Guest Blog by Sheryl Kingstone

Nashville is known for the art of storytelling through music. And at CX18, we’ll look at storytelling from a different angle—how to combine storytelling with technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the customer experience.

Customer experience, not price, is the battleground of the future. Customers value experiences, which often come in the form of stories. Selfies, social feeds, chats and influence stats grab consumers’ attention. And those consumers then share personal encounters.

Snapchat stories, Instagram stories, and even interactive personalized video stories allow audiences to chart their own unique rich media experiences. The shift to storytelling gives businesses an opportunity to regain their footing by creating more interactive and personalized engagements with customers.

The old model for building experiences was to create one story—a basic customer journey—and hope that millions of people “read” or experienced it. With AI, we can create millions of unique stories tailored to an audience of one across the entire customer journey.

At CX18, customer experience champions will uncover and create their own stories by discovering how technology is the catalyst for one of the most profound changes to occur in the relationship between individuals and the world around them. My keynote session at 9 AM on Thursday, May 3, “CX Talks: CX Industry Trends and Forecasts,” will help businesses navigate the disruption that is redefining experiences away from a transactional relationship between people into a more nuanced, tangled relationship between humans and the automated systems and devices they use to engage the world.

Organizations must digitally transform to best attract, win, retain and support customers by leveraging the latest applications, analytics, and infrastructure. They need to deliver a differentiated experience that is not a luxury, but a necessity for survival.

Improving customer experience demands an approach that includes all the tools, processes and data across the customer journey. This complex process usually involves dynamically maintaining a single source of truth about each customer to drive contextualized experiences based on individual preferences and behaviors.

Advancements in AI, driven by machine learning algorithms, are at the heart of next-generation customer experience initiatives. Organizations must complement existing investments in systems of record with systems of engagement that are more agile and ensure frictionless customer experiences.

Businesses can build deeper connections, recommend next best actions and create more contextually driven interactions. Storytelling and technology are linked. Creating the “story of one” requires information that is updated constantly (e.g., transactions, events, contexts, interactions and behaviors), and tied to a unique identity for each customer to build a complete customer profile. That information and identity then must be turned into prescriptive insights using machine learning-based algorithms to identify customer opportunities and determine how to best engage across multiple channels and devices.

Data from 451 Research reveals that 82% of businesses believe machine learning for automated contextual recommendations is important in creating personalized customer experiences. Machine learning helps uncover more enticing and engaging stories that resonate with individuals. It can improve the effectiveness of email by dynamically adjusting subject line headers based on likelihood to open messages. It also can rapidly find content to drive individual conversions.

Machine learning also is a game changer for customer service: It improves self-service adoption and ensures that up to 80% of all customer interactions can be contained in self-service channels. Conversational service nurtures relationships across the customer journey using machine learning to trigger contextual responses throughout the customer lifecycle.

Yesterday’s world was about one-way customer interactions; today’s world is about two-way engagements anywhere—on any device.  Storytelling creates new forms of engaging micro-moments that enhance the overall customer experience using data and intelligent automation. Attend the session at CX18 to learn how to capitalize on the art of storytelling and reimagine your customer experiences.

Sheryl Kingstone

Sheryl Kingstone

Sheryl Kingstone leads 451 Research’s coverage for Customer Experience & Commerce, which covers the many aspects of how customer experience is a catalyst for digital transformation. She oversees the company’s coverage of a variety of customer experience software markets spanning...