New Harvard Business Analytics Services Report Outlines Key Challenges in Customer Engagement and Experience Management

Verint Team December 15, 2021

Verint Customers BMW and Alight Embrace an Array of AI-Powered Technologies to Meet Customer Demands and Ramp Up Digital Agility at Scale in the Post-Pandemic Era

Businesses increasingly see customer engagement as a competitive differentiator, especially in the post-pandemic era. Yet, the large majority of executives worldwide (82%) believe the challenges to managing engagement with customers will only grow, according to a Verint-sponsored report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

As businesses approach their third year affected by the pandemic, the report, Automating and Scaling the Soft Skills Critical to Customer Experience in a Digital World, highlights how companies including BMW and Alight are finding ways to better know their customers, engage effectively with them, and deliver improved business outcomes.

The way businesses interact with customers is undergoing a rapid transformation that has been accelerated by the pandemic as companies shift to support customers in digital channels. This is especially true for BMW Group as the company shifts more routine calls away from its customer interaction center to digital self-help channels to better serve its customers, which included creating a centralised digital knowledge base that consolidates information previously scattered across dozens of siloed systems.

“It’s been helpful in terms of how the customer already sees us – as one BMW, not a collection of different groups. They can now access us, and the information they need, through whatever channel they prefer – chat, phone call, email – and get a consistent response,” says Aoife Bullingham, knowledge management specialist with BMW UK, the British arm of German automaker BMW.

“Ray” Wang, founder, CEO, chairman, and principal analyst at Constellation Research, says customers are expecting the various parts of a company to speak with a singular voice. “If your channels aren’t in sync – if the customer’s interactions with your contact center, your mobile app, and your website aren’t in sync – the customer won’t have patience for that,” says Wang. “They’ll move on.”

Ritu Jyoti, group vice president for worldwide artificial intelligence and automation research at IDC, recommends companies pursue AI- and cloud-powered digital transformation. “This is no longer a choice,” Jyoti says. “AI-powered digital transformation, in the cloud, is the number one tool in your arsenal for gaining a competitive advantage, at least from a technology perspective.”

Powered by advanced artificial intelligence (AI), digital-first customer engagement solutions deliver human-like conversations across every channel, provide real-time resolutions to the customer, support valuable agents, and drive positive, measurable business outcomes.

Alight is the leading cloud-based provider of integrated digital human capital and business solutions. Alight allows employees to enrich their health, wealth and work while enabling global organisations to achieve a high-performance culture. The organisation has developed a sophisticated chatbot called “Lisa” that uses natural language processing – a form of AI – to respond to inquiries from its customers.

“Lisa is supported with a team that’s constantly reviewing data behind the scenes, evaluating how we’re answering questions, and the relevancy of our answers, and also providing insights into where we might want to create new topics or enhance existing ones by adjusting our algorithms,” says Ibrahim Khoury, Alight’s director of product development.

“We’re seeing a rapid transformation in the way organisations interact with customers,” says Verint’s Heather Richards, vice president, go-to-market, digital-first engagement. “The pace of digital adoption and consumer expectations are unprecedented, and this report outlines why companies are moving forward with digital-first strategies to improve interactions and customer engagement.”

Alight’s Ibrahim Khoury and Verint’s Heather Richards and HBR’s Alex Clemente will outline the top takeaways from the report and share how companies are rapidly adopting digital-first customer engagement solutions and adapting to changing customer expectations on a webinar, “Improving Customer Experience in a Digital-First World,” at 1 p.m. ET on January 20, 2022.