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NICE Inspires Frictionless Customer Experience Revolution
Hybrid work is not confined solely to meetings or back-to-office debates – it’s also part of the conference experience in 2022. Some conferences are now fully live, some live with video conferenced content (e.g., Enterprise Connect 2022), and some remain completely virtual. Such was the case for NICE Interactions Live, held May 24-25, 2022.
While virtual, NICE’s event team went above and beyond to create a unique experience for the 25,000 attendees, representing over 2,000 companies from 30 countries worldwide – as estimated by Michelle Mathias, director of marketing events for NICE. An enhanced registration option included Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality (VR) glasses to access the conference content, including two VR-only sessions. One of these VR sessions featured CX Futurist Blake Morgan. The GIF above, which includes a selfie-taking by the Barak Eilam, CEO of NICE, gives a sense of what the environment was like.
The conference kicked off with an imaginative keynote by Eilam, where he envisioned daily life 25 years from now – including a hair and makeup transformation to age his 40-something self into his 70s. Note that he’s predicting a flight from London to his hometown in New Jersey will be accomplished in one hour!
While the glimpses into the future were amazing, Barak’s core message was that many of the kinds of frictionless access to information and services demonstrated in his video are available today. Ride share companies like Uber, Lyft and others have completely changed the concept of transportation mobility. It wasn’t that these companies reduced fares and made cab rides more accessible, Eilam said. What they did was remove the uncertainty that used to be part of the ride-hailing process. They removed friction by providing guaranteed peace of mind and extreme predictability , transforming a dreaded necessity into a reassuring experience. It is the continuous data stream that reassures a customer that the driver is on e the way, reducing friction by providing real-time data.
Similarly, the way we all consume media and entertainment has been disrupted to its core over the past few years by multiple streaming providers. The ‘cord-cutting’ revolution was accomplished by companies that created a frictionless experience by finding a way to overcome the rigidness of traditional scheduled viewing , both for television and first-run films. The appeal of streaming services is the ability to only seek out and watch the genres or whenever you want. As discussed above, it’s another way of using customer data to reduce CX friction.
Eilam brought the topic home to his contact center-centric audience by pointing out that one of the greatest ironies of our time is that the faster technology progresses, the more consumer frustration with brands grows. Despite decades of trying, despite the vast investment, there is an undeniable growing service gap between organizations and consumers, a gap that creates friction when providing customer service. Eilam’s call to action was for companies to take a page from industries that have already been successful in removing friction and adopting their guiding principles.
- Get rid of the middleman. Uber removed the taxi dispatcher middleman. Amazon replaced the middleman of physical shops.
- Make transparency part of the design. For years, accepted practice was to hide all backend processes from consumers as much as possible. However, the more we're exposed to data, the lower our level of friction, from tracking the exact location of our baggage or knowing who is taking care of delivering the pizza. Full transparency to the customer experience (CX) supply chain builds consumer confidence and trust.
- Make data foundational. When Netflix, Hulu, and others first broke through the crowd to become leaders in their industry, it wasn't because they had the best streaming technology or the largest content repository, said Eilam. He believes the secret to their success was the ability to marry content with people using data to offer targeted experiences while giving consumers the feeling of unlimited freedom of choice. In CX there is unlimited data about consumers and a unique ability to tailor content and thus a consumer’s experience.
On the second day of NICE Interactions Live, the vendor brought customers to the keynote, where they described how they are re-imagining customer care in their organizations. In their stories, I saw application of one or more of the principles outlined above. For example, Verizon explained that in its wireline broadband business, they visit tens of thousands of customers every day. Using NICE CXone’s ContactEngine, Verizon communicates with each of those customers, on average, 10 times over the course of their journey. These multiple touch-points include making confirming, and changing appointments, educating consumers on the use of their services, and getting feedback from customers. The case study exemplified the guiding principles of transparency and the use of data to serve customers frictionlessly.
In this post-pandemic era, providing empathetic customer service has been an oft-talked-about goal. I would say creating frictionless experiences is an equally important goal for businesses.