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Issue #14, November 27, 2017
The leading newsletter about customer experience and call centers
Market insights, trends and news about customer experience, BPO, and call centers.
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Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Hope everyone had a good break. Sorry for the long read after coming back, we have a long issue today, but I promise you it’s worth it. In addition, we’ve also put a list of headlines that could be of interest, but don’t require much of a summary/deep-dive at the bottom of the newsletter. Enjoy!
CIOs need to focus on customer experience now

According to the article, many studies (including those released by Gartner, VIsionCritical, Walker) cite customer experience as a top brand differentiator by 2020. A recent study from Five9 says CX is the leading factor now, ahead of both price and product quality. Given that Five9 is a cloud contact center software, we should take it with a grain of salt, but with previous featured articles citing poor CX as a reason customers abandon a company, there is clearly some truth to this. This article cites that yet again, an “Omni-Channel customer experience [is] now a must”. We agree – our system can recognize customers so that our agents can intuitively understand what they’re looking for, making what can be a frustrating situation frictionless. Interested? Reach out for a demo today!

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Neiman Marcus: Maintaining The Personal Touch In A Digital World

Through an in-depth conversation with the CTO of Neiman Marcus, Rajeev Rai, this article explores how Neiman Marcus plans to keep up with Amazon, and their current vision for the customer experience. According to Rai, they want to go beyond Omnichannel. Their approach is for “seamless retail”, so that customers can have in-store experiences across “any touchpoint”, including Facebook Messenger or any other social media platforms. They are also using AI to help in-store sales associates provide more personalized shopping experience to customers, by helping associates better understand each customer based on previous shopping and interaction data. This is similar to our OmniConnect call center solution, where we provide our agents with summaries of previous customer interactions, and how we are also looking to implement relationship-based routing!

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Using AI to enable a more human understanding of voice of customer data

In some exciting news, Australian tech company, Sherlok has developed an IBM Watson-based solution to help call centers better understand the voice of the customer. According to the article, the system is setup to ingest all customer data, including email interactions, social media posts, calls, letters, forum complaints, and more, and “collates them into what it calls the ‘customer nervous system’”. By doing so, it helps companies better understand “what the customer wants to talk about, rather than questions we want to ask them”. They have done so with the Brisbane City Council, to help them understand customers and improve engagement. We’ve spoken to some similar companies in the past – definitely interested to see where this goes, and potentially try it out with our call center data!

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McKinsey on digital marketing: Personalization is not what you think

In this article, author and producer of CXOTalk, Michael Krigsman speaks with Partner at McKinsey, Robert Tas, who leads the digital marketing practice. According to Tas, the main trends and issues in marketing are currently:

  • Personalization – how to not treat all customers the same, and have their experience go beyond basic targeting
  • Data – how to structure and harness the data to provide actionable insights
  • Design – how to design according to the user
  • Marketing technology
  • The operating model – how to structure teams to be able to move faster and more effectively

Tas cites his Starbucks habit as an example of good personalization – not only does he order from the Starbucks app, the personalization doesn’t stop there. Tas thinks that the “most impressive piece of personalization that Starbucks does is [to] put [his] name on the cup”, which transitions from digital personalization to physical.

Another key concept is how teams are structures. From his experience, Tas sees most companies organized by product lines, then channel teams, and finally a customer insights group. Tas believes this model should be flipped, with the initial focus on what a customer needs, and then how they communication, and ultimately the best product that fits that customer.

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Retailers Use AI to Improve the Connected Shopper Experience

This article provides a list of key takeaways from Salesforce Research’s 2017 Connected Shoppers Report, along with the statistic that highlights these conclusions. Below is an excerpt:

  • The new shopping process is no longer linear
    • 79% of shoppers research products prior to purchase in-store, and 85% research products prior to purchase online
  • The impact of video chat, messaging apps and social media is rising
    • Social media is a top 5 channel for online purchasing by 27%
  • Customer service teams are no longer tethered to headsets
    • Phone calls are now the #3 channel for requesting customer service (39%) behind website (52%) and email (45%)
  • Brick-and-mortar is not dead
    • Millennials are more likely to visit stores than baby boomers (78% vs 70%)
  • Omni-Channel landscape continues to evolve, mass personalization at scale does not exist yet
    • 55% of shoppers say retail experiences are disconnected from channel to channel
  • Required shopping experience and use is defined by the customer’s need
    • Top reasons for in-store shopping: Product Availability, Price, Ease of Checkout
    • Top reasons for online shopping: Price, Product Search, Site Performance
    • 58% of shoppers want personalized experiences in-store, and 60% want product recommendations when shopping online
  • Retailers fall behind in the race to meet shopper expectations
    • 62% of shoppers want retailers to recommend products based on purchasing history (75% for millennials)
  • Connected employees keep shoppers happy
    • Millennials are 1.6X more likely than baby boomers to say that store associates need to use mobile devices to reference additional information
  • The best shopper experience will be powered by AI
    • Millennials are 2.5X more likely to say personalized offers would appeal to them

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Welcome to the Era of the AI Coworker

I’ll try to keep this one short, since it’s already a long issue – this article talks about how AI is not starting to complete tasks that people thought it would never be able to, and while we are most likely not in the “Golden Age” of AI, we could very well be in “the golden age of AI-enhanced productivity”. AI is “now powerful enough to make a solid first attempt at countless complex tasks, but it’s not so powerful that it seems threatening. For more thought-intensive, subjective work, we still need humans.” Essentially, we are at a very strange position where jobs that are being impacted by AI may be “better than ever,” while also “acknowledging that at some point, we just might teach them enough that they start climbing up the corporate ladder”.

I’m not sure if companies will start providing management positions to AI, but I can say that personally with our teams, they are happier than ever with their new AI-powered “coworkers”, which helps them better help customers. Have any thoughts? Let us know!

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Curated from LA and Sacramento by Tom Coshow and the transcosmos OmniConnect team.


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The fundamental concept of transcosmos’ business lies in uniting people and technology to offer high-valued services. With our headquarters in Japan, and our US offices in the tech capital of the world, we combine a tradition of excellent service with the newest innovations to build on our company’s founding ideals.
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