Category: CX / Customer Experience

ChatGPT – Can BFSI Benefit from an Intelligent Conversation Friend in the Long Term?

With the advent of chatbots reaching human-like sentience and mannerisms, and banks being at the forefront of adopting conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI), the question arises whether ChatGPT threatens the likes of Google, other AI platforms, and the non-critical workforce in the technology and services industries. While its promise remains high, will the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector unearth ChatGPT’s full potential?  Read on to find out.

ChatGPT has taken the internet by storm and has become a trending sensation overnight. This AI-powered innovative chatbot has taken the world for a spin and is generating a big buzz among millions of professional users experimenting with it. Microsoft has also invested billions in the tool.

But what is ChatGPT? Developed by OpenAI, it is a generative language model that has been trained over large volumes of text to generate human-like responses. Like a search engine, it curates answers for queries but is designed to answer in a more conversational flow that goes beyond chat and delivers a richer experience with an intelligent chatbot. The AI engine generates solutions for all sorts of queries, including R, Python, and VBA codes.

Let’s explore ChatGPT’s potential to impact the future of AI and its usage in the technology and services industry, particularly by financial institutions, banks, and insurers.

What makes ChatGPT approachable and different to use?

  • The amount of data used to train the GPT model
  • Human-like interaction
  • Versatility and variety of responses
  • Low data input requirements
  • Highly scalable
  • Adjustable coherence and adaptability

What does it mean for banking and financial services?

Banks can use ChatGPT in several ways to enhance their operations and customer experience. Here are a few examples:

  1. Assistive chatbots: ChatGPT can be used to build natural language-based chatbots that can assist customers with common inquiries, such as account balances, transaction history, and bill payments. The chatbot also can guide customers through more complex processes like applying for a loan or a credit card. It also could help increase agent efficiency by aggregating requests by type to the appropriate departments
  2. Automation of simple and repetitive tasks: ChatGPT, along with other conversational AI models, can be used to automate simple and repetitive tasks, such as customer service interactions, order processing, and data entry. This can increase efficiency and lower costs for service providers and their clients
  3. Customer service: ChatGPT can assist the human agent in answering customer questions, improving efficiency and response time, and providing more accurate and detailed information. This can improve customer service and satisfaction and employee onboarding
  4. Marketing: Banks can use ChatGPT to analyze customer data and build personalized marketing campaigns that target specific customer segments. It also can generate personalized responses to customer inquiries by fine-tuning the model to a specific client, enabling it to generate tailored responses to their needs
  5. Decision Making: With the right database connections and integrations, ChatGPT can be used to analyze data to generate insights that can be used in decision making
  6. Learning and development: ChatGPT can be used as a learning and development tool. It can be trained with a company’s pre-existing data to create learning tools and modules and as an onboarding tool for new employees

Current mapping of ChatGPT to the BFS BPS value chain

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Current use cases of ChatGPT in banking and financial services (BFS) and business process services (BPS) operations are limited. Building capabilities around conversational AI and incorporating ChatGPT into offering portfolios can help BFS and BPS firms unlock innovation. Enterprises such as Microsoft, AWS, and Meta are developing their capabilities internally or through partnerships with conversation AI specialists.

Industries leading in innovation investments are becoming early adopters of ChatGPT. Microsoft is reportedly investing US$10 billion in OpenAI and plans to introduce it along with its Azure OpenAI service bundle in the Bing search engine. This furthers Microsoft’s stake in the market, where it already has a working partnership with OneReach.ai, one of the market’s leading conversation AI providers, since 2019.

Current capabilities still have hurdles to overcome

Although ChatGPT appears to have multiple uses and strengths, some limitations include:

  • Biased and inconsistent output: Content generated by ChatGPT depends on the trained data, making it prone to biases. It is difficult to achieve the same level of consistency in output generated. Cases requiring more context and complexities may lead to biased and inconsistent output. When training for complex operations such as trade reconciliation, exception management, and know your customer (KYC) remediation, the subject matter experts (SMEs) must be well-versed with minute details, which can’t be guaranteed when using ChatGPT
  • Standardized data requirement: ChatGPT cannot process different file types or extract information from them. A lot of consumer data is often received in varied file types and formats that require intelligent operations to skim through and sort, which is beyond ChatGPT’s current text-based data capabilities
  • Largely text driven: Its text-based generated content can fall short of expectations for the coming generation of users that desire more visual stimulation. Dashboards and descriptive analytics have become a basic requirement of all transaction-intensive industries that ChatGPT cannot fulfill
  • Limited ability to handle sensitive customer information: ChatGPT may not have the necessary security and privacy measures to handle sensitive customer information, such as account numbers or personal identification numbers. With the ever-evolving compliance norms varying across industries, it doesn’t yet have the capability or the secure framework to process, analyze, and interpret KYC or transaction data
  • Outdated information: ChatGPT’s information database is limited to data up until 2021 and can result in outdated opinions and facts. Deals, news, and updates in recent years aren’t recorded. For a constantly-evolving industry like BFS, where new deals and contracts dictate the capital markets, this makes the source of information unreliable
  • Ethical concerns: As artificial intelligence improves, the lack of proper credit for AI-generated content is becoming more widespread. The distinction between content created by AI and content created by humans is becoming less clear, causing confusion, mistrust, and ethical dilemmas
  • System Integration issues: Incorporating new technology with outdated systems can be difficult due to potential incompatibilities and differing protocols or data formats. This can decrease efficiency, add complexity, and impair interoperability

 Where will the future take ChatGPT?

While ChatGPT’s future looks promising, it is too early to say the product will revolutionize banking and financial services. Before it gets integrated into banking products, it needs to overcome several hurdles, including:

  • Responding to competition from rising financial technology (FinTech), regulatory technology (RegTechs), and other AI/Machine Learning (ML) service providers
  • Meeting regulatory, compliance, and cybersecurity requirements
  • Catering first to front-office requirements for low-critical queries and then for more complex queries and back-office operations that have not yet been explored
  • Maintaining high operational efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction
  • Expanding variation in output categories
  • Overcoming the lack of recent factual data

Though ChatGPT use cases are promising, it is still a machine learning model that needs modifications to be used in real-world applications. The model would have to consume specific industry data to build domain depth and be programmed to manage contextual nuances for various tasks. Its ultimate success would depend on end customers’ user experiences.

While the road is being paved for innovation, ChatGPT still has a long way to go before making strides into banking and financial services.

To further illustrate the nature of results and drill down on the capacity of ChatGPT, below are some screenshots for financial crime and compliance queries (platforms, codes, advisory):

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If you have questions about banking and financial services trends or would like to discuss developments in this space, reach out to [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].

Also, download our Navigating the Regulatory Tightrope via End-to-End Solutions – Financial Crime and Compliance (FCC) State of the Market 2022 report to explore key trends. Stay updated by following the latest research on Banking and Financial Business Process Services.

The Promising Future of AI Translation in CXM | Blog

Driven by new technological innovations, Artificial Intelligence (AI) translation holds the promise to reshape the customer experience by transforming conversation channels, increasing agent efficiency, and reducing the need for language specialist talent. Read on to learn about the potential for the CXM industry as well as the obstacles that need to be overcome before AI platforms can eventually replace human agents.

While machine translation (MT) has been used for more than five decades, recent developments in AI and neural machine translation models have sparked new interest in AI translation to improve customer experience.

Today’s AI engines are being trained to translate 1000-plus human languages in real time and develop the ability to understand large volumes of text data. These innovations are revolutionizing the CXM industry by increasing agent efficiency and accuracy.

While the advances have just started and developing the ability to translate instantaneous voice conversations will take some time, AI translation’s potential is generating a lot of excitement. Let’s explore its promise further.

What is AI translation?

AI translation is a machine translation process using complex algorithms to understand the source data in its original language and translate it into a wide range of other languages.

Advanced AI/ML technology has improved machine translation accuracy, enabling it to better mimic the human brain’s ability to process spoken and written words and comprehend phrases, voice tones, complex sentence structures, and human sentiments.

Impact of AI translation technology on the traditional customer experience management (CXM) industry

With its people-heavy operating model, the traditional CXM industry has always struggled to attract and retain talent, which is especially difficult when language skills also are required.

Many service providers have invested heavily in building multilingual hubs in a broad spectrum of locations and recruiting agents from around the world or in training to improve language proficiency.

However, meeting the vast language and dialect diversification needs across the globe is nearly impossible and puts huge financial pressure on service providers to provide language capabilities in every spoken language a client may require.

This is why AI translation is a real game changer in CXM. It is already transforming conversation channels, increasing agent efficiency, reducing the demand for human language talent, and saving huge operational expenses – and additional opportunities still exist for further development.

Pros and cons of AI translations

Customer satisfaction and agent efficiency are major deciding criteria for companies in selecting a CXM service provider. Research has shown that customers feel more appreciated when they interact with an agent in their native language, positively influencing their buying decisions and increasing customer brand loyalty.

Using AI translation to respond to customers’ queries can offer numerous advantages, including the ability to offer services in many diversified languages and dialects through omnichannel conversation platforms such as chat, email, voice, and social media in the local language.

Other benefits include:

  • Increased agent efficiency and speed for agents who may be slower working in a second or third language
  • Reduced need for a multilingual talent pool
  • Faster time to proficiency of agents
  • Decreased need for sites in local countries

Currently, AI translations primarily are used for text data translation. With expanding data libraries and AI engine training, text data translation accuracy is improving rapidly. But to have broader application success, AI translation must:

  • Expand beyond simple, repetitive queries
  • Gain insight into human emotions and sentiments
  • Reduce contextualization errors to improve accuracy
  • Acquire a full understanding of local nuances, tone, formality, vernacular, slang, and colloquialism
  • Eliminate human supervision

Current AI translation technology can be inefficient and require human assistance to differentiate between normal conversation and exchanges involving humor or sarcasm. The inability to detect humor or sarcasm is less important in a customer service environment, as customers primarily want to resolve their issue. But it can create problems in content moderation where improper translations and misunderstanding the context of dialogues can lead to reputational losses for brands.

Use of AI translation engines in the CXM industry

To overcome these obstacles and benefit from advanced AI translation technology, many service providers leverage human linguists and digital translator tools to optimize resources.

Digital translator tools bring speed and efficiency, while human experts add accuracy and a personal touch. Combined, these solutions boost agent efficiency and performance by using AI for simple and standardized customer inquiries while transferring inquiries in hard-to-serve, low-volume languages to experts, simultaneously solving the problem of speed and accuracy.

Many service providers have partnered with technology providers to develop AI translation tools to serve their clients globally. For example, Concentrix Lingualab and Webhelp Polyglot combine best-in-class translation engines and machine learning tools with highly skilled language experts in centralized hubs to serve as multilingual service delivery centers. Another BPO provider, Majorel, with their Lingua, too combines machine translation, AI, and crowd-based human quality control.

What does the future hold?

Many technology providers are investing in building advanced translation tools to reduce machine translation engines’ dependence on human linguists.

Translation tools’ limitations will get resolved as AI engines build their content library with diverse languages, predictive replies, industry vocabulary, common phrases, knowledge articles, and vernacular, as well as its understanding of human emotions. The automated self-learnability of AI technology makes it possible to eventually replace humans completely.

Many technology giants also are now focusing on advanced speech translation engines. Meta Universal Speech Translator and Google AI language model are building translation engines that can translate more than 1000 languages.

Technology will also need to solve multiple issues to replace robotic voice delivery with the perfect human voice with flawless command over speech delivery speed, dialect, speaking styles, tone, and slang. And before AI agents fully replace humans, they will also need to understand human sentiments to appropriately reply to customers.

As voice translation tools evolve, they can revolutionize the BPO industry by completely replacing human agents with artificial intelligence platforms. But industry leaders estimate fully operational affordable real-time speech translation tools are still five to 10 years away. These advanced tools offer great potential to change CXM service delivery and transform the customer experience.

If you have questions or would like to discuss developments in this space, reach out to [email protected].

Learn about our Customer Experience Excellence Membership for deep customer experience research and strategy assistance.

And don’t miss our upcoming webinars, LinkedIn sessions, and events for more insight into what AI will bring and customer experience possibilities.

CXM Outsourcing Providers Can Thrive and Grow in the Upcoming Recession: Here’s How

The looming recession offers opportunities for forward-looking Customer Experience Management (CXM) outsourcing providers to emerge stronger. To learn five strategies that can help providers get ready for an economic downturn and win in the long term, read on.

With spiking interest rates across major economies, yield curve inversion in the US, and workforce layoffs by several tech giants, it is largely accepted that the next global recession is imminent (if not already here). A global slowdown may force enterprises to review new or large investments, expansions, or CXM sourcing decisions, directly impacting the CXM outsourcing industry.

While coping with the challenging environment is the immediate priority for third-party CXM providers, it also presents opportunities for proactive providers to emerge from these uncertain times stronger and chart a path for long-term success.

Here are some ways a recession could affect the industry: 

  • CXM outsourcing is expected to endure: Historical data suggests that the demand for Business Process Services (BPS) outsourcing remains resilient during an economic downturn as shown below:

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Source: Everest Group

In a global slowdown, enterprises look for short-term cost wins and quick and tangible benefits from their investments. The variability in cost structures outsourcing offers helps enterprises free their company’s resources, lowers fixed costs, and makes enterprises more flexible and eventually more competitive. This effect can be seen in quarterly releases where many leading CXM providers have raised their most recent like-for-like revenue growth guidance percentage 

  • Essential goods and service industries can act as a safe harbor: According to an Everest Group analysis of the historical correlation between an economic downturn and industry growth, the sectors of Fast-Growth Technology (FGT), travel and hospitality, manufacturing, and luxury retail typically have a higher risk of growth slowdown due to recessions. Healthcare, utilities, consumer packaged goods, and business and financial services (BFS) verticals are less risky and may offer a safety net 
  • Contract renewals may get tough: Enterprises, especially those impacted by the downturn, tend to focus on extracting maximum value at lower prices. To achieve cost efficiencies, enterprises may look for a no-frills approach to CXM outsourcing and remove non-essential components from deals, including value-added services and upsell/cross-sell services – resulting in a decline in the Total Contract Value (TCV)
  • An enhanced focus on digital CX can counteract the effects: During a global slowdown, focusing on superior CX and customer retention becomes imperative while also reducing or keeping operational expenditure stagnant. Third-party service providers with higher technical capabilities can sort customer queries and resolve simple queries with self-serve or other cost-effective channels, reducing voice volumes and operational overheads

Five strategies for CXM providers to navigate a potential recession

A recession can offer opportunities for well-prepared CXM providers to emerge stronger and triumphant. Service providers need to seize the moment and focus on developing strategies that will provide them with short- and long-term gains.

The following strategies can help providers mobilize for a recession:

  • Adopt a digital-first value proposition: Understand that cost reduction while maintaining CX quality is vital for enterprises during an economic downturn. Digital CXM solutions drive cost savings by reducing the cost of operations and service, and support through process optimization, automation, encouraging self-service, and enabling efficient workforce management. Service providers with the capability to manage simple queries leveraging digital technologies such as automation, agent-assist solutions, and conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) can offer better pricing, helping their clients win new contracts, as well as more easily extend and renew existing ones
  • Demonstrate operational flexibility: In economic uncertainty, anticipating operational volumes over the coming months is extremely difficult for enterprises. Service providers should focus on adopting flexing staffing models to quickly ramp their operations up and down based on demand, helping enterprises reduce fixed costs and mitigate operational risk
  • Take a proactive customer approach: Capitalizing on every opportunity for additional revenue becomes even more important during unpredictable economic times. Enterprises should look to partner with third-party providers who actively monitor customer journeys, can identify customer pain points, and offer self-service solutions for addressing low-complexity queries, reducing inbound issues and support tickets. B2B enterprises should explore partnerships with service providers having defined roles, such as Customer Success Managers (CSMs) who are focused on identifying customer preferences and demand patterns to identify the best-fit opportunities to upsell or cross-sell to end-customers
  • Avoid being pressured into bad deals: As the economic cycle enters a downturn, competition over a potentially smaller pie will intensify and can lead to declining prices. Service providers must be financially prudent and avoid pursuing significantly margin dilutive deals. Further, they need to relook at their pricing models and optimize their strategy based on their risk appetite
  • Diversify into recession-proof industries: Service providers with a focus on high recession-prone sectors such as travel and hospitality, luxury retail, or debt-fueled start-ups should look to diversify their portfolio and target verticals where the demand for customer experience management is expected to pick up or at least have the lowest impact during the recession. For instance, payment collection in the utility vertical generally experiences increased demand during recessionary times. While entering new verticals is not an easy task, service providers should identify synergies between their current portfolio and targeted industries to develop their market-entry strategies accordingly

A recession in the next few months appears to be an inescapable reality. Regardless, service providers must be well prepared for continued economic uncertainty. While some providers may need to aggressively transform costs and offerings, others can diversify their portfolios and develop flexible offerings for the future. Providers who prepare now and take appropriate steps will not only navigate through difficult business conditions but also emerge stronger than the competition when conditions improve.

This is the second blog in our latest CXM blog series. To learn about CXM strategy, read the first blog, How a Robust CXM Outsourcing Strategy Can Help Enterprises Navigate the Economic Downturn.

To discuss CXM outsourcing opportunities, contact Shirley Hung, David RickardSharang Sharma, or Divya Baweja.

Customer Data Platform – The Torchbearer of the Personalization at Scale Movement | Blog

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) enable brand marketing teams to build hyper-personalized campaigns and retain high-value loyal customers. Seizing opportunities in this growing market can set brands apart. Learn how to achieve personalization at scale in the second blog in our series.  

In our previous blog, The Rising Role of Customer Data Platforms in Data-driven Personalization, we explored the factors driving CDP’s fast growth of 25 percent in 2022. Let’s now look at how to choose a CDP to gain profitable business outcomes.

The dire need for personalization at scale

True personalization is when Spotify surprises listeners with discovery playlists, when Netflix delivers differentiated experiences to each family member, and when Amazon recommends the exact gift a shopper urgently needs. Personalization at scale happens when companies can perform activities like these for millions of customers, in real-time, and at every relevant time in the customer journey.

Making every customer feel valued and loyal to the brand is the power of personalization. This only can be accomplished by knowing what customers want without being told and delivering it on the right channel and at the precise time.

With the surge in customer touchpoints leading to a massive flood of data from disparate sources and increasingly stringent privacy regulations, delivering tailor-made content for tangible and sustainable business outcomes is direly needed. Marketers today must realize that consumers have an overabundance of options, and demonstrating that they know their consumers better than others is the only way to gain a competitive advantage.

The Customer Data Platform – packaged software that ingests data from multiple sources, draws consumer insights through unique 360-degree profiling, and activates channels – plays a pivotal role in achieving true personalization at scale.

Personalization technology – the role of the customer data platform

Building marketing teams to keep up with the growing customer base is the biggest hurdle enterprises face to personalization at scale. The latest technology can enable marketers to take the long leap from merely collecting demographic data to using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to harness huge amounts of data from disconnected sources.

That’s where the Customer Data Platform comes in.

A CDP’s core function is to create unique customer profiles by collecting data from multiple sources, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, websites, and email campaigns. To achieve personalization at scale, enterprises need best-in-breed platforms that not only collect data but also orchestrate personalized experiences at scale by using smart segmentation, behavioral scores, AI, and ML models that constantly optimize experiences based on real-time interactions.

Choosing the right CDP

Since one size does not fit all, enterprises need to dedicate time and resources to select the right CDP provider that offers expertise aligned with their personalization goals and the use case they prioritize.

Our research finds more than 160 providers offer expertise in these delivery areas and include both enterprise-grade CDPs (such as Salesforce and Adobe) and pure-play CDPs (such as mParticle and Treasure Data).

According to the CDP Institute, four main service categories exist based on capabilities in data, analytics, campaigns, and delivery, as illustrated below:

Exhibit 1:  Customer data platforms categories based on capabilities

Exhibit 1:  Customer data platforms categories based on capabilities

Enterprises need to consider many factors when shortlisting CDP vendors, including marketing technology capabilities, vendor maturity, business use case alignment with the vendor’s core strengths, and pricing flexibility.

Evaluating technology features is extremely critical. The CDP Institute defines “shared features” as essential elements for a platform to qualify as a CDP and “distinguished features” as enhancements to the basic platform:

Exhibit 2: Features of customer data platforms 

Shared Features Distinguished features
Persistent Data Data Management
Unified Profiles Identity Management
Ingest and Retain Data Website Management
Manage PII (Personally Identifiable Information) Mobile App Data SDK
External access B2B specific use cases
Analytics
  Engagement

People and process recommendations

Selecting the right CDP only solves one piece of the entire personalization puzzle. Enterprises also need to further optimize their internal operating models and align their teams with their overall business objectives to ensure success.

Below are the key elements needed to optimize people and processes to achieve personalization at scale:

  • Setting goals – Marketers need to make sure the entire team is aligned with customer end goals before implementing any personalization technology.
  • Removing silos – True personalization only can be achieved if customers have consistent experiences across touchpoints. As enterprises scale and these touchpoints increase, the number of teams that own them rises. This can lead to varied unconnected customer experiences across channels, provoking scenarios where the marketing team promotes a certain offer and the customer care executive denies it to the customer. Brands need open communication across teams to ensure alignment in tone and messaging.
  • Hiring the right talent – In the talent war, enterprises find it extremely difficult to hire and retain the right type of data engineering and data science talent to achieve personalization at scale. Organizations need a talent strategy for their personalization efforts.

Although achieving sustainable personalization at scale can seem daunting, brands that gain the first-mover advantage will benefit by retaining loyal customers and increasing their lifetime value, reducing time to market, and improving workflow efficiency.

Consumers today expect sophisticated experiences that can predict their unspoken demands, and marketers must acknowledge this mindset paradigm shift to remain relevant. Brands that can personalize the customer experience at scale will differentiate themselves in the cut-throat marketing landscape.

To discuss Customer Data Platforms, contact Vaani Sharma at [email protected].

Learn more in our blog, How a Robust CXM Outsourcing Strategy Can Help Enterprises Navigate the Economic Downturn.

The Sports Marketing Playbook is Being Rewritten! Are you Ready? | Blog

The FIFA World Cup 2022 was a global arena for marketers and brands to display revolutionary technologies that create immersive fan experiences based on Web 3.0. But to be game changers in the sports industry, organizations will need to digitally transform their fan engagement, media, partnerships, sponsorships, and content, effectively rewriting the sports marketing playbook. Read on to learn recommendations and winning examples to ensure you don’t drop the ball.   

With over a million fans having visited Qatar for the World Cup, the tournament is expected to have been one of the largest sporting events for brands in the digital world. A plethora of brands and tech companies competed to score points by creating unique fan experiences at stadiums and off-location.

What differentiated this World Cup from others is how brands harnessed the hype with a range of digital assets, virtual worlds, Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality (AR/VR) tools, and other Web 3.0-based solutions. In this blog, we explore this further and share some innovative use cases.

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Digital technology is unlocking unprecedented opportunities in the global sports industry, valued at approximately $2.3 trillion. But to fully capitalize on this growth, sports organizations will have to go through a digital overhaul in four major areas.

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Fan engagement

Organizations are leveraging technology to move from reactive to proactive fan engagement in the following ways:

Elevating the fan experience: Seamless fan engagement, both off-venue and on-venue, has become critical in providing a great fan experience, especially post-pandemic. Today’s fans expect more personalized and customized experiences across multiple channels. Cloud-based solutions and technologies such as AR/VR are being deployed to deliver these experiences to fans.

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Developing robust loyalty programs: Sports fans have an unwavering loyalty towards their favorite teams and players. These fans are a notch above traditional customers as the sport is linked to their sense of identity.

Sports organizations are investing in loyalty programs to reward fans for their commitment and passion for the sport. These programs are also using digital assets such as Non-fungible Tokens (NFT) to incentivize their most loyal fans. Additionally, they are leveraging these platforms to create year-round engagement with fans to establish loyalty that extends beyond the game season.

Media management

The rise of digital media, coupled with the pandemic, has had a transformational impact on sports broadcasting and media.

Increased adoption of digital streaming platforms: Overall linear TV viewership has been declining due to factors such as the rise of streaming platforms, changes in the media landscape, and consumer behavior. This is no different in sports. Major leagues are signing digital broadcasting deals with streaming platforms, leading to increased ad spend on these platforms.

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Leveraging influencer marketing: Sports has given rise to some of the world’s biggest celebrities, to say the least, and social media channels have turned them into influencers who are more accessible to their fans than ever before (Football star Cristiano Ronaldo recently became the first person in the world to surpass 500 million followers on Instagram, and these are not just followers, they are fans driven by passion!). Brands are leveraging platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to cultivate a personalized connection with fans through simpler technological innovations and highly engaging content.

Building digital infrastructure: A strong digital infrastructure in the form of websites, mobile apps, and Customer Data Platforms (CDP) is not only crucial to reach the target audience, but it is also a rich source of first-party data for sports organizations.

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Partnership/sponsor management

Partnerships and sponsor management in the sports industry is also evolving past its traditional confines:

Moving from sponsorships to partnerships: Organizations are putting skin in the game to improve fan experience and build awareness for their brand through more purposeful and riveting partnerships, instead of just sponsoring a sporting event or branding jerseys and venues.

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Evolving merchandising play: Sports merchandising includes sports-related equipment, clothing, and collectibles, among other things. E-commerce and social commerce are changing how fans purchase merchandise and with the advent of digital assets like NFT, the nature of the collectibles also is changing.

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Content management

When games change in a fraction of a second, delivering content that resonates with fans at the right time and place is imperative. Here’s how it is being done:

Data-driven content: Technologies such as (but not limited to) optical tracking and wearables have given organizations access to newer and richer data points. While this data can help with decision making and team strategies, marketers are widely leveraging it to create content that can give fans unique insights and a more nuanced understanding of the game.

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Dynamic and real-time content: Just like fast-moving sporting events, fans expect dynamic and real-time content. Organizations are relying on cloud-based solutions and AI-enabled tools to deliver the in-moment excitement and thrill associated with any sport.

A winner’s playbook to enable marketing in sports

To enable the new era of sports marketing, sports organizations need to build systems driven by intelligent automation, omnichannel experiences, and data, see the exhibit below.

Capture

Sports has always been and continues to be a force that brings people across demographics together. Digital advertisers and sponsors who manage to extend the passion, excitement, and loyalty fans have for their teams to their brands will see incredible results over time.

The stage is set, and the ball is now in the marketer’s court: will they become MVPs? Or have-beens? Only time will tell.

To discuss evolving marketing trends, contact Nishant Jeyanth and Mustafa Pitolwala.

Learn more in our webinar, How are Leading Organizations Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience?

How a Robust CXM Outsourcing Strategy Can Help Enterprises Navigate the Economic Downturn | Blog

Superior customer experience management (CXM) is even more vital in tough economic times when enterprises want to retrench. But through strategic CXM outsourcing, organizations can generate significant business value now and emerge stronger when conditions improve. 

Geopolitical tensions causing supply-side disruptions, the highest inflation numbers since the 1980s, and rising interest rates creating tremendous inflationary pressure on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth have put many of the world’s largest economies on the brink of recession.

A recession would significantly hinder investments by enterprises in many industries in CX initiatives. But by partnering with outsourcing providers, enterprises can navigate these difficult times and come out ahead of competitors. Let’s explore how.   

Importance of enterprises’ investments in CX during an economic downturn

During recessions, consumer sentiment and confidence drastically fall, making it even more crucial for enterprises to deliver superior customer experiences. Continuing to invest in CX can be worth it for these key reasons:

  • Customer retention is cheaper than customer acquisition: Failing to maintain good customer service during a crisis can reduce customer confidence, severely impacting brand trust. Superior customer experience is a must-have to retain customers and enhance their lifetime value. This becomes even more important during recessions when gaining new customers is more difficult. In uncertain times, people double down on brands they trust rather than risk spending on unknown products that may disappoint them
  • Experience management is necessary to understand customers’ changing needs during a crisis: Customer expectations change in a down economy. Understanding the effects of fast-eroding customer confidence and the impact of emotions on customer relationships is crucial to addressing changing customer wants and needs. This shift also represents an opportunity for enterprises to gain a competitive advantage by addressing changing customer requirements
  • Superior CX helps organizations avoid price wars: Consumers are even more price sensitive during recessions. By delivering superior CX, an organization can stand out without having to cut prices to compete

CXM outsourcing is a viable option during an economic downturn

In this challenging environment, enterprises’ immediate goals are to reduce costs, streamline operations, and achieve quick and tangible benefits from all their investments.

A strategic third-party service provider can help organizations achieve these objectives, enabling them to better manage the downturn and accelerate their recovery. Providers can deliver the following benefits:

  • Cost effectiveness: During recessionary times, demand for major enterprises’ goods and services takes a hit, affecting top lines, while fixed expenses remain stagnant. Through CXM outsourcing, organizations can convert these fixed expenses into more variable costs representing huge cost savingsfor many organizations. Selective outsourcing is one of the many effective strategies to control a company’s budget without compromising work quality
  • Flexibility in managing resources: A global slowdown can force enterprises to reduce hiring, freeze salaries, or reduce their workforce. CXM outsourcing offers the flexibility to ramp resources up and down depending on need without having to lay off employees and hurt overall organizational morale
  • Enhanced efficiency: Third-party CXM providers offer extensive pooled experiences, knowledge of existing and upcoming technologies, and awareness of best practices in the marketplace. These teams of experts can provide valuable insights to guide an organization’s CXM strategy and maximize efficiency
  • Providing the necessary digital push: Investing in internal digital initiatives in uncertain economic times becomes difficult – even when long-term benefits are clear. Leveraging a third-party provider to support digital CX initiatives in a strategic partnership-led model can allow enterprises to accelerate their digital road maps while avoiding upfront costs through innovative pricing models

To thrive with a looming recession and emerge on top when economic conditions improve, enterprises need to look at their business strategies now and evaluate the potential opportunities to outsource all or part of their customer experience management services.

Enterprises should begin by identifying key areas that could be outsourced, such as lead generation, payment collections, and technical support. As they achieve success, organizations can then expand contracts – striving to outsource their end-to-end CX services while strategically engaging with service providers to generate significant business value.

Read the second blog in this series for further insights on the CXM outsourcing market, CXM Outsourcing Providers Can Thrive and Grow in the Upcoming Recession: Here’s How.

To discuss CXM outsourcing opportunities, contact Shirley Hung, David Rickard, Sharang Sharma, and Divya Baweja.

Don’t miss our webinar, Key Issues for 2023: Rise Above Economic Uncertainty and Succeed, to hear major concerns, expectations, and key trends expected to amplify in 2023.

The Rising Role of Customer Data Platforms in Data-driven Personalization | Blog

By bringing together disparate data to gain a single customer view, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are becoming increasingly important to help brands drive personalized marketing efforts while maintaining trust and privacy. Learn more about the benefits of Customer Data Platforms and why they matter in this blog.

With the explosion of data on consumers’ spending and online behavior available from a multitude of sources today, gleaning valuable insights from the massive amounts of information is a top priority for brands.

But unifying the various disconnected touch points clearly and comprehensively to make sense of all the data is one of the biggest challenges facing marketers.

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) have emerged as an important software solution that can help businesses get closer to consumers and achieve their organizational goals. Let’s explore what is driving the rise of CDPs.

Shift to data-driven marketing

Third-party cookies stored within users’ browsers have historically been a key marketing technology to track visitor behavior activity, improve the user experience, and collect metadata.

But today’s new consumer priorities, data privacy laws, and evolving technologies are leading to the third-party cookie’s demise. Following Safari’s lead in 2016, the world’s three main browsers eliminated (or will eliminate) the use of third-party cookies.

In addition to the demise of third-party cookies, other developments are limiting the use of consumer data for marketers. On the mobile/tablet devices side, Apple’s iOS 14 now requires explicit consent for any mobile identification collection.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and other similar regulations are impacting consumer data collection and processing. In addition, 71% of countries have data protection and privacy regulations and 9% have draft legislations, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD.)

These developments significantly impact the consumer targeting capabilities of advertisers who often depend on third-party data. The vast majority of advertisers use or have used retargeting and old-generation Data Management Platforms (DMPs) that rely heavily on segments fed by third-party data.

Along with targeting, measurement is also significantly hindered. With more stringent consent collection requirements, collecting the consumer identifications needed to track impressions, clicks, or views and reconstruct complete customer journeys is more difficult.

These changes represent a major shift in data-driven marketing – leading to greater reliance on first- and second-party data to meet the challenges of an increasingly privacy-focused world.

But the unfortunate reality is that most organizations simply aren’t ready to adapt to these trends.

In our report Emergence of CDPs: Charting the Path to Data-driven Personalization, we estimate that even though 90% of businesses agree that data-driven marketing is the future, only 20% consider themselves highly mature enterprises, citing the high cost of data acquisition, limited automation, and data fragmentation as some of the top challenges.

How can enterprises prepare?

With this imminent shift from third-party to first- and second-party data, the changing regulatory environment, and evolving customer expectations for omnichannel and hyper-personalized experiences, enterprises are actively investigating new ways of collecting and activating customer data to drive personalization while fostering customer trust.

This is where CDPs become increasingly important and act as a central repository for the marketing stack.

A CDP allows enterprises to capture and store user data to link with all the users’ interactions, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and eCommerce platforms, social media, websites, and apps. Having data from multiple different systems improves the likelihood of identifying an individual. See the customer data platform framework below:

Customer data platform framework

Screenshot 2022 11 10 093829

 

By gaining a single customer view, brands can better understand customer requirements and up-to-date communications preferences, personalize individual brand experiences based on past behavior, and create personalized recommendations for customer segments. All of this can be achieved using unique, relevant, and accurate information that a person has willingly shared with the brand.

CDPs do not replace existing data systems. Instead, their role is to enhance current tools’ capabilities, mitigate risk from the third-party cookie demise, and power marketing teams with near real-time best-in-class audience selection. CDPs bring together existing customer data, anonymous floating attributes, and digital behavior across channels, devices, and tools.

Customer data platform landscape

Adoption is on the rise with, CDPs being viewed by enterprises as one of the most viable, future-proof solutions for managing the overwhelmingly disparate data streams that today’s brands gather and generate about their consumers and prospects.

Enterprises have many choices in this rapidly expanding market, including:

  • Large enterprises like Adobe, Oracle, and Salesforce that are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the space and offer CDP as part of a greater MarTech (marketing technology) package
  • Pure play CDP players like Celebrus, mParticle, and Treasure Data that are purpose-built to support and address CDP use cases first that don’t need to be integrated into a larger system

Along with the growth in new entrants, the CDP space has seen a flurry of merger and acquisition activity in recent years of players that have showcased their unique data, campaign, analytics, and delivery capabilities, as illustrated below to see merger and acquisition activity in the customer data platform landscape.

Merger and acquisition activity in the customer data platform landscape

Screenshot 2022 11 10 094205

The road ahead for customer data platforms

As the data management landscape continues to rapidly evolve, CDPs will play an important role in the marketing tech stack and enable marketers to achieve true 1:1 personalization.

For enterprises to reach the desired business outcomes and mitigate risks in their personalization journeys, they should follow a comprehensive roadmap with the following four steps for data-driven 1:1 personalization:

Roadmap for data-driven 1:1 personalization

Screenshot 2022 11 10 094416

 

For more, see our report, Emergence of CDPs: Charting the Path to Data-driven Personalization, or view our webinar, Hyper-personalization Using Customer Data Platforms (CDPs). To discuss Customer Data Platforms further, please reach out to Sandeep P at [email protected].

Discover  how CX leaders can meet the expectations of their digitally enabled customers in our webinar, How are Leading Organizations Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience?

The Evolution to Open Finance Offers Promise: Everest Group’s Open Banking Research | Blog

Open banking – a system that provides third-party access to financial data through application programming interfaces (APIs) – has unlocked digital financial innovation and disruption. Its next evolution – open finance – holds the promise to greatly enhance the customer experience and empower users of financial services. Read on for more on our latest open banking research.   

A combination of government regulation and market forces has created a growing demand for open financial data to build an expanded provider ecosystem beyond banks and financial institutions to also include non-financial platforms, FinTechs, and payment facilitators.

According to the recent forecast by the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), more than 6 million individuals and businesses in the United Kingdom regularly use open banking services. Payment volumes on open banking-related services increased dramatically to around 21.1 million transactions over the six months through March 2022, compared to 6.1 million during the same period.

The first wave of open banking has given customers and third parties easy digital access to their financial data from banks and other traditional financial institutions. This has solved critical issues for customers by ensuring better account visibility and convenient payment access.

In the next stage of open finance, an individual’s entire financial footprint, such as mortgages, savings, pensions, insurance, and credit, can be opened up to trusted third-party APIs with consumer consent. Brazil is expected to move into this final stage of its four-part implementation of open banking by the end of the year.

Open finance offers the following key benefits:

  • Improved customer experience – By opening access to financial instruments, personal financing, and asset and wealth management, companies can create personalized products and services to meet customer needs
  • More inclusive – Open finance has addressed the critical need of making financial practices more accessible and provides simplified banking for a large portion of the unbanked population in growing geographies
  • Greater transparency – Open finance lifts the veil for customers on their financial options, giving them clearer insights into their full financial pictures
  • Customer empowerment – Banking customers are better informed to decide if their current providers or services are best for them, giving them greater financial freedom

Open banking research findings

Let’s take a look at how banks and financial institutions, FinTechs, small- and mid-sized businesses, and banking and financial services (BFS) providers will be impacted by this powerful trend:

Banks and financial institutions

Data architecture will need to be redesigned to help banks manage data securely, quickly, and efficiently. Firms will use an API-based microservices approach to make data more accessible, thereby enhancing digital agility.

For example, US Bank and Plaid announced a partnership in 2021 to connect the bank’s customers to third-party accounts. Plaid will provide the open APIs to initiate third-party payments between the bank and financial apps such as Robinhood and Venmo.

This approach also allows banks to leverage their data internally. Bankers and traders can access personalized front-end applications.

The potential to develop new API-led products with relative ease is another exciting benefit. New API products can create additional direct monetization streams and access to newer customer segments. This can lead to better customer lifetime value and predictably improve long-term profitability. Barclays, for instance, enabled account aggregation in their mobile banking app to allow customers to view other bank accounts within the same app.

FinTechs

Open banking has produced a space for FinTechs to innovate in a sector otherwise dominated by traditional banks. It has created countless opportunities for competition and collaboration. Some examples include:

  • Payment infrastructure provider Dapi and FinTech firm Afterbanks launched real-time account and data aggregation services via an API in Mexico in 2021
  • Prometeo, an open banking platform provider, launched its payment API for the Latin American market enabling efficient exchanges using API connectivity and providing a single access point to information and payments

As illustrated below, the FinTech ecosystem has morphed into three distinct categories: challengers (direct competitors that have built digital-only banks and financial institutions), collaborators (partners with traditional banks to leverage open APIs), and enablers (infrastructure and platform support providers):

Picture1 1

Small- and mid-sized enterprises

Open banking creates efficient and seamless business processes for small- and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) and can assist in effectively delivering accounting, payroll management, and auditing services. For example:

  • Mexican FinTech Kavak offers same-day application and loan approval to customers
  • Neobank Plurall launched its services in Columbia and focused on improving the financial inclusion of SMEs

BFS firms

Adoption of open banking poses some challenges for BFS firms that fall broadly under these categories, as illustrated below:

  • Change management and business alignment
    • As banks adopt a customer-centric approach and align their business strategies with customer engagement, they will need to expand their offerings to position themselves as end-to-end customer experience enablers
    • Banks must widely market their own APIs to developers for wider adoption across various open banking platforms being built
  • Extending offerings beyond the regulatory mandate
    • Enterprises should not limit their open banking capabilities to what is mandated by regulators but venture beyond to gain a competitive advantage. They should offer more APIs and undertake integration with new sales channels
    • Data security and privacy should take center stage in all branding efforts to earn consumers’ confidence
  • Augmenting the value proposition
    • Banks must focus on giving customers greater control over their data and enhancing the customer experience by providing more convenient payment methods, account aggregation services, and tailored product offerings as incentives to adopt open banking
  • Managing the shortage of trained talent
    • Access to the required skills for scaled open banking adoption is hampered by a demand-supply gap that requires BFS enterprises to pay a heavy premium for talent
    • Financial institutions must focus on workforce hiring, training, and revamping to equip their employees to contribute to the digital metamorphosis powered by open banking

Picture2

To learn more about our open banking research and discuss your experiences in these emerging areas, contact [email protected], and [email protected]. Follow our webinars and blogs to learn more about upcoming technologies and trends.

To learn more about customer experience trends and how CX leaders are assessing their future customer experience delivery needs, watch our webinar, How are Leading Organizations Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience?

Why Metaverse Growth Will Put Trust and Safety (T&S) Center Stage

With Metaverse growth expected to surge to US$679 billion by 2030, its influence and possibilities seem endless. But with great power comes great responsibility. Read on to learn why and how organizations must ensure Trust and Safety (T&S) for metaverse to realize its potential.

The metaverse’s arrival is inevitable and will, for better or worse, be part of our future lives. The metaverse could rival massive shifts in history like the telephone and the internet and, in the next few decades, bring together people in ways we never imagined.

Metaverse growth is expected to increase internet data use by 20 times from sharing personal and financial data, social interactions enhanced by Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR), and the evolution of video and live streaming content.

But jumping on the metaverse bandwagon won’t be the difficult part – how to keep it secure will be.

Why now is the time to think through the risks of metaverse growth

Organizations that use or provide metaverse services will need to think hard about the implications and work to align with T&S policies, laws, and regulations in parallel to metaverse initiatives to inspire a safe, privacy-sensitive, and regulated environment.

The metaverse promises opportunities for innovation and growth. It could allow companies to reinvent the user experience through an immersive environment and create deeper engagement.

But, if the metaverse is a place where users are meant to communicate, collaborate, co-create, and share ideas, then shouldn’t we expect it to be safe? However, there are incidences already emerging of users being put at risk of security breaches, increased abuse, exposure to the proliferation of objectionable content, and financial fraud.

It will take a village to regulate the metaverse

Organizations will need to align with T&S providers and stakeholders, such as governments, academia, civil society, and possibly others, to identify loopholes and take measures to address gaps before any wrongdoing occurs. Organizations will have to put T&S policies, technologies, and processes in place and think through how they will moderate the metaverse at scale and how it can be done in real time to keep up with the complex forms of interactive live streaming. They will also need to consider how to ensure the well-being of their human moderators, who can be exposed to egregious content over long periods of time. This could mean initiating full teams that work in parallel to the development, deployment, and enrichment of metaverse.

What does this mean for the T&S services industry?

Enterprises across industries are already relying on third-party T&S services to make their current engagement platforms safe for their users. Over the next decade, the demand for T&S services to help maintain metaverse growth and safety will be immense and likely produce an ecosystem of T&S providers and partnerships from various entities. Utilizing T&S service providers, and even specialized service providers, is one-way enterprises can access expertise in risk mitigation and gain guidance and resources for safer metaverse deployments.

The T&S services market is already growing at a blinding speed of 35-38% and is estimated to reach US$15-20 billion by 2024. However, it can see additional 25-30% growth as metaverse scales.

See the exhibit below.

Picture1 1

Learn more about the current market surrounding the metaverse and how partnering with third parties can keep the public safe and aligned with legal and regulatory T&S requirements in our report, Taming the Hydra: Trust and Safety (T&S) in the Metaverse. And discover how organizations are addressing the possibilities and challenges of metaverse growth in our upcoming LinkedIn Live session, Trust and Safety (T&S) in the Metaverse – With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.

Three CRM Insights to Prepare for the Future of Customer Experience | Blog

Despite the overall growth in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) industry, the CRM platform market remains static. To achieve the business value enterprises desire, changes need to be made. In this blog, we share our CRM insights and three recommendations for CRM platform evaluation.

With the rapid proliferation of channels, products, and customer personas, the industrialization of personalized experience delivery poses the biggest challenge for all enterprises across industries. CRM is integral to enabling this experience transformation.

According to Everest Group research, the overall CRM market has increased approximately 15% year-over-year, primarily driven by the growth of Salesforce and other SaaS applications of SAP, Microsoft, and Adobe.

But let’s not confuse the industry’s top-line growth with customer success. The Solow paradox or productivity slowdown is still here. The bottom line: today’s CRM platform market is oversold and underdelivered. In a frenzy to meet YOY linear growth targets and bigger deal sizes, almost 30% of the licenses sold go unutilized by enterprises.

Three key CRM insights to watch

As we enter Dreamforce’s 20th year, below are our recommendations on fundamental changes that are needed in the CRM industry.

1- Bridge the customer experience and customer success disconnect:  While most cloud CRM platforms are growing in high double digits, they are not achieving the same business value growth. Most customer success metrics are defined and managed by vendors and continue to have a singular focus on customer satisfaction. While an enterprise IT organization may be happy with completing implementations on time and within budget, our research suggests that almost 50% of enterprises are not satisfied with the business value realized from their platform investments.

Recommendation: CRM platform players need to evolve the definition of customer satisfaction (CSAT) and their customer success programs. These should be managed independently of the organization’s sales and marketing functions. Service providers must work closely with platform vendors and customers to proactively define and track IT-business metrics. Niche platform players such as Qualtrics stand to make a significant dent by putting experience and operational data side by side to wholistically define customer experience.

2 – Create data-driven and connected operations: Industry-specific cloud applications are a key investment area for most CRM vendors. However, our ongoing Salesforce industry cloud services PEAK Matrix assessment found CRM vendors are pushing these products rather than enterprises pulling for them. This is because these products need high customization and fail to make a dent in managing and integrating data for specific micro industries. Each micro-industry has a unique operating model that requires data architecture tailored to the context. These industry products need to get the data strategy right for each industry-specific operation and bring in the openness for ecosystem integration. Platform investments by Salesforce, Adobe, and others in the Customer Data Platform (CDP) space are a silver lining for the commerce industry. But these CDPs should eventually evolve into intelligent data hubs and provide a platform for enterprises to create dynamic and contextual applications.

Recommendation: Industry-specific cloud solutions need to be built by keeping data architecture and integration for the micro-industry at the core. Making such fundamental changes is difficult for platform giants, which creates opportunities for emerging platform vendors to compete and differentiate. Vendors such as Zoho have differentiated themselves in an almost monopolistic industry by taking a long-game strategy and changing products at the architectural level.

Service partners need to use their industry expertise and prioritize micro industries to closely innovate with both emerging and large platform vendors. Together, they need to build meaningful products for their customers rather than being caught up in the frenzy to fulfill license sale Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

3- Expand and further simplify platform native workflow automation and low-code capabilities: As many as 60% of new application development engagements consider low-code platforms, according to Everest Group’s recent market study. Present workflow-building tools and low-code capabilities that are native to CRM platforms are still immature. This is pushing enterprises to spend hefty dollars on workflow and low-code platforms and then invest additional money on customization to integrate them with their CRM platform.

Recommendation: Salesforce has been a pioneer in this space and continues to lead the market, which has resonated well with its customers. Other CRM vendors who lack capabilities and focus here may give Salesforce inroads into their existing accounts. Service partners need to educate the market about low-code and workflow automation’s potential to transform industry-specific customer experiences.

We will be attending Dreamforce this September to share our CRM insights and would welcome hearing your views on CRM platform evaluation. To schedule a meeting, please reach out to [email protected] and [email protected].

Attend our webinar, How are Leading Organizations Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience?, to learn more about customer experience today.

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