Recent CX musings…

Several news blips in the CX world recently caught my attention.

The first from Affectiva, who claims to have the largest emotional response to digital media, just opened up their APIs for free to smaller companies who earn less than 1 million annually. Affectiva uses facial recognition for video conferencing and emotional sentiment in web chat with customers.

Essentially Affectiva has honed their facial coding to quantify emotions in real time. Big deal, Chris. I don’t need software to tell me if I make someone happy or sad. True, so why should you care?

Well if you if have Affectiva running in the background during your next online meeting or you can persuade your audience to turn on their webcam during your next webinar you’ll be able to gauge how your content is landing in real time.

The second comes from my favorite airline booking website Hipmunk. Despite having a great user interface, they filter flights by agony, which just makes sense.

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According to TechCrunch Hipmunk not too recently raised roughly $55 million since starting in 2010, but they are now being acquired by Concur the travel and expense platform who is owned by SAP. This is meaningful because Hipmunk set out to take the agony out of air travel by considering the customer’s journey, and now Concur looks to be adopting the same strategy.

As if we need another data point to validate the significance of UX and CX, Pizza Hut just named their first Chief Customer Officer, Helen Vaid. Who was previously the VP of digital store operations and experience at Wal-Mart. I’m curious to see what changes Pizza Hut will make to listen to their customers and then take action on that feedback. Congratulations Helen!

This last piece, if it actually works, can potentially be competition for larger VoC programs. The artificial intelligence lab at MIT claims to interpret emotions using only wireless radio signals, dubbed the EQ-Radio, with 70% accuracy. Watch their video below for a better understanding of the technology.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmcDnEhZTJM

Genesys Acquisition of Interactive Intelligence

Genesys and Interactive Intelligence have entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Interactive Intelligence. Here is the official press release.

We at Avtex are very enthused by this merger of two Contact Center powerhouses and working closely with analysts and the executive teams at ININ and Genesys to align Avtex as the model partner in this new organization.  Not only is Genesys excited about Avtex’s top partner status with ININ (Chairman Award, Cloud Pace Setter, Platinum Elite, Multiple Partner of the Year Awards…), they love the fact that we are exclusive with ININ and don’t have what they consider “competitive” other products in our portfolio.  In addition, Genesys views our partnership and technical capabilities with Microsoft as a big advantage; Genesys and Microsoft have a strategic alliance.  Avtex has been invited to the upcoming G-Force Genesys conference and we look forward to expanding our portfolio to serve all ends of our customer’s contact center and CX needs.

Here is more information and highlights available from ININ and Genesys at this time.  Below this statistic graphic is Genesys’ response to some frequently asked questions:

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What is the rationale for this transaction?

Genesys and Interactive Intelligence are highly complementary companies focused on improving the customer experience as leaders serving adjacent market segments with complementary offers. This transaction positions the combined company to deliver more innovative, omnichannel solutions that span the needs of customers of all sizes and every level of sophistication.

Where do you see the two portfolios complementing one another?

Our primary success has been in related, but adjacent market segments. As one company, with a combined product portfolio, we intend to further drive growth and success. Interactive Intelligence brings a broad product portfolio, including advanced cloud and on-premise solutions, as well as key technical R&D and support talent. It is known for great “out of the box” solutions that offer stability and simplicity for a wide range of customer sizes. Genesys is historically known for high-end solutions catering to the most sophisticated needs of call center customers. We plan to leverage the best of both companies, cross-pollinating technology and go-to-market strengths.

What happens to the product roadmap?

We intend to continue to invest in the entire product portfolio of both companies and accelerate innovation with annual R&D spend approaching $200 million. This transaction will accelerate Genesys’ ability to execute on its mission of powering the world’s best customer experiences at scale, anytime, anywhere – over any channel, in the cloud and on-premise. Once the transaction has closed, the combined teams will work together to develop a unified product roadmap that draws from the best capabilities and strengths of both companies, providing enhanced offerings to customers and partners.

Will you continue to support existing Genesys and Interactive Intelligence products?

We will continue to operate as usual until the transaction closes with products and pricing being supported and offered as they always have been. Protecting and supporting our customers’ technology investments is a priority, and both cloud and on-premise product portfolios will continue to be supported and offered.

Will PureCloud be the Genesys cloud offering in the market moving forward?

We are extremely enthusiastic about all the cloud offerings of the combined company. Each offering has its own strengths and specific target customer segments. We will significantly invest across the entire Interactive Intelligence product portfolio to support the continued momentum of PureCloud®, Cloud Communications-as-a-Service℠ (CaaS) and Customer Interaction Center™ (CIC) in addition to the rich portfolio of products supported and offered by Genesys today.

What can customers expect during the coming months?

We expect the transaction to close by the end of the year. Until that time, Genesys and Interactive Intelligence will remain separate, independent companies, and we will continue to conduct business as usual. As we bring our companies together following the close, we look forward to sharing more specific details about the combined product portfolio and the even greater innovation and value we expect to deliver to our global customers and partners. We are committed to maintaining business continuity and open, transparent communication. We will reach out to customers at appropriate times with updates, and will take steps to ensure customers receive excellent service and support.

How will this affect partners?

Partners are a critical part of both companies’ go-to-market strategy, and we plan to continue with that strategy. Prior to close, it is business as usual. After the transaction closes, it is our intent that all of our partners are properly certified on all products to sell and support them.

What happens to our existing partner and customer contracts and pricing?

No change, it is business as usual.

While there are certainly more questions to be asked and answered, here at Avtex, we’re very excited about this announcement, and the commitment to invest in the PureCloud®, Cloud Communications-as-a-Service℠ (CaaS) and Customer Interaction Center™ (CIC) platforms.  Having a larger palette of tools from which to choose, empowers Avtex to do and create even more creative solutions in our ongoing effort to make it easier for you to provide meaningful omnichannel interactions with each of your customers.

We’ll continue to keep you apprised as more information becomes available.  In the meantime, it’s business as usual.

Thanks for your business and partnership with Avtex; we look forward to continuing to work with you.

Fabric

Fabric, a new start-up created by former Facebook engineers is being described as an automated journey of your life. The app pulls photos from your phone, your Facebook and Instagram accounts and layers them over a map with a timeline that ultimately creates your journey.

Fabric tracks your friends, places, and moments throughout your day. Baby boomers might perceive this app as an invasion of privacy, however, for Millennials, CX professionals and market researchers this app is a gold mine – so move over my fellow Millennials! (I’m on the cusp and I just had a birthday, so I’ll be using it whenever I get the chance).

One of the creators was quoted in a recent TechCrunch article:

 “Arun, was inspired to create a project in this space after receiving a printed book about his dad that was filled with stories friends had written about him in college. The book had details about trips he had taken and people he had known – things that Arun didn’t know about before.”

As is, Fabric has immense value by providing additional context to customer journey maps. The power comes from layering these moments with biometric markers like heart rate and skin conductance to help capture unexpressed emotions that surveys fail to capture. This feedback cannot only help in understanding complete customer journeys, but also strengthen persona profiles. Fabric has the potential to drive cost down from the traditional biometrics that we use to capture feedback, and use the savings to help influence organizational change in order to shore up gaps in the customer journey.

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Get tactical

For example, let’s say you want to know what your customers are doing before coming to your store and what they do after they leave. Bust out the consent forms, order a set of Amazon gift cards, and organize a random sample of customers to conduct a day-in-the-life study. In addition to having them share their Fabric journeys, have them keep a diary of their use with your product or service. The learning you and your organization will discover can put you light years ahead of your competition. Virgin mobile did just this and was able to iterate around their customers feedback.

However, if you still need persona modeling and journey maps we can help.