The Imperative for Customer Experience in 2020: Ventana Research Agenda
Ventana Research recently announced its 2020 research agenda in the area of the customer experience. For most organizations, a focus on the customer is not new, but maximizing successful customer interactions has recently become a major investment priority. The customer experience (CX) is an analytic framework that organizations can use to improve customer satisfaction, optimize revenue and achieve operational excellence. As we begin 2020 we are encouraging organizations to invest in a focus on the experiences of customers but also to balance it with focuses on the agent experience and experiences with products or services.
Our research agenda is driven by our firm’s expertise in business requirements and our knowledge of technology vendors and products. Through our ongoing market research, we are able to offer insights and best practices to help both the lines of business and IT as well as organizations across industry verticals to reach their maximum potential.
We are introducing in 2020 a new focus on modern CX suites that provide both applications and platform, offering an automated, continuous and unified set of processes and workflows to help organizations manage customer interactions and experiences across any channel and any system. We will conduct new benchmark and value index research on this topic in 2020 to identify best practices and assess technology vendors’ potential to help meet organizations’ CX needs. In addition, we will examine the evolution of intelligent virtual agents (IVA) that can perform repetitive tasks and provide immediate answers to customers’ questions.
Customer experiences can by enriched through deployment of applications that provide a unified view of all interactions, supporting a well-defined and visualized customer journey and enabling more efficient operations. A customer data platform and related technologies can provide this unified view not only of the customer but also of organizations’ operational and analytic needs. Our customer experience expertise area includes six topic areas: agent management, contact center, digital commerce, intelligent CX, subscription management and voice of the customer.
Agent Management includes the processes and applications that enable agents to engage customers and deliver the best possible experience through intelligent and automated interactions. Technology is now available that enables efficient and effective collaboration among agents and managers, with tools that range from coaching and learning to the optimal scheduling and performance of work. These applications increasingly make use of conversational and mobile computing technology to automate and simplify tasks; also, artificial intelligence and machine learning are providing agents with qualitatively better interaction support. It’s essential that organizations enable the best possible agent experience to improve customer experiences. We will conduct new benchmark and value index research on this topic in 2020 to identify best practices and assess technology vendors’ potential to help meet evolving agent management needs.
The contact center is the locus of engagement with customers who may be using any channel or device; it is essential for the contact center to provide a satisfactory conclusion to interactions and ensure the best possible customer experience. Effective contact centers unify all channels of interaction through common data and consistent guidance. Effectiveness also increasingly requires the use of conversational computing, virtual assistants and digital self-service capabilities. Organizations must embrace cloud computing to provide agile interactions across channels of engagement. We will conduct new benchmark and value index research in 2020 to identify best practices and assess technology vendors’ potential to help meet evolving contact center needs.
Digital commerce provides a market space that enables organizations to engage with any type of customer around the purchase process across digital channels — the web, mobile apps, text, voice-activated agents as well as video and social channels. In the world of digital commerce, the customer and product experiences are top differentiators. Here conversational computing is transforming customer engagement and many organizations will need to update their digital platform to optimize customer and product experiences or risk lagging behind competitors. We will conduct new benchmark and value index research in 2020 to identify best practices and assess technology vendors’ potential to help meet evolving digital commerce needs.
Product Information Management
Product information management is technology that enables organizations to improve product experiences by enabling consistent management of product and related information to improve experiences for customers. Organizations are modernizing PIM to support digital experiences across the customer journey. The transition to the cloud will speed the return on products’ value and intensify the imperative for organizations to provide excellent product experiences designed for customers. Also, machine learning and robotic process automation are improving product information quality by identifying issues and opportunities for improvement. We will launch new benchmark and value index research in 2020 to identify best practices and assess and rate technology vendors’ potential to help meet emerging product information management needs.
Subscription management consists of the processes and applications that manage the subscriber experience from first digital touch to subscriber engagement and billing. To better engage subscribers, organizations must prioritize technology that improves the subscriber experience. This involves automating subscriber operations and financial processes in a continuous manner. Modern subscription platforms can help organizations optimize both interactions and subscriber experiences. We will conduct new benchmark and value index research in 2020 to identify best practices and assess technology vendors’ potential to help meet evolving subscription needs.
Voice of the Customer
Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs are sets of processes and technology that use customer feedback and sentiment along with analytics and AI to develop a unified view of the customer. VoC processes and applications provide organizations with insight into customer experiences so they can focus improvement efforts. Organizations should prioritize investments that will yield continuous insights on customer sentiment. We are conducting ongoing benchmark research on customer analytics and our findings identify a number of challenges and opportunities that organizations face; they make clear that an effective VoC program requires a solid foundation of data and analytics. We will conduct new Dynamic Insights research this year on the challenges and potential of voice-of-the-customer efforts.
Every organization, no matter the number of its employees or size of revenue, has an opportunity to significantly improve the customer experience. Optimizing underlying processes and technology can have an immediate impact on top- and bottom-line results. Once an organization has a framework that can consistently deliver an effective customer experience, it can take it to market as a differentiator. Determining your path forward for 2020 requires an effective strategy and knowledge of the technology you need to improve or added to your existing portfolio of investments.
Subscribe to our community to keep up to date on our research efforts in 2020 and come to our customer experience expertise and topic areas to see a detailed agenda and continuously updated 90-day calendar as well as more research facts and best practices.
CEO & Chief Research Officer Ventana Research
Mark Smith is the CEO and Chief Research Officer of Ventana Research and leads the firm’s global market agenda for business and technology as a subject matter expert in digital business and enterprise software. Mark is a digital technology enthusiast using market research and insights to educate and inspire technology buyers and suppliers.