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4 Key Takeaways from G-Force 2015

G-Force 2015 was held at the beautiful Fontainebleau Hotel located on the white sandy beaches of South Miami. For many, that may be the most memorable part of the conference this year. This could hold especially true for those who danced Tuesday night away at the party presented by Empirix. For others, the shear whirlwind of activity can be overwhelming.

For either group, the following list might help to refocus on (what many will agree are) the main take away points from this year’s conference:

1.  Omni-channel

For several years, the focus for Genesys has been multi-channel. Multi-channel is about providing customers with different ways to engage with a company, such as SMS, email or chat. Omni-channel is about the use of multiple channels over multiple interactions within the context of a single request or transaction.

For example, a customer may initiate a transaction on the web, start a chat while there, or share a browser session with an agent to submit a form. Then, the customer will anticipate a call back to complete the process. In some instances, the customer may call the company to follow-up on the request. All these separate interactions share a single context, which is to fulfill the customer request or transaction. This omni-channel experience is also referred to as the “customer journey”.

2. Customer Experience (CX) Will be the Differentiator

For years, companies were able to eke out an advantage if they had the technology or applications in place to provide a service. The look or feel of technology didn’t matter, as long as it served a useful function. The ATM comes to mind. Most recently the design and interface of applications took a front seat and customers started to expect a better user experience to go along with the expected functionality.

Think about the mobile banking apps that allow cheques to be deposited by simply taking a picture! Now, especially with millennials taking over, it is expected that all applications will be highly functional and have a rich user experience. So, that leaves companies with finding ways to differentiate themselves; many are anticipating that the CX will be the way.

This could be achieved by enabling a customer to use the mobile app to request a callback or place an inbound call where the context of their experience and login is passed along first to the routing platform and then to the agent.

3. The Internet of Things

IoT is going to play a significant role in customer experience. Customers are going to be able to engage through devices that go far beyond mobile phones. Likewise, customers are going to expect companies to proactively contact them and provide an active not a passive service.

An example that comes to mind is the water filter in my fridge. It would be great if instead of just notifying me that the filter needs to be changed, it offers to have the company contact me to place an order for the correct filter for my fridge. I get a call and provide my credit card number and in a few days the filter shows up. In this engagement, they may even get me on a subscription for auto-renewal instead of having to call me.

4. Artificial Intelligence is Coming (Is here!)

IBM is positioning Watson as the forerunner of the Cognitive Era. The Cognitive Era replaces the Programming Era in which rules were followed through setup and configuration with the result of the same experience being applied to many. In the Cognitive Era, systems adapt and learn to customize the experience. The big difference is that systems in the new era can detect patterns and learn and adapt, which create a unique user experience.

I won’t go in depth here but I encourage people to learn more about what Watson is. Watson represents a significant move towards artificial intelligence and auto-attendant capabilities. It doesn’t replace the agent. In fact, Watson can be used to help the agent. But the speed at which AI is improving is staggering and slightly frightening.

For most companies, there remains a gap between where they are today with their current solutions, and the key capabilities listed with these highlights from G-Force mentioned above. The companies leading the way in better engagement with their customers are able to close that gap quickly.

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