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Customers have always been at the center of how businesses think and operate. However, the way companies approach customers has transitioned from customer service to customer experience to digital customer experience. CX is the philosophy that needs to be defined for engaging with customers, designing experiences, and providing optionality for clients.

This has to be unique for each firm. In this age, customer behavior is not static and engagement needs to change moment by moment. Therefore, it is very important for companies to have dynamic strategies. Data and AI are playing an outsized role here and also in helping enterprises understand their customers.

CX is the philosophy that needs to be defined for engaging with customers, designing experiences, and providing optionality for clients

Companies are increasingly relying on deep learning (AI) to pick up trends and understand what various customers perceive about the brand and what is important to them. This helps them drive strategies to acquire and maximize value across the lifecycle.Traditionally, companies relied on customer surveys and primary/secondary research techniques. However, they are now relying on message boards/social media/contact center and service management case data to truly understand aspects that are not uncovered.

This is a true shift to relying on technology driven marketing. For example, at a leading personal care products firm, traditional techniques uncovered aspects of cost, quality, and brand identity. However, customer conversations sitting in dark data uncovered aspects like animal testing, vegan certification, environmental impact, and country of production. There is no way, traditional marketing would have uncovered this.

What is dark data?

Dark data is data that is collected but not analyzed. A lot of the time, enterprises don’t realize what is being captured. For example, customer service calls are summarized and data is captured as it relates to the transaction. However, the conversation related to other aspects of the product or service is not captured (assuming client consent and data capture regulations are complied with).

The importance of CX

As the old adage goes, if you don’t reinforce your identity and back it up, your customers will define it for you. While customer service was about servicing the client when they wanted to, based on how they wanted to (channel – offline, online, mobile app, chat) and optimizing the experience accordingly, CX is all about the brand. It is about bringing in loyalty and viewing the customer from the lens of the long-term relationship and the ability to cross-sell to the customer and leverage the customer as an advocate to expand market segments and market share.

The future of CX

CX has the power to disrupt entire industries. Companies that don’t bring CX at the center of their operating model risk being out of business. It is therefore important to invest in data & AI and ramp up capabilities across channels on the interaction experience.

The role of business analysts is also changing significantly as CX becomes a data-intensive function. Journey mapping, customer segmentation, interaction design are all key, and it is essential for analysts to be multi-skilled.

The CX engineering role is also going through a sea change with a myriad of digital deflection, engagement, contact center, AI assistance, and other integration tooling. Generative AI is also making waves and will shortly transform efficiencies and the quality of CX delivery across industries.

In summary

CX is now becoming increasingly technology-driven. What is table stakes is omnichannel interaction, customer surveys, and behaviour tracking. Enterprises have to realize that they cannot control everything and ultimately the human touch will be needed.

It is therefore critical to focus on building out journey maps, driving the optimal interaction design across online and offline channels, and leveraging Data & AI extensively to understand the customer, the interaction history, the point of interaction, and engage to excel at every interaction.

This is the only way, enterprises can actual bring CX to the center of their operating model and drive differentiation.

Guest contributor Prashant Achanta is the President & Co-founder of Algoleap, a technology company poised to revolutionize the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Any opinions expressed in this article are strictly that of the author.


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