in the contact center while some use it to better tailor marketing campaigns. Determining your needs and challenges and identifying if and how AI can help address them will ultimately help you maximize returns from investing in this technology.

Real-time decision assist and guidance: These tools are a sub-set of AI capabilities. They help CX leaders automatically monitor activities such as designing a marketing campaign, and use insights captured through machine learning to prescribe / recommend marketers the content that’s most likely to accomplish desired results (e.g., drive purchase activity) with a specific target segment.

Yet another use case for these tools is monitoring customer and agent conversations in a contact center. By using tools such as desktop analytics and speech analytics, the contact center can determine the context of an interaction. Real-time decision assist and guidance capabilities would then find the knowledgebase article that is most likely to align with the customer issue and recommend agents to use that article through the agent desktop. Overall, this capability helps companies maximize employee productivity, hence why it’s listed as the second top-technology for planned adoption in 2019.

Social collaboration and engagement tools: These tools refer to technologies that help companies facilitate communication and collaboration amongst employees. While creating happy customers is top of mind for CX leaders, they understand that the journey to this goal begins with empowering employees with the tools and knowledge needed to do their jobs. For example, providing employees with capabilities such as presence technology — which allows them to see the ‘status’ of their colleagues — enables them to communicate without interrupting their activities or find subject matter experts for guidance on specific issues. These capabilities are invaluable in making it easier for employees to communicate and address client needs.

Findings from Aberdeen’s December 2018 Contact Center & UC Integration study shows that service organizations that enable their contact center agents with the communication capabilities noted above enjoy 31% greater annual improvement in employee productivity, compared to those without this technology.

Are you interested in learning about how the other seven top CX technologies influence CX success in 2019? Stay tuned for our upcoming post that will highlight the benefits and use cases of those other technologies.

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