Putting the Customer’s Experience Back into CX | Part II

Editor’s note: Here are more highlights of the Avaya ENGAGE 2020 session, “Putting the Customer’s Experience Back into Customer Experience.”

In Part I, I talked about the importance of getting everyone on the same page in identifying the various audiences involved in contact center conversations. I appreciate all the feedback I received, as the article certainly seemed to resonate with our teams’ real life experience, especially when trying to get the right people in the room to have these conversations.

Now, I want to talk about how we’ve been successful in getting those varied audiences to think about the customer’s perspective, as well as the technology that needs to be engineered, sold, purchased, and implemented. Our goal is to start with high-level customer perspectives and expectations, and identify the real technologies you use to deliver on those expectations.

Ultimately, we broke customer expectations down into six areas and created statements a customer would make that helps explain why these categories and capabilities are relevant. You’ll notice how much these categories overlap, intertwine, and lead into each other. When road mapping, we often prioritize the ones that can impact multiple areas. That’s investment protection. So, don’t get hung on up noticing that one capability could actually fit in multiple categories. Yes, they will, they should, and they do!


“You will know who I am. You will respect my privacy, while at the same time, being helpful.” In this category, we introduce capabilities such as authentication, personalization, protection of customer data, GRC (governance, risk and compliance), biometrics, and fraud detection. Are you the person you claim to be and do you have the right to transact as that person?  With “Identity,” we can start initiating capabilities in contextual awareness. For true omnichannel, customer journey mapping, where we’re actually linking individual interactions to establish a single transaction, context is critical. For context to work, we have to know who you are.

Any-Channel Experience

“Let me engage with you using the media that is convenient and accessible to me.” In this category we talk about multimedia, mobility, WebRTC, and social media, as well as the agent desktop. The modern agent desktop tries to bring as much relevant information (i.e. context) to the agent as possible, and lets it interact with the end customer in any of the various ways that customer wants to leverage. Any-channel, (including the traditional “voice” channel) is simply being able to support multiple channels for interactions, treating each as an individual transaction. That’s different from omnichannel, which seeks to join those multiple encounters together forming a single transaction.  The key word in the customer expectation statement is “convenient,” which is different for every person. It also starts to introduce the idea of self-service, since convenience might mean a consumer wants to engage with your company at 3:00 am.

Contextual Awareness

“You will know what I’ve been doing using the media (apps, websites, etc.) I choose, leveraging that visibility to create a personalized experience for me.” The key to this expectation is to not turn it into a creepy thought, “Why are you watching me?”  The goal is to provide relevant context to the engagement, regardless of the channel being used. Generally speaking, context comes from a lot of different sources, not a single repository. The goal is to figure out quickly why the customer is engaging us and start collecting relevant data. We can use this for more intelligent routing, as well as augmenting the agent’s knowledge on the subject. Some of the capabilities that we look to in order to deliver on these expectations are things like CRM integration, pre-built connectors, sentiment analysis, physical location, real-time speech analytics, and anticipating intention. Contextual awareness has the most interdependencies and touchpoints of all six categories.


“You will give me the option to self-serve. You will provide assistance, where, when, and how I need it, without having to repeat myself.” A lot of contact center capabilities fit in this category, including IVRs, visual IVRs, web, and natural language processing, as well as newer technologies like virtual assistants, and chatbots. The real trick here is to deliver an appropriately consistent and connected experience. We find that as more and more companies move to digital channels, such as the web, they seem to forget about the other traditional channels. We find self-service doesn’t eliminate the human interaction. In fact, it raises the bar on what it takes to drive high levels of customer satisfaction.


“Your efforts and actions will be accurate and timely.” Here, we see things like robotic process automation, augmented Intelligence, agent-facing chatbots, real-time transcription, next best action, assisted bots, and proactive outbound engagement. This is a “futuristic” category for most companies, yet it is also one of the most important in addressing issues like complexity in the contact center. Robotic process automation can do amazing things in helping an agent interact with multiple desktop clients. Augmented intelligence is the hot topic for companies who want their customers to be able to talk to a real live person. Companies can use real-time transcription and natural language processing to offer the agent relevant information and make recommendations for next steps. This isn’t the sci-fi fantasy that it was just a few years ago.


“I want to be able to provide you feedback. You will learn my needs and adjust to meeting my expectations.” This statement focuses on having mechanisms in place to improve future interactions. That includes individual performance for live agents as well as AI bots, as well as improving the overall engagement model. This is about identifying and fixing/changing journeys, and improving systems. Feedback addresses abroad setof contact center capabilities like surveys, real-time and historical reporting, speech analytics, and tracking of Key Performance Indicators. We try to stress the importance of creating closed-loop feedback mechanisms with defined processes for collecting and using that information to ensure that the customer’s experience can get needed course corrections in a timely fashion.

When we talk about these categories, we try not to talk about brand names of products or vendors. The goal is to get each of the relevant audiences on the same page, as it relates perceived value, and ultimately, prioritization of investments. Companies can walk out of the room with a vendor agnostic roadmap helping define where they should be focusing their energy. It identifies the gaps between IT/telecom, call center operations, and the business, and then gets everyone aligned and ready to move forward to deliver on that roadmap.

David Lover is the Vice President of Strategy and Technology with ConvergeOne.

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