Conclusion: More than deployment


Our research makes clear that brands’ use of emerging technologies can greatly enhance the customer experience and help to strengthen loyalty, but that, if misused, they can be ineffective or even detrimental to the brand-customer relationship. Ensuring the former outcome requires a strategic, well-thoughtthrough approach to the adoption and use of such technologies in all a company’s customer-facing operations.

At a minimum, such an approach should provide for the following:

Companies must conduct thorough research into their customers’ needs and behaviors and discover how best to use emerging technologies to create a positive emotional connection with their brands. Only then should they begin to make decisions about which technologies to invest in and how they should be deployed.

Integrated change
As in all facets of enterprise activity, making effective use of emerging technologies in customer-facing operations requires considerable attention to ancillary areas, such as training, process change and culture change. It also requires technology integration—in particular, the elimination of data siloes to ensure that all agents and technology tools act on the basis of common, accurate and current customer data.

AI and other emerging-technology fields discussed in this report remain relatively nascent, and businesses are having to learn by trial and error how best to use them in an enterprise environment. Brands should adopt a “crawl, walk, run” approach to using new technologies in customer-facing operations. Experimentation with use cases should be the norm before seeking to scale them up.

Leadership buy-in
Customer experience, and by extension loyalty, cannot benefit from new technologies if the data and insights flowing from them do not influence decisions made at senior levels about how to improve customer interactions. A C-level voice is needed—from marketing, technology, or other key functions—to ensure that this link is strong.

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