How To Choose a Customer Experience (CX) Platform

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With Many Emerging Technologies Available, How Do You Choose which Customer Experience (CX) Platform is Right for You? 

If we have learned anything from 2020 it’s that the right customer experience can make or break a brand.  Investments in automated customer support are proving critical, not only for accommodating volume surges, but for long-term recovery, growth, and loyalty.

Even prior to the pandemic, the customer experience was rising to the fore as a prime differentiator for brands and a more sustainable one than competing on price.

Consumers are willing to pay for superior service: consulting firm PwC found shoppers are willing to spend up to 16% more for positive customer experience, and 73% said the customer experience influences purchase decisions, beyond product quality and price.

For these reasons, four in five companies in 2018 predicted they’d compete primarily on customer experience by this year, according to research firm Gartner.

Does it Integrate With and Enrich Your Current CX Tech Stack?

For CX automation to be truly effective, it needs to be connected to the specific tools it can use to solve a customer’s problem in the moment. That means connecting it to product catalog, order management, customer data, product information, etc.

Customers expect a clear path to problem resolution when they interact with your brand, so your assistant should be equipped with the resources it needs to deliver that.

Context is king. Any solution you invest in should be able to pass information back and forth between the other systems you use to house customer data in order to both provide context to given customer interaction (current and past inquiries and orders, previous conversations) and help to build out a richer single customer view.

Only 20% of marketers say their brand has an actionable single customer view,  so anything you can do to gather more customer intel is critically and competitively important. Customer care AI interactions are a rich and largely untapped source of info to build out this view.

In those engagements, you’re learning how shoppers talk about and describe your products, what their most common post-purchase questions might be, how frequently they check for shipping updates, etc.

If a particular platform doesn’t integrate, it isn’t worth your time.

Can You Easily Add New Skills or Functionalities?

As new customer engagement channels emerge (just wait for VR to truly catch on!) and emerging ones gain more traction, you should easily be able to add additional skills and functionalities to your CX automation platform, depending on your brand’s particular needs and the behaviors and preferences of your customers.

Look for a solution that is built on a modular architecture, uses a no dialog flow design with no intent or entity training required that allows you to easily customize and scale to cover your most common and profitable use cases today and in the future.

What Does the Automated Assistant Training Process Look Like?

Lack of appropriate pre-deployment training is one of the key sources of failure for brands that rushed too quickly to embrace CX automation technology without doing their homework.

Training an automated assistant isn’t necessarily a smooth process and simply turning the assistant loose and hoping for the best doesn’t end well.

Just ask Microsoft. When the tech giant launched Twitter chatbot Tay, it took less than a day for Twitter users to turn the innocent bot into a vocal racist.

Assistants need exposure to real (or seemingly real) customer interactions in order to learn and they need them in large volume.

Subjecting customers to a poorly-trained or under-trained assistant that delivers an unsatisfactory experience can have long-term consequences for your brand. 

What Does the Vendor’s Roadmap Look Like?

Once we get used to a new, technology-enabled way of being, backtracking comes to feel strange and painful. Imagine the last time you had to drive to a restaurant you’d never visited before while on vacation in a new city. Now imagine how that same experience would feel without Google Maps at your fingertips calmly guiding you through each turn.

With behemoths like Amazon continuing to shape expectations around price, inventory availability, shipping speed and simple reorders and returns, customers’ already lofty expectations for brands aren’t likely to relax or regress anytime soon.

Instead, seamless, contextual experiences will become more ingrained as the norm, with brands pushed even harder to go above and beyond to differentiate themselves from the pack.

You want to work with a vendor who gets this and is constantly refining and enhancing their solution to meet evolving customer expectations–smarter, more intuitive AI, more robust and useful integration’s, additional skills and functionalities to cover emerging channels.

You want a CX automation partner, not a plug-and-play solution seller.

What is the Payback Period and Where is ROI Coming From?

A best-in-class CX automation platform should help you increase revenue, cut customer service costs, reduce returns and lead to increased customer lifetime value by facilitating cross-selling, upselling, and automatic reordering, so don’t be shy about pressing vendors for benchmarks based on previous implementations.

You want to hear about reducing service costs by 25%, converting returns to revenue in almost 15% of cases, offering upsells that yield close to a 20% CTR by using purchase history and driving a nearly 40% opt-in rate for branded notifications.

Don’t buy in without a clear, compelling, well-substantiated business case.

If you are interested in learning more about CX Automation and specifically, how you can quickly implement an easy to use conversational AI experience as part of your CX strategy, tailored to your brand, please visit our website to learn more.

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