November

Parks Associates: More Than 50% of Consumers Who Set Up Smart Home Devices Themselves Report Setup Problems

Parks Associates research finds most smart home owners set up their devices on their own and more than 50% of these consumers report setup problems. These issues have not translated into greater adoption of tech support services—one-fifth of U.S. broadband households have a subscription. The research firm will examine opportunities to improve tech support services using cognitive and intelligent technologies and automation in the webcast “Cognitive Support Solutions: Delivering the Best Connected Experience”on Tuesday, November 1311 a.m. CT.

The webcast, sponsored by CSS Corp, presents strategies for tech support providers to automate support processes while still delivering personalized and valuable user experiences.

“In today’s connected household, support services must expand to offer comprehensive protection for the whole home network, with knowledge of all connected devices, their capabilities, and how they interact with each other,” said Patrice Samuels, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates. “This service creates multiple support challenges, so cost control is another obstacle. AI and other adaptive tech innovations can help companies develop a service that is cost-effective yet still deliver positive user experiences.”

“The power of information and choice that today’s consumers enjoy make them more aware and in control of what they want than ever before,” said Sid Victor, Vice President & Head of Customer eXperience Services, CSS Corp. “This paradigm shift has made customer experience (CX) the new differentiator as empowered customers are calling the shots. At CSS Corp, we’ve taken an experience-first approach to orchestrating our customers’ digital journeys. Our unique point-of-view from being the perfect intersection of a customer experience practitioner and digital Services provider gives us an unprecedented edge in crafting the ideal digital journey for our customers. CSS Corp’s offers modular, context-aware, and outcome-based cognitive automation models to create hyper-personalized customer experiences.”

During the webcast, Samuels and Victor will share insights on:

  • Consumer expectations for support
  • Automation built on intelligent devices that deliver personalized connected experiences to consumers
  • The impact of support on customer experience and actions
  • Outcome-based automation services and their impact on business outcomes

“Connected devices are taking a more central role in a variety of contexts,” Samuels said. “Use cases extend from entertainment to health and home security, and automated solutions with the proper intelligence can deliver convenience and personalization to the consumer through multiple support scenarios.”

For more information and to register for the webcast, visit https://www.parksassociates.com/cognitive-nov2018. To speak with an analyst about this research, contact Julia Homier at julia.homier@parksassociates.com, 972-996-0214.

About Parks Associates

Parks Associates is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Founded in 1986, Parks Associates creates research capital for companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small start-ups through market reports, primary studies, consumer research, custom research, workshops, executive conferences, and annual service subscriptions. https://www.parksassociates.com

About CSS Corp

CSS Corp is a new age IT Services and technology support company that harnesses the power of AI, automation, analytics, cloud and digital to address customer needs. The company partners with leading enterprises to help realize their strategic business outcomes. Its team of 5,600 technology professionals across 16 global locations are passionate about helping customers differentiate and succeed. For more information please visit www.csscorp.com.

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Re-Inventing The B2C Marketing Landscape With Human-AI Partnerships

Marketing is approaching the point of singularity with innovation triggers like AI transforming it into a tech-driven function. Gartner’s Laura McLellan in her seminal blog predicted that CMOs would be spending more on technology than CIOs by 2017. A recent blog says that tech spend in marketing equals that of CIO’s budget for IT.

The phenomenon of data overload needs higher number-crunching capabilities. AI has the ability to read through terabytes of data, understand un-structured information and analytics modeling to monitor market dynamics in real time. Thanks to AI, marketers can go back to doing what they do best – create powerful ideas that can energize the brand and market.

AI in the driver seat

There has been no dearth of data in marketing, but it existed in siloes preventing marketers to access a single version of truth. Large majority of these tools and platforms crunch numbers in isolation and do not provide a holistic view of the entire market. AI can be instrumental in unifying data driven decision making by integrating platforms, tools, applications, and datasets. This can be a game changer for marketers with unlimited avenues for reach, conversion, and engagement.

55% of CMOs expect AI to have a bigger impact on marketing than social media. Global entertainment giants like Disney are tapping the AI frontier by training artificial neural networks that mimic human brains to understand the story lines that may appeal to their audience. Disney’s decision to move away from mainstream characters to feature counterculture leads were based on their information gleaned from their digital data sets. Recently, according to another blog, Nike’s gamble to feature anthem-kneeling NFL player Colin Kaepernick paid off with online sales surging by 31% in a week. This executive decision was based on sound principles of market data, crunched through Nike’s AI platform that showed its intended audience’s sympathy for social justice causes like BLM.

Marketers are already excited by the emerging AI applications in conversational intelligence, haptics, holographic imagery, and semantic research. Artificial Intelligence is already making its presence felt through machine learning, natural language processing, applied propensity models, and predictive customer service sets.

AI for maximizing your reach

AI generated content and smart content curation capabilities are democratizing digital content access. Writing programs like “Wordsmith” can generate SEO-rich, targeted content that can get maximize conversions. Wordsmith produced over a billion pieces of content in 2017 alone and has been extensively used by retail, e-commerce, financial services, media, and allied industries to achieve scale and reach for their marketing efforts as mentioned by another leading magazine.

Business content may or may not be written by a robot, but smart content curation is heavily dependent on AI.  The popular Netflix recommendation system uses sophisticated machine learning algorithms to understand the customer’s innate and expressed needs. So, Netflix customers find value in trusting the recommendation engine to lead them to show they really want to watch.  Similarly, Tinder, the world’s trusted matchmaker is employing AI for its “Super Like” and “Top Picks” feature. Of course, it kept the swiping customer closer to their soul mates but also has added over 3 million singles to the dating app till date as revealed by TechCrunch.

Facilitating action – Chatbots, Robo-advisories

AI has a big role in customer management. New age propensity models can map the customer buying journey and personalize the content. Predictive analytics underpinned by AI, understands dissonance and reaches out with more personalized engagements. The best examples are the dynamic emails triggered by analyzing customer digital behaviours. The customer is always presented with email content that is specifically curated to reflect his/her buying journey.

Conversational intelligence is another area that AI is making the biggest wave. Voice is not just an interface, but a personification of devices which is then mirrored on the brand. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and the most recent Google Duplex are capable of carrying out almost seamless conversations. Conversational intelligence is extensively used in the BFSI sector to help customers navigate the loan management, insurance premium payments, or wealth advisories. With sophisticated algorithms, these Robo-advisors are able to provide the best price for loans, insurance premium calculation, or settle your tax returns.  Voice assistants are a mainstay for fashion brands like Levis or hospitality providers like Hilton. These ubiquitous assistants’ help customers find the right jeans, book a getaway, or even personalize the perfume.

Future proofing with AI

AI is slowly but surely emerging as a natural ally for the CMO. Over 85% of customer interactions in 2020 will be powered by Chatbots and Robo-assistants helping customers to understand, engage, buy and invest. Next frontiers are tactile-rich-haptic AI which would bring in multi-sensory interactions to fruition. For the CMO this is a data goldmine where in human creativity partnering with AI-assisted delivery can create unique and personalized experiences for customers. As we go along, we will see greater democratization and adoption of AI-based solutions in the marketing function’s day to day activities.

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CSS Corp’s customer ALE wins certified support Staff Excellence Center Award 2018

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology-support company, today announced that its customer ALE International operating under the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise brand (ALE) has been awarded Certified Support Staff Excellence Center status for operational excellence in their support operations, a fourth year in a row. The recognition was awarded by the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA).

CSS Corp has been providing technical support to ALE for over 16 years in order to enable the company to deepen client engagements and bring exemplary customer service. Leveraging CSS Corp’s technology support platforms, ALE was able to bring down recurring ticket incidents by nearly 20%, while fully resolving customer queries, thus improving customer satisfaction across four regions and global support centers.

It enables enterprises to move from a reactive support model to a pre-emptive and proactive support model by leveraging the automation and high-end data analytics.

Sunil Mittal, EVP & Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, CSS Corp said, “Delivering seamless CX is a critical imperative for telecom companies in today’s digital age, and they are looking for the right experts who can partner with them in their digital transformation journey. As a trusted partner for major telecom players globally, CSS Corp is committed to delivering tangible, measurable outcomes and exemplary customer engagement through a unique combination of technology and expertise.

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Outlook & Priorities 2019

As we sign out of this year and step into 2019, what is in store for supply and demand side of IT? Here we present insights from prominent leaders from the tech industry who share their strategy and roadmap for 2019

It is that time of the year the air is abuzz with a new beginning as a year comes to a close. All these years we have seen technology as an evolutionary entity, graduating from one milestone to the next, forever upping the ante and bringing new set of challenges and problems to solve.

In all 2019 looks like an exciting year for tech and in many ways see the firming up of many tech trends like IOT to AI, taking deeper roots and impacting enterprise computing in ways we have not seen before.

As we look at the year ahead, we need to see through a dual lens- one from the supply side of IT and the other from the demand side of things. The supply side (the vendors) needs to stay focused and relevant to capture larger mandates from the tech disruption and the demand side (the enterprises) needs to ink progressive strategies to adopt newer tech to stay ahead of the race. In a nutshell, the way things are progressing, technology will be common denominator that will determine the success of companies across verticals, no matter what their core business is, they need to induct massive dose of modern tech to transition to the next orbit of growth and profitability. 

CIO PRIORITIES

According to a recent Gartner study, it said, that the top five areas that Asia/Pacific CIOs will invest new or additional funding in 2019 are: Business Intelligence and Data Analytics (42 percent); Core System Improvements and Transformation (33 percent); Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (33 percent), Cybersecurity and Information Security (32 percent); and Digital business initiatives (30 percent).

The 2019 Gartner CIO Agenda survey gathered data from more than 3,000 CIO respondents in 89 countries and all major industries — 671 CIOs are from 16 countries within Asia/Pacific, representing $6.1 trillion in revenue and $73.7 billion in IT spending.

Gartner also said that AI and Cybersecurity will shape the CIO technology agenda. “The CIO Agenda survey indicates that disruptive emerging technologies will play a major role in reshaping business models in Asia/Pacific as they change the economics of all organizations. Thirty-four percent of CIOs in the region expect AI to be the most disruptive game changer for their organizations in 2019, taking the top spot away from data and analytics, which now occupies second place at 26 percent.”

Moreover 49 percent of Asia/Pacific CIOs have already deployed AI technology or deployment is in short-term planning, coming in second behind cybersecurity (86 percent). The top three ways Asia/Pacific CIOs are using AI are for chatbots (37 percent), process optimization (27 percent) and fraud detection (20 percent).

“This rapid shift to AI looks revolutionary on the surface, but this bump in adoption rate may indicate irrational exuberance instead,” says Rowsell-Jones, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner. “While CIOs can’t afford to ignore this class of technologies, they should retain a sense of proportion. This latest batch of AI tools is yet to go through its Trough of Disillusionment.”

“The strong focus on cybersecurity shows the necessity of creating a secure base for digital business that shields their organization and clients. The survey indicates that 45 percent of Asia/Pacific CIOs still own the responsibility for cybersecurity. However, the IT organization alone cannot provide cybersecurity anymore,” adds Rowsell-Jones

Moreover Gartner observers that the rise of social engineering attacks, such as phishing, require a broader behavioral change of all employees. In 24 percent of the digitally top performing organizations in Asia/Pacific, the boards of directors are accountable for cybersecurity rather than the CIO alone. Nevertheless, CIOs are combining measures to harden information processing assets with efforts to influence the people that use technology to improve security against cyber threats.

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Column: Where do we draw the line for automation in CX?

Automation has always been equated with efficiency and progress. Due to the growing cost of resources and the rise of the consumer driven economy, most organizations have rushed towards automation to optimize their business processes. While automation has influenced every business function, the biggest impact has been on customer service.

In the pursuit to deliver a delightful experience to customers and also to manage cost, enterprises have placed AI-driven chatbots, IVRs, and voice AI at the heart of their customer service strategy.

In the process, many companies continue offloading the traditional human-to-human touch points from their consumer related communication. Gartner has estimated that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions with a company will be handled without human involvement.

While AI-driven automation can help enterprises relieve their customer service teams from repetitive and mundane tasks, most companies have pushed the boundaries beyond acceptable limits. As a result, enterprises have often over-automated their CX function with AI, which has come at the expense of the much needed ‘human-element’.

In this respect, automation should not be seen as a solution to replace human effort. It should be used as a leverage to augment human productivity and lower costs to engage in a sustainable business model and have better conversations with the customers.

Why over-automation can be a risk

Humans are wired to communicate. The inferences from conversations however, depend on context, intent, and tone. The problem in automating interactions is that sometimes, key aspects of the interaction get lost in translation. The “human” factor is missed out and it becomes a set of commands that are executed.  This is why such implementations can be overwhelming for consumers.

But, by forcing customers to communicate with machines that lack a human element, over automaton can drive companies to put their hard earned brand equity at stake.

Why is human-centric CX important?

Automation hasn’t reached a point where it can address all the customer requirements. It is still not accustomed to helping customers in unexpected situations which it is not programmed to handle.

 

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