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This week, the team from Mattersight set out to New York City for Forrester’s CXNYC 2017, where more than 1,600 customer experience leaders gathered around the topic of Designing Breakaway Customer Experiences. Nothing excites us more than creating new ways to delight customers, so we were thrilled to learn from others like IBM, Oracle and KPMG who share the same enthusiasm.

With so many enlightening sessions and speakers, we thought we’d highlight some of the compelling takeaways from the two day event.

Day 1

During opening remarks, Forrester CEO, George Colony kicked off the event with a very thought provoking talk. In it, he said, “What’s even more disruptive than Uber is the customer who gets into an Uber.” While our attention tends to gravitate towards the companies that are changing industries, this is a reminder to put the customer first in everything we do.

We aren’t creating companies or products simply to turn a profit, we’re solving big problems for our customers. And once we identify those customers, we must do whatever it takes to keep them — in Uber’s case — ensuring that their first time taking a rideshare isn’t their last.

Colony then segued to Amazon, who he called “the Standard Oil of customer experience.” Considered one of the Big Four alongside giants like Google, Apple and Facebook, Amazon continues to show its dominance and ability to takeover seemingly any industry. The reason it’s able to do this isn’t because of the endless coffers Bezos has at his disposal, rather the philosophy and execution of a customer experience so good that it has enabled them to amass limitless resources to enter any market they choose, even space.

As Abinash Tripathy, CEO of Helpshift recently said, “We see Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods as part of a growing trend of digital and brick and mortar convergence. From a customer service perspective we are excited about this development since we believe more and more stores will adopt the app philosophy of customer engagement.” A brick and mortar grocery store adopting a digital customer service experience? While it might be hard to visualize exactly how this will work, based on Amazon’s ability to rank high amongst brands for service, you’d be foolish to bet against it.

Day 2

Day two’s opening remarks from Forrester Analyst, Brandon Purcell really struck a chord. “All customers are not created equal” and “we must invest in customers who give a s*** and are worth money.”

While the entirety of that statement may be true, the first half is the foundation of what Mattersight is built on. We’ve spent years developing sophisticated models, algorithms and other innovations under that very premise. A truly great CX is able to reflect the nuanced individuality of a company’s diverse set of customers.

Later in the day, Evan Minskoff, Head of Brand and Global Growth Strategy for Tumblr further cemented this point when he explained that achieving a breakaway CX means knowing your customer AND their motivation. In order to do that, you must look past the functional reasons for why they use your product or service and consider psychological and behavioral factors. This reminded us of our Chemistry of Conversation periodic table that identifies the different factors and complexities far beyond simply the words spoken that determine the outcome of a customer service interaction.

Another session during day two exposed some interesting Myths on Emotion, including:

  • We can rely on demographic cues to understand consumer emotions
  • Women are more emotional than men
  • Millennials get more emotional about brands than older consumers

Emotion is a big deal to Mattersight. And it should be for CX leaders everywhere. Forrester’s Customer Experience Index 2015 found that how an experience makes customers feel influences customer loyalty more than effectiveness or ease in 17 out of 18 industries that were studied. Even further, our own research found that how a customer feels about an interaction matters 2X more than what occurs in the interaction. To put it simply, if you aren’t factoring emotion into your CX strategy then you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity.

Here’s a few more takeaways from the discussion on emotion:

  • Design for emotions, rather than gender or age
  • Technology Dilutes Emotional Experiences
  • Digital and physical interactions can inspire similar emotional experiences
  • Bake empathy into your digital design

Over the course the two day event, there were couple other moments that really hit home for the Mattersight team. One was the following slide:

In our The Five Pitfalls of 5 Personality Mismatches study we looked at the importance of perception. Everyone perceives the world differently. Even a seemingly simple idea like politeness can vary tremendously from person to person. Some may think that friendliness and being gregarious defines politeness, while others may value formality. In the case of our world — contact centers — if there’s a mismatch between agent and customer on this very basic level, the rest of the call will be an uphill battle.

It’s because of things like the dangerous perception gap that we’ve built predictive analytics to help match agents with customers who they’ll most naturally communicate with to provide a better experience for both customer and agent.

A similar moment occurred when a speaker called empathy the superpower of CX. We could not agree more! With our mission to connect customers with agents they are most likely to have chemistry with, empathy is always at play. It is the truly the fuel that powers successful outcomes and enables a customer to have a breakaway customer experience.

CXNYC 2017 certainly did not disappoint. It was amazing to see how many innovative organizations and savvy leaders galvanized around the topic of customer experience and offered learnings for others to implement. While we learned a great deal, we were also struck by the fact that many of the topics being discussed were things that Mattersight has been championing or preaching about since our earliest days. It’s nice to see that great minds really do think alike.