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2024: Time to leap into innovation, embrace AI's dragon's breath and take customer experience to new heights

Ever wonder what you would do with one extra day? That's the gift a leap year gives us every four years—when the calendar delivers 29 days in February.

For businesses, 2024 is a golden opportunity to take advantage of the clock slowing for a moment. Leap year also serves as a symbolic reminder to strive forward and take big leaps out of our comfort zones. After all, what good is an extra day if you're not using it to your business's advantage?  

This month, we also usher in the powerful symbol Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac, marking a time for creativity, wisdom, and innovation. In the realm of technology, this powerful symbol evokes the advancements heralded by artificial intelligence (AI), specifically in reshaping customer experience—the lifeforce that carries businesses to success.

Today's highly competitive landscape brings into sharp focus the need to constantly improve customer experience for business success and longevity. According to a 2023 CCW Digital survey, only 4% of consumers feel experiences have improved over the past year, and a staggering 57% feel they have gotten worse. That means that to retain customers and stay ahead, you need to step up your CX game substantially.

Today's highly competitive landscape brings into sharp focus the need to constantly improve customer experience for business success and longevity. According to a 2023 CCW Digital survey, only 4% of consumers feel experiences have improved over the past year, and a staggering 57% feel they have gotten worse. That means that to retain customers and stay ahead, you need to step up your CX game substantially.
To excel in customer experience (CX), businesses must transcend incremental changes and embrace quantum leaps, leveraging AI and interconnected strategies to uncover insights and surpass customer expectations consistently.

The time for incremental improvements has passed—what's needed now is a quantum leap in CX. By leveraging promising technology like AI for CX and taking a fully connected approach across increasingly sophisticated customer journeys, businesses can uncover key insights to not just meet, but radically exceed customer expectations in every interaction.  

Here are the top five ways to harness the power of the dragon in CX and take a great leap forward in 2024:

1. Embrace the dragon's innovation with the power of AI

Many businesses still rely on outdated legacy systems and are left with fragmented approaches to serving customers, causing friction that negatively impacts experiences. Others fail to adequately prioritize understanding and addressing customer needs, resulting in unsatisfactory customer journeys filled with pain points. 

According to Aberdeen, 59% of leaders cite that AI improves their ability to use data more intelligently in customer interactions. Best in class organizations that use AI are realizing remarkable results compared to those that do not including a 5.5x greater YoY increase in employee engagement, 3.0x greater YoY improvement in customer satisfaction, a 4.0x greater YoY improvement in customer effort scores, and more. This Aberdeen Research white paper provides insight into the results of a CX Leaders' Agenda survey.

To fully embrace the dragon's innovation with the power of AI, maximizing its impact becomes essential. Achieving this requires orchestrating all customer conversations on a single platform, where advanced capabilities are converged to perfect every interaction. Moreover, optimizing the customer experience with AI purpose-built for CX ensures that businesses satisfy evolving expectations in a trusted fashion. Investing in a CX AI platform is key to future-proofing excellence in customer engagement.

2. Leapfrog your competition by connecting customer journeys with intelligent CX AI

Your brand's reputation hangs on every interaction, so you need to assess the types of interactions that need attention now.

AI-powered CX gives you unbelievably fast ways to discover areas that need attention especially given the complexity of today's consumer conversations taking place across multiple touchpoints—from search engines to web experiences to mobile apps, digital messaging, chatting with bots or calling to speak to a contact center agent.

Expectations for artificial intelligence (AI) technology to tackle challenges and improve CX are higher than ever in 2024. But what you may not realize is that you need the right kind of AI that's purpose-built for customer experience.

Ideally you will want to look at AI that is purpose-built for CX (as opposed to general AI). Developed by NICE, Enlighten is the world's first and only AI built specifically for customer experience. Enlighten leverages the power and capacity of generative AI and machine learning, coupled with the world's most extensive CX data set and security guardrails, to produce truly remarkable customer experiences. Fully embedded across CXone, Enlighten AI is operationalized with pre-built models and ready to drive value from Day One.

This enables proactively delivering the right guidance based on where the customer is in the journey—automating relevant interactions that are personalized, contextual and without friction. With NICE CXone, you can start leapfrogging other brands to:

  • Transition and blend interactions across all channels, including voice, web, digital messaging, social media, mobile apps and more

  • Provide a seamless customer experience across all communication channels, whether it's self-serve or assisted by an agent

  • Engage customers proactively where you know to contact your customer before they even know they need you 

  • Learn from all interactions with AI that mirrors top agents to build smart self-service over time

3. Breathe life into digital service with conversational AI

Chatbots and virtual agents powered by conversational AI present a huge opportunity to make customer interactions more human-like, contextual, and emotionally intelligent.

According to research by Forrester, a whopping 71% of companies have invested in offering a chatbot. The reason is clear: by automating customer service tasks, conversational AI allows businesses to provide 24/7/365 support at a fraction of the cost of staffing live human representatives around the clock.

But too many “First Gen” conversational AI solutions are not delivering results, with customers getting annoyed with chatbots’ shortcomings, including not understanding intent, offering a limited scope of solutions, or having to start over and transfer into the contact center.  

Here are some key ways conversational AI-based chatbots can take your CX to the next level:

  • Understand customer intents at scale by analyzing text and voice conversations

  • Train chatbots from the optimal conversations of top-performing agents

  • Evolve Knowledge Management into AI Management

  • Improve continuously with machine learning based on real customer interactions, all on a single unified platform

With the right conversational AI strategy, and a platform like NICE CXone, you can create chatbots and virtual agents that feel like an intuitive extension of your brand. By humanizing interactions in this way, converstional AI helps build trust and delight customers—all at scale.

4. Enable agents to leap ahead

Optimize agent efficiency performance for all customer interactions to consistently deliver extraordinary experiences with a unified agent workspace. By bringing everything agents need to handle conversations across all voice and digital channels into one place, agents can accomplish more.

NICE CXone will put the spring in your leap forward to:

  • Empower agents with AI Equip agents and supervisors with a complete suite of advanced workforce engagement (WEM) applications infused with AI capabilities to drive greater focus, productivity, and engagement. An AI assistant like Enlighten Copilot helps agents while they are assisting customers, doing behind-the-scenes work that enhances both call quality and productivity.

  • Reduce manual tasks through automation Automate agent notetaking with the power of generative AI to summarize every interaction—reducing manual effort, boosting productivity, and elevating CX. Agents no longer must spend time doing tedious tasks like taking notes, as summaries of each customer interaction are automatically created using the latest AI capabilities. This gives them more time to focus on the parts of their job that creates enhanced customer experiences instead of spending time on administrative work.

  • Real-time training to help agents improve Help agents understand where they can improve their behaviors in real time to boost customer satisfaction. Real-Time Interaction Guidance is powered by speech transcription and phrase detection and Enlighten AI models to score agent behaviors, delivering live customer sentiment metrics and agents' next best action prompts.

5. Seize the good fortune of the dragon to achieve CX cost efficiencies

With 2024 designated as the Year of the Dragon, legends suggest that its auspicious influence will extend to all.

Leveraging AI and CX analytics will help brands optimize budgets while elevating the complete customer journey. The year is young and will unfold with both challenges and opportunities. Now is a good time for contact center managers to review plans for improving cost-efficient operations in 2024.

Here are the top results a CX AI platform can deliver to increase operational efficiencies and benefit the bottom line:

  • More efficient, cost-effective operations Reduce operational spend by combining specialized AI models tailored to critical CX metrics. Generative AI technology provides data-driven recommendations to minimize budget gaps and ensure optimization. Gain visibility into budget gaps and opportunities to reallocate spend to high-impact CX initiatives. Intuitive dashboards with real-time insights help managers make continual improvements.

  • Understand gaps in execution Identify execution gaps rapidly with the assistance of AI tools. By surfacing urgent areas for improvement, you can course-correct quickly. Proactively address service delivery gaps to prevent customer dissatisfaction. Leverage AI to benchmark performance against industry standards and uncover friction points.

  • Make informed decisions Intuitive dashboards centralize key CX metrics and trends with historical comparisons. Holistic visibility empowers managers to pinpoint CX success drivers and make data-backed investments. Combining CX data sources provides a 360-degree customer view. This consolidated perspective enables optimized decision making to advance CX maturity.

  • Flexible integration and customization An open framework with 400+ APIs makes it simple to integrate third-party apps or build custom experiences. Brands can augment solutions to align with unique CX infrastructure needs. Running apps natively prevents integration headaches. Shared administration and reporting tools also streamline stacking third-party solutions.

  • Security you can trust Best-in-class security protocols certify protection at every layer, including PCI Level 1 and HIPAA standards. Customers can be confident their data is safe. Guaranteed 99.99% reliability provides an enterprise-grade foundation for CX infrastructure. Automatic upgrades prevent security risks emerging from legacy systems.

Take a leap and breathe fire into your 2024 CX strategy

With the rapid pace of change in technology and customer expectations, it's vital for leaders to continuously assess any blind spots and identify new ways optimize CX.

As you can see, there are many opportunities in 2024 for businesses to take "leaps" forward and elevate the unique customer experiences you provide customers in ways that are much more satisfying and also loyalty-building—new ways to give your company a big competitive edge. Additionally, the Year of the Dragon inspires transformation and success.

By embracing innovations across the customer journey, you can provide more satisfying seamless conversations in every channel, and also improve operational efficiency to reduce costs. Advanced CX strategies also demonstrates to customers that you value them and want to meet their needs.

This year, take inspiration from the extra day afforded by the leap year. Identify areas where your business can take bold and ambitious action to transform the customer experience. Whether it's revamping aging systems, adopting new innovations like AI or better empowering agents, look ahead to the future needs of customers.

Embrace the dragon's innovative power to transform your business, using AI to enrich the customer experience in 2024, and move beyond traditional customer service parameters and venture into a realm where customer understanding is not broad but tailored, not reactive but proactive and not generic but highly personalized.

It's time to breathe fire into your customer strategy—taking it to new, unprecedented heights.

Source: NICE


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