Gartner SymposiumGenesys recently attended the world’s largest strategic IT event, The Gartner IT Symposium, where CIOs and IT leaders from around the world discussed customer experience and contact center strategic directions for the coming year. The event’s theme was Digital Business is Upon Us, and it covered how the “nexus of forces of cloud, mobile, social and information” will impact businesses in the coming decade.  As stated by Gartner CEO Gene Hall, “every business must now be a technology business or they will perish.”  I see this statement as the moto for a new digital industrial revolution.

For this blog, I wanted to share some of the key strategic takeaways from the Gartner event, specifically focusing on digital customer service, and what it means for customer experience (CX) leaders.

Here are my 5 key takeaways from Gartner Symposium 2014:

1. Make the Most of Moments – Digital business is about making the most of business moments and now it must be operationalized across the Internet of Things, including wearable technology with sensors in everything coupled with big data.

What does that mean for CX? Customers must be recognized, known and served across their preferred device (e.g mobile) and channel (e.g. text) when they need it. This requires CX platforms that connect all channels versus siloed single channel solutions.

2. Mobilize the Customer Experience – Today, there are more mobile phones than people and apps have been exploding exponentially. For example, Microsoft’s new CEO discussed at the event how it’s “mobile first” in all they are doing now.

What does that mean for CX? Surprisingly, companies have not mobilized their customer service operations.  Everyone seems to have an app, but it’s typically not connected to their contact center. Mobile banking apps allow you make a deposit via a picture of a check, but when you hit the “contact us” button in the app, you probably get sent to an IVR asking what language do you speak.  The technology exists now to modify these apps so when you hit that contact button within the app, they know who you are, what you were trying to do in the app, and most importantly, they route you to the best resource for a great mobile customer service experience.

3. Operationalize Digital Customer Service – Employess must be armed and trained to respond across all channels – including social, mobile and the web.

What does that mean for CX? Great digital customer service requires that all CX employees are equipped with the tools to respond in real-time – over any channel.  For example, with speech and text analytics, agents can be alerted to respond to customer service issues in real time. Text-oriented interactions can include email, chat, twitter and facebook interactions as well.

4. Engage in Social Customer Service – Half of people 35 and under follow the social recommendations of their friends.

What does that mean for CX? Is your organization able to listen, monitor, and respond to what is being said over social media? Are you able to respond with customer data and history on hand to avoid asking the customer to repeat themselves, or is your social monitoring siloed from the other platforms, and your contact center? Companies need to be able to filter, prioritize and route customer interactions over social media to ensure the needed posts gets a response.

5. Engage Today’s Digital Customer – The digital world has changed human behavior. When people wake up, they look first at their devices – not their spouses!

What does that mean for CX? All companies need to think and act mobile, be it voice, text, or email. Voice is still important, but typically a channel chosen after many others are first visited, such as web, social or mobile.

So what steps can CX leaders take today to win in the new digital industrial revolution? The technology exists now, as Genesys customers are successfully combining all channels on a single platform, interacting with customers, and analyzing all interactions to improve training and overall performance.

I was still taken aback at the Gartner event in seeing how only a few companies today are on a single platform for customer experience. I think the reason may be more cultural than technological. With that said, Gartner delivered a wake-up call to all businesses. Digital business and digital customer service is upon us.  Luckily digital customer service solutions are already here!

To get started on closing the gap and connecting across the customer journey, read our new eBook on the 3 Strategies to Improve the Customer Experience.