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Customer Engagement Dominates EC 2022 Innovation Showcase
Every year, the Enterprise Connect Innovation Showcase introduces attendees to new companies that offer cutting-edge solutions in a specific technology area. For this showcase, the first in-person one since 2019, this year’s technological theme was customer engagement — and it is dominating the Expo Hall.
The pandemic profoundly revised the customer experience (CX) and the technologies that boost the CX impact for both business and customer. Outstanding customer service entails adhering to industry best practices such as respecting customers' time, maintaining a pleasant demeanor, and providing knowledgeable and resourceful resources. It also requires going above and beyond to exceed—rather than meet—expectations. As such, Innovation Showcase judges recognized the technologies behind security and authentication, co-browsing, predictive actions, improved self-service capabilities, and innovative uses of AI.
At Enterprise Connect 2022’s Innovation Showcase, our panel of judges, industry experts, and fellow No Jitter contributors include Dave Michels, Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz; Beth English, founder and lead consultant of EE and Associates; Art Schoeller VP, and principal analyst, Forrester Research, and Sheila McGee-Smith, founder of McGee-Smith Analytics. The application deadline for Innovation Showcase applicants was March 8, 2022. The 2022 Innovation Showcase had 21 applications, and our judges selected six to join us on stage in Orlando, Fla. Judges evaluated applicants based on the following criteria:
- Integrations across multiple systems
- Quality of intellectual property, value add
- Operational ease of use for users and administrators
- Innovation, the newness of concept or implementation
As Dave Michels noted in his previous No Jitter article, the Innovation Showcase is distinguished by its “new” component because it showcases companies entirely new to Enterprise Connect. Usually, only new exhibitors are eligible, but the Enterprise Connect leadership team decided to extend eligibility to include virtual exhibitors from the previous year.
Meet the Six Customer Engagement Companies
Our judges evaluated these companies based on three scales: innovation, enterprise fit, and business value. They voted on a scale from one to five—scores weren’t revealed—however, six companies were chosen. Each company had six minutes on stage to present their technologies, explain what differentiates their solutions from the competition, and share use case examples—i.e., how their customers have used these solutions to improve customer engagement.
Here’s what they shared: In (unranked) order of appearance:
Airkit—Ian Cundiff, sales engineer, Airkit ripped off the band-aid early by telling attendees their CX solutions are dead ends. That’s because “we’ve all tried to standup a chatbot, a new mobile application, a self-service solution—only to find that the call volume hasn’t changed at all or in the worst-case scenario, it increased.” You have your chatbots. But Cundiff said, “they’re useless if they don’t end in some sort of true self-service.” Then you have the mobile applications that you spend a bunch of money on, and now it’s bloated, but nobody knows how to log into it.
Airkit’s enterprise CX platform allows you to unify your data and all the channels in which you might communicate with your customers in one spot. “We want to bring a lot of power and let any enterprise create this rich digital experience you’re seeing from these digital-first brands out there,” Cundiff said.
How Airkit Helps Customers: Airkit helps customers reach consumers where they want through multichannel and omnichannel. Airkit also lets customers swap between those channels without losing context. “Put the tools in your customers’ hands, allow them to take the action they need to when they want to.” Lastly, Airkit helps with hyper-personalization. As Cundiff explained, there’s nothing more annoying than being a loyal customer of a brand for five years, and they have no idea who you are or why you’re contacting them.
Customer Example: Guardian, an insurance carrier, came to Airkit with a problem—it received approximately 500,000 transactional calls a year about disability claim status. Airkit developed a solution in two weeks that was 14x faster than it would be with internal development cycles. Guardian saved $1.5 million by deflecting 50% of those transactional calls. Airkit’s platform also increased Guardian’s customer satisfaction (CSAT) score.
Cundiff noted to attendees that you won’t be able to deflect every single phone call, but you want to empower your agents with tools of their own. “You have to send out these digital experiences to your customers to reduce the average handle time and improve customer satisfaction.” Cundiff said. “Ditch those dead-end point solutions and start building a CX solution your customers are going to love.”
Balto—Mark Paske, chief revenue officer, Balto, asked the crowd, “What’s worse than not knowing what to do or what to say?” The answer: knowing exactly what needs to be done but not having the ability to do it. Balto guides agents to say the right thing every time on a live call, which helps improve conversion rates to learn better customer service and remain compliant. Balto listens to calls and automatically alerts managers for coaching opportunities to drive immediate agent improvement through real-time guidance,
A smart checklist is integrated into the platform. It guides an agent and reminds them exactly what they said on the call. Then it checks those things off as the agent says them. For example, if an agent is talking to a consumer and triggers compliance, Balto’s solution jumps in and reminds the agent of the correct protocol. The agent confirms this while the call is happening. Now the manager knows the call is running smoothly from there. Balto automatically scores 100% of calls, so you can concentrate on improving customer conversations. Your quality assurance (QA) metrics are on the dashboard, so you know exactly how your organization is scoring.
How Balto Helps Customers: Paske shared customer results via four quick hits. Amtrust, an insurance company, drove a 26% increase in sales. Meanwhile, National General Insurance improved its CSAT score by 25%, eHealth Insurance experienced 65% faster ramp time, and American Homes, a real estate investment company, experienced 53 seconds lower average handle time.
"Goodbye random sampling. Hello Real-time quality assurance,” Paske said.
Cognigy—Cognigy is automating customer employee self-service, and designed a platform around the conversation versus designing the conversation around the platform,” Rob Fardin, VP, Cognigy, said. Cognigy has observed a dynamic where conversational AI is maturing, and everyone’s excited about it. Conversational AI starts a conversation for a reason—because that’s where the engagement is. According to Forrester, when you have better communication, you’re three times more likely to do business with someone, so “you want to make sure those conversations are the best you can have,” Fardin said. He added that the conversation starts somewhere but is not always in the same place. Customers must be able to access your platform from whatever modality that makes sense to them—whether they’re levering unified communications or talking to their smart speaker from their living room. You must be able to leverage the information residing in various repositories or data sources. “He also noted that customers must be understood—and that’s where Cognigy’s natural language understanding system comes into play. It was designed to understand the intent of what that person is calling and talking about because “you want to be able to learn from your platform.”
How Cognigy Helps Customers: CRMG increased revenue by 600%. That’s because it can address the complex issues involved with languages and support a magnitude of 1,000 agents. CRMG operates in the debt service space—where conversations can get very messy. CRMG uses Cognigy to reactively address incoming calls so customer agents can take proactive communication approaches. As a result, they’re changing the dynamic of how debt collection is working and supporting agents from a liability standpoint. On the mobile side, they’re seeing incredibly fast response times and elevated gains, in terms of CX and satisfaction.
“It’s all about a conversation. [Cognigy] wants to have that conversation with you,” Fardin said.
Invoca—Gregg Johnson, director of corporate marketing, Invoca, shared how customer conversations are opportunities for a brand to differentiate and build deeper relationships with customers—ultimately driving more lifetime value. So, it’s important to get those conversations right. He explained how the industry has fundamentally changed around the role of the voice channel and when those conversations happen. In today’s world, voice is an escalation channel. It’s part of the continuum of a customer conversation that could have started with digital, self-service options. Insights gained from that rich customer conversation can inform future digital touchpoints. Invoca’s key focus is bringing all these integrated experiences together to ensure the conversation is a magical experience that differentiates your business.
How Invoca Helps Customers: Johnson told attendees to think about somebody looking at buying a house and worried about interest rates rising. What role does the contact center play? Invoca helps a mortgage lender collects data about the customer’s intent, who they’re looking for, and the problem they’re ultimately looking to solve. Invoca collects data to help understand what digital marketing touchpoint drove that initial interaction, then uses that data to understand what product the consumer wants. Johnson said it’s an opportunity to build that deeper customer relationship. “When they reach out to have that conversation, we can understand exactly where and when they exit digital and reach out for live assistance.” Invoca can also give the agent answering that call data insight about what led up to that conversation—so as soon as they begin to talk, Invoca uses AI to understand the agent and customer side of the conversation.
Ultimately, Invoca helps various teams across the enterprise. “We help marketers make smarter decisions about investing in digital marketing that ultimately results in contact center revenue. We help e-commerce teams understand when and where e-commerce is falling,” Johnson said. Invoca also helps customer experience, and digital experience teams design the right end-to-end journey that combines the best of digital to the best of human touch.
Pathlight—Janelle Raney, and Ramon Icasiano, chief marketing officers, Pathlight, kicked off their presentation by asking attendees, “How many employees can answer, ‘how I’m doing and what do I need to improve?’” Then continued to explain why there’s no excuse for that number not to be 100%.
Raney explained how Pathlight analyzes performance data across all systems so everyone can know how they’re doing. Pathlight pulls all data from your system for customer relationship management (CRM). Pathlight also provides AI and coaching, so your team knows exactly where to focus, and you can align the teams with indication tools, and data-driven one-on-ones. Raney said, “When you're creating this culture of transparency, trust, and accountability, you're going to see improvements raised, you're going to see connectivity go up, employee engagement going up, and revenues hopefully going up as well.”
How Pathlight Helps Customers: Handshake, an online recruiting platform for higher education, saw a 53% increase in enterprise sales performance. Clear is an enterprise client where employees relied on a break room to display their weekly performance. “We enable them with a mobile app that helps them in real-time,” Raney said.
UJET — UJET is a contact center platform reimagining experiences for consumers and brands of all sizes. Vasili Triant, chief operating officer, UJET, explained how its product is a third-generation cloud contact center application built around AI, real-time analytics, and data flow. Instead of being a point solution, or a digital-only solution, UJET brought an entire platform together that includes all the channels. It also includes real-time AI, real-time intelligence, and data. UJET announced an inner cloud architecture for contact center applications that takes the active architecture and building service mesh and allows this to exist across cloud infrastructure providers. Triant provided an example that included Google and Amazon and real-time availability across the infrastructure. So if one had an issue, the other is running, and no one knows the difference. “You wouldn’t buy a new house with a crack in the foundation,” Triant said. UJET also takes unified data and exchanges it with the CRM in real-time. UJET has given enterprises the ability to meet its customers where they are, then blend all the channels into one. This allows the agent to be collaborative.
Triant didn't share a use case example during his presentation, but he ended with words of encouragement. “Consumers have evolved, and your contact center should too.”