CX Partners under the Spotlight with Analyst Nelson Hall

The latest edition of the CX Pod Europe has just been published. This is our TTEC EMEA podcast and you can find it on all the usual podcast apps, or just listen online here. In this episode, Ivan Kotzev from the industry analyst firm Nelson Hall talks about digital customer experience (CX) and how he sees automation and digital processes evolving.
Ivan started by talking about how the evolution of digital tools like chatbots and improved self-service is all leading to a change in the role of the customer service agent. He said: “As we automate and improve self-service to manage the lower-value, repetitive interactions, what's left for the for the human to support? It is the more complex and more involved conversations. For an agent to add value in this support or sales conversation, they need to navigate a whole range of platforms, systems, and tools.”
Ivan also talked about how changing business models may also lead to dramatically different customer service interactions - not just the traditional post-purchase call because of a problem or question. He said: “Look at the Cyclon running shoe from On. It is a Swiss brand promoted by Roger Federer. You can only get the shoes by entering into a subscription with On. Also, look at big ticket items like cars. Dealerships are now becoming experiential centres focused on the brand.”
Ivan added: “Subscriptions like On or Volvo cars are part of an ongoing engagement in a relationship with a brand. Because of this, when we provide support as an industry, we are supporting this ongoing relationship, not just a one-off transaction.”
This is all music to my ears. I have said for many years that customer service designers need to pull back and see the big picture. Imagine you are working with a major auto brand. You need to deliver great service each time a customer interacts with the brand, but your real focus is ensuring that you develop a relationship that lasts for many years and ensures the customer buys a car from you several times. That individual interaction is not the single most important metric in the relationship.
The Institute of Customer Service UK Customer Satisfaction Index for 2022 backs up this focus on the relationship. In their data there is a direct correlation between companies that score well on customer satisfaction and sales growth - keep the customers happy and they keep returning to buy more.
Ivan said: “In the past we saw a lot of offshoring, cutting costs and optimising processes. I do not think that more advanced brands are happy with that anymore. I think they are looking to create a partnership that will help them with deep transformation. Whether it is moving to new technology or moving services into the cloud.” He added: “We will see partnership like this increasingly happening, but it will be for the brands that have a vision for CX transformation.”
I would certainly agree with this sentiment. From agent augmentation to the cloud, data analytics, and artificial intelligence, designing and managing a customer service process is far more complex now compared to the days of hiring a contact centre to just do everything at a lower cost than your internal processes.
Building a modern CX solution requires a vision. It needs a brand to ask how we are going to build a long-term relationship with our customers, not just answer their calls. Brands need to think about how to help their employees with technology that can personalise each interaction. Smart brands have already realised that the best way to do this is to find a partner with the right expertise.
Nelson Hall is a well-respected analyst firm in the CX space so it is great to hear Ivan’s views. I have only summarised some of his comments here. Go to the podcast page or search your podcast app for ‘CX Pod Europe’ and you can listen to the complete interview.