Last week I attended the GDS CX Innovation Digital Summit. The event ran Monday through Wednesday and featured speakers from companies like Nestle, NuSkin, and FootLocker, breakout sessions, and pre-scheduled 1:1 meetings. The GDS website promoted the event by saying, “Sense check your approach with like-minded industry experts, sharing insight on business-critical challenges and disruptive technology and drive your industry forward collaboratively,” which might seem like a lot of buzzword-y forgettable lingo but, in fact, this is ACTUALLY WHAT HAPPENED!
Before I explain, let me preface by saying that committing to doing ANYTHING for three whole days is nearly impossible for me. With my jam-packed calendar -- a huge trade show, a Google Chrome OS x Edify x CCW webinar, a virtual wine tasting event, a corporate website overhaul, hosting Thanksgiving, and a home move all scheduled over the next four weeks -- I was VERY hesitant to dedicate so much time.
But now that I have, I can safely say:
- This was by far the most immersive, engaging, real digital experience I have ever had short of virtual reality
- This was the most constructive, interactive, collaborative group of executives I’ve ever been in a workshop with
- This is the first time, in two decades of working in marketing, that I really cannot wait to sign my contract to do this again next year -- more than once
Perhaps most importantly to me in my role as Edify CMO, I got real-time validation that the challenges we solve with Edify Huddle CX are the same ones causing extreme employee and customer experience-related pain to brands across industries, geographies, and sizes. For example, more than a quarter (27%) of GDS CX attendees said that “legacy systems” are their “biggest challenge related to gaining a single view of the customer” -- beaten only by “siloed customer data”.
All of us at Edify knew this was a problem (or we probably wouldn’t spend so many of our waking hours trying to solve it), but hearing it from the mouths of so many CX leaders put a different face on it for me. These are people who are trying to help the customers they serve and they simply can’t. They don’t have the tools, the agility, and, in some cases, the commitment from other leaders in their businesses. They want to do better, which is why they attend events like this one. The intent is correct; their hearts and heads are in the right place. But from where I sit, they need to figure out how to move more quickly, think more creatively, and take more calculated risks. Their workforces and customer bases depend on it.
The Problem is Big, But Entirely Solvable
The technology exists for the folks I just heard from to make the changes they desperately want. Yes, it’s a departure from “the way you’ve always done it,” and that can be scary. But, thank goodness the option is here because clearly, the way you’ve always done it does not serve anyone any longer. And this was underscored again when all attendees were asked “Where in your customer journey do you see the biggest points of friction/frustration?” The response was quite clear:
- More than half (53%) said lack of channel integration
- Nearly half (47%) said not having a single view of the customer
There are huge gaps to fill, massive pains to resolve. The legacy contact center and customer experience tools most of these organizations use aren’t cutting it. If you ask the innovators in and around this space, this essential truth has been coming to light for quite some time, but sped up by five to seven years in just the last two. The time for change is now. The CX leaders I met this week know it. When asked, more than half (56%) of them said they are “most excited” about getting a single view of the customer, beaten only by excitement around the possibilities of machine learning and AI (63%). It’s a remarkable time to be in the business of customer experience and, at this moment, all of the possibilities seem endless!