40 minutes | Mar 13, 2018

EP 17: What’s Happening in Customer Service? — Predictions for the Future with Chad McDaniel of Execs in the Know

Chad McDaniel is the guy every Customer Experience professional on LinkedIn is connected to. Chad is the founder and Chief Customer Advocate of Execs in the Know, an organization that a lot of other customer experience leaders are a part of and use to network with each other, learn from each other, and really understand what’s going on in the industry. With a  focus on sharing best practices, and real-time insights to stay on top of the ever-changing landscape, Execs in the Know leverages the research, data, and experience of its network of professionals to transform the customer experience across industries.   Chad and I have a fascinating discussion on a variety of topics, on today’s episode. How has the power of the customer changed? How are brands responding to that? How does AI factor into the customer experience, and how can brands leverage that to improve customer experience? Chad draws on his years of expertise to provide us with great insights into the future of the customer experience. Tune in for more!   Key Takeaways: [:22] Jaspar introduces his guest for this episode — Chad McDaniel. [3:01] What is Execs in the Know and why did Chad start this company? It is a community of customer experience service leaders who want to share best practices and real-time insights to stay on top of the ever-changing landscape. [4:58] In the past decade, has the power of the customer changed? The customer has a much greater voice today than in the past and has more expectations and demands, which opens up opportunities for customer experience teams. [6:06] The changes in customer expectations are mainly in the areas of personalization, speed of resolution, and convenience. Customers also expect integration across multiple devices, and that companies deliver a personalized level of service, taking their history into account. [7:59] As customers become more important, how are brands responding to that? Customer service and experience are becoming the key points of differentiation between brands, so brands are investing more in this aspect. [9:32] What advice does Chad have for people within organizations that do not value customer service as they should? Having data and metrics to put the situation into ‘financial speak’ helps to capture the attention of the executive team. [10:44] What are some of the basic challenges that CX leaders should be focused on overcoming? Leadership buy-in is crucial to create a customer-centric culture in the business, but companies should start with small steps by measuring customer satisfaction and experience. Legacy companies may face more challenges because of their legacy systems, but this is no excuse to ensure customer experience in resolutions. [13:10] Chad breaks down AI and its impact on the customer experience space. AI is an overarching capability, not necessarily a product. AI creates the opportunity for brands to have the ability to service their customers in ways that have not yet been explored or considered. [15:09] Where can CX leaders start to integrate AI into their businesses to improve customer experience? Do your homework, have a tactical strategy, and study other case studies to see what would work for you. Start very small and expand from there. Knowing your customer is crucial to work back from there. [18:04] How can CX leaders access case studies to leverage AI? Execs in the Know will be working on bringing this to light in 2018! [19:57] Microsoft has some ambitious goals in terms of AI. Execs in the Know will be delving into this further, and Chad invites you to join him as they look under Microsoft’s hood in terms of the AI that they’re producing. [21:47] CX leaders can get more information about AI case studies through Google, other think tanks, and the resources that Execs in the Know has available on their blog. [23:30] As a consumer, who does Chad think is doing AI well when it comes to customer service? Chad highlights CIBC and Amazon as two brands who have been effective in their deployment of AI in the customer experience space. Jaspar elaborates on Amazon’s in-app messaging experience. [27:00] Without a doubt, it is better for brands to disclose that customers are dealing with an AI or virtual agent. [27:45] From an industry perspective, what’s happening to the voice channel for customer service? Phone channel continues to dominate for overall customer resolution because of the consumer need to interact on a human level, and because rapport builds loyalty. [30:35] What are Chad’s predictions for the customer experience industry? Customers increasingly want to self-serve, but self-service must have a smooth transition to assisted service for more complex inquiries. Businesses will improve how they apply predictive analytics and further embrace outsourced service providers as strategic partners. Instant text messaging with photos and videos is another area that has great potential in the CX space. [33:49] What does Jaspar predict for the industry in 2020? AI is happening, but not as fast as people think — smaller brands will wait to see what bigger brands do, rather than experiment on their own. Jaspar advocates for brands to always keep their customers front and center in order to maximize customer experience. [36:42] Find out more about Execs in the Know via their website! [37:18] Chad shares his best customer service story at Home Depot, where a store representative really personalized his experience, and built a relationship with him to deliver an experience that really stood out. [38:34] Execs in the Know has a band that follows them around to deliver a personalized experience to their customers, and they’re currently accepting applications from musicians to join the Blackout City Kids, Scott and Matt! Check them out!   Resources Mentioned in This Episode: TaskUs Podcast Chad McDaniel on LinkedIn Execs in the Know Execs in the Know resources CIBC Amazon   Tweetables: “[Service leaders have] their heart in the right place, they want to do the right thing for their customers.”   “The customer obviously has a much greater voice today than years past, and that creates a lot of unique opportunities.”   “What was good enough before, is no longer good enough in a lot of aspects.”   “When you think of customer experience, it can be the difference maker.”   “CX and service basically is the last frontier of competitive difference to retain and attract customers.”   “AI is an overarching capability. It is not necessarily a product.”   “I think it starts with knowing your customer. You have to know who your customer is and then work it back from there.”   “Voice is not dead and it will never die.”  
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