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For years, marketers and technologists have envisioned a world where technology would be advanced enough and smart enough, that they could reach consumers on a deeper and more emotional level. Turns out, through the power of automation, that world may now exist.

“I’m really talking about designing your digital channels so that they are cognitive. So you’re reacting to what a customer might be feeling or thinking, being compassionate. So you’re responding to the customer situation with a genuine effort to help. So we talk about implementing bots. It’s not just about trying to impersonate a real-life human being. You really shouldn’t try to do that, but we’re about creating these solutions around automation that’s very much attuned to the customer’s emotions, their motivations, their challenges that they’re facing.”

Robots in the workplace are not new, but automation as a driver of empathy and not a way to accomplish repetitive tasks is a game-changing advancement. Virgil Wong, is the Chief Digital Officer for HGS Digital, a company focused on making empathy a driving force behind the customer experience. Virgil joins IT Visionaries to discuss how artificial intelligence, machine learning, and intelligent automation are more than just buzzwords. In fact, they are actionable pieces of technology that can drive brand loyalty and create the optimal customer experience.

Main Takeaways

  • Let’s Be a Bit More Empathetic: Whether your customer is interacting with you on a website, mobile app, or via chatbot, the experience they have with your technology must be based on empathy. When customers are working with bots, that automation needs to be able to identify that customers’ pain points, and then react in a compassionate manner.
  • Walk Before You Run: When it comes to implementing sweeping customer experience changes, it’s important to start slow and discover what the pain points are, the processes involved, and how the technology can better serve the customer.
  • Time to Upgrade: Your data sets should be driving your roadmap and how you interact with your customers. When you have millions of conversations, take time to digest the themes of those calls and where some of your customers’ common pain points are. Then use that data to drive a better, more empathetic experience.

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For a more in-depth look at this episode, check out the article below.


For years marketers and technologists have envisioned a world where technology would be advanced enough and smart enough, that they could reach consumers on a deeper and more emotional level. Turns out, through the power of automation, that world may now existAs Virgil Wong said:

“I’m really talking about designing your digital channels so that they are cognitive So you’re reacting to what a customer might be feeling or thinking, and you’re being compassionate —you’re responding to the customer situation with a genuine effort to help. So we talk about implementing bots. It’s not just about trying to impersonate a real-life human being. You really shouldn’t try to do that, but we’re about creating these solutions around automation that’s very much attuned to the customer’s emotions, their motivations, their challenges that they’re facing.”

Robots in the workplace are not new and have existed for some time, but automation as a driver of empathy and not just repetitive tasks is. Virgil Wong is the Chief Digital Officer for HGS Digital, a company focused on making empathy a driving force behind the customer experience. Virgil joined IT Visionaries to discuss how artificial intelligence, machine learning, and intelligent automation are more than just buzzwords. In fact, they are Actionable pieces of technology that can drive brand loyalty and create the optimal customer experience.

When Wong speaks about empathetic digital customer experience, he’s talking about negating the headaches that many consumers might feel when it comes to interaction with a chatbot, website, or mobile app. Instead, the automated interactions that technology is having with the customer must be more than just surface-level interactions.

According to Wong, empathetic digital customer experiences should include three things: the automation should have cognitive abilities — it should be able to predict what the customer might be thinking. The application should be able to respond on an emotional level by being able to react with what the customer might be feeling,  and finally, the system needs to be compassionate with a genuine responsibility of helping the customer.

But there are easily-recognizable that Wong said businesses see within their customer base.

“Just by looking at some of your top calls, you can really inform very clear dialogue flow designs,” he said. “You can anticipate the most common inquiries. So you’re really identifying the best solution for a problem based on millions of interactions with other customers. So it’s not big data making things less personalized. It’s more personalized. This can make new customers feel like the system already knows what they want. And these sort of chatbots can really automate those repeatable, sometimes menial processes like placing orders or things of that sort.” 

For example, customer experience chatbots and conversational intelligence technologies need to operate on a level where they are not just simply responding to questions from the customer. Instead, those tools need to anticipate questions from customers when they might become agitated, or frustrated when dealing with issues.

But how does HGS make something as fragile and important as automation work on a large scale? According to Wong, it takes a few different approaches, but mostly you have to discover what works for the client, and then you need buy-in from the senior leadership.

“There is a discovery process where we go in, we learn and we understand where the pain points are,” he explained. “The biggest value that we do as HGS, I believe, is that we can really bring those stakeholders to the table. Getting that C-suite alignment is absolutely crucial from the get-go. So you can’t have your roadmap, and you can’t have all those crucial planning pieces until those key leaders are in alignment in terms of goals and objectives across the board.”

The discovery process includes conducting ideation sessions, such as workshops so the team at HGS can understand best practices. Wong mentioned that some of the trends that his team sees in the industry include bringing light to their clients of things other competitors might be doing, what their customer experience looks like and how they can improve that is leading to increased value and revenue to their brand.

“There’s the crawl walk, run phases,” Wong said. “People often want to run from the get-go and more often than not, we see people stumbling when they try to boil. The common phrase for that is by starting with a small understanding of what that first step is, you can have the biggest impact. That’s where you start to strategize, design, and implement and iterate in order to get to that next [level].” 

The phrase, “the devil is in the details,” has never been more appropriate than when it comes to automation, where implementation is only as good as the energy and focus that is put into a project. Wong stresses that most projects are reliant on the people that work on them, the processes his team has put in place, and of course the technology itself.

“We’re not folks that just simply come in and just wave our magic wands,” he said. “It really is a partnership with our clients to galvanize their resources, help guide them through those different steps of making sure that each of these efforts, not only clear ROI, but something that will lead you to tangible successes moving ahead. That’s a big part of it. The people, processes, and technology get them all to work together seamlessly.”

To hear more about how Wong and his team at HGS are working to drive more empathetic customer-related experiences, check out the full episode of IT Visionaries.

To hear the entire discussion, tune into IT Visionaries here

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