- AI will force CX leaders to innovate, whether you’re ready or not
This shouldn't come as a surprise. There will no longer be an excuse for slow responses, unresolved tickets, and fragmented customer journeys that have often plagued CX teams. Customers are increasingly having better customer experiences with the power of LLMs and AI. We can create sophisticated AI agents in minutes. How long before customers whole-heartedly reject your outdated digital agent?
Take Tico, for example. It took only two people on the team to get our customer support agent from Level 1 ticket resolution to a multi-channel AI-powerhouse. Now, Tico resolves 97% of tickets while maintaining a CSAT score of 93%. It’s unheard of until now, but it’s possible.
Or consider the case of another AI agent at e-commerce company, ShopStream. The agent flags negative sentiments, allowing swift routing to senior agents before issues escalate. This preemptive approach, paired with an AI model that adapts and learns from interactions, dramatically reduces complaint escalations and nurtures customer satisfaction.
Don’t underestimate the power of LLMs for your customer support in the coming year. It won’t happen all at once—you’ll automate, personalize, and iterate with conversational AI tools. But 2024 is the edge of a cliff—from this point forward, you have to jump.
- CX folks will shift from ticket-takers to strategic collaborators
In the past, customer support leaders were problem-solvers and ticket-takers. Our roles tended towards the relational—keeping customers happy and putting out fires.
In 2024, CX leaders must move from order-takers to strategic partners. CX has a unique view of the business—access to customer data, stories, and insights—and that perspective is invaluable to teams like product, engineering, marketing, and sales. Moving forward, CX leaders will break out of their Zendesk silos and reach across departments to anticipate the needs of their teammates.
How do you do it? Bring actionable customer insights to your conversations with the GTM teams. Not only are those insights helpful for the business, but they transform your role from merely operational, to strategic.
Take sustainable tech firm GreenTech, for example. GreenTech’s CX team implemented a system where customer feedback directly informs product and marketing strategies. The CX team identified a growing demand for smart home integration in their sustainability products. They shared this insight with the product and engineering teams, leading to the development of a new line of smart, energy-efficient home appliances. Simultaneously, their marketing team created targeted campaigns emphasizing GreenTech's commitment to innovation and customer-driven design. This collaborative approach not only enhanced their product’s relevance and market positioning to customers but also cemented the CX team's role as a vital contributor to the company's strategic direction.
The value you offer your company no longer lies with resolving tickets, but informing the future of your product or service. This might sound obvious but it’s been historically difficult to do—the future will require you to do it.
- CX leaders will become an invaluable customer voice and advocate
If you don’t already believe it, you’re the voice of the customer. More so than any other team, you interact with customers' desires and complaints. And so your insights are extremely valuable to the rest of the team. In 2024, it’s time to act like it.
Realistically, unless you have useful insights, your colleagues in product, engineering, marketing, and sales don’t have much of a reason to collaborate with you. CX hasn’t been the most important collaborator for GTM teams. But when you become the keeper of customer data and the voice for what the customer needs, CX becomes an immovable force.
CX leaders at DataStream have become essential contributors in boardroom discussions, providing a level of customer understanding that was previously inaccessible to traditional product managers. Their CX team has presented data-backed arguments for new features and user interface enhancements which have directly influenced their product roadmap. The CX team ensures that customer needs and preferences are at the forefront of all product decisions.
It’s time for CX teams to become the product feedback experts, the sales consultants, and the voice marketing needs to create content. Not only will that help your GTM teams achieve their goals, but it will improve your customers’ experience—and that just makes a CX leader’s job easier.
- CX leaders will have to relentlessly prioritize
In the past, when ticket volume rose, your initial reaction was probably to resource it quickly. In 2024, you’ll have to resist that urge. Why? Because solving CX problems with impermanent, reactionary methods will no longer cut it. When it comes time to innovate with AI, do it because you’re thinking carefully about the practical applications and scalability, not because it’s what’s expected of you.
Instead, 2024 is the year of relentless prioritization. It’s the year to pick one problem to solve, a singular gripe that you can fix. Seek to solve that one problem, and as others inevitably arise, iterate and build from there.
Let’s imagine how a fictitious health & wellness wearable tech company would prioritize in 2024. The Customer Happiness team at WellFit embraces its role as the primary advocate of the customer. They face the challenge of modernizing their customer experience amidst escalating demands. What do they choose to focus on? The most critical pain point for their customers—the online returns process.
They build an AI agent with a self-service system that allows customers to process returns with minimal hassle. This singular focus on refining the returns experience leads to a significant drop in related support tickets and an increase in customer satisfaction scores. By focusing their resources, WellFit's CX team not only enhances a crucial aspect of their service but demonstrates the power of prioritization in the face of overwhelming demands.
“Too many CX leaders are trying to boil the ocean. It’s time to relentlessly prioritize.” - Tahsim Ahmed
Prioritization will give you the time to think critically about solving bigger problems. But if you choose unwisely, your CX team will remain a cost center—consistently overwhelmed and feeling burdened by the ever-expanding needs of the customer.
Instead, embrace a virtuous prioritization cycle. Solving Level 1 tickets with an AI assistant, will give you more time to collaborate with other teams to solve their issues. That strategic influence you gain through helping your colleagues allows you to influence the decisions needed to keep customers happy—which in turn leads to fewer tickets. As you prioritize, you will be able to scale the problems you solve, and as a result, you have more time to solve bigger problems. Thank me later.
New year, new you
Thinking about the future almost always makes me reflect on the past. And I think the advice that I would have given myself a year ago is relevant for you as you plan for this upcoming year. That’s right, I have two pieces of career advice for you after all.
First, test it and then ship it. Your digital agent might not work perfectly at first, but the things you learn in the first few days and weeks post-launch will help you iterate and innovate as you go.
And second, risk isn’t as risky as you think. If you’re going to become the best at what you do, you’re going to need to become the kind of leader your colleagues respect and are excited to collaborate with. That takes risk, but it’s so worth it.
CX folks are not just ticket-takers, we’re strategic partners. This year, it’s time for you to prove it.