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Future of Customer Experience Podcast: Tech and the Role of Humans

6 minute read

The future of customer experience (CX) is going to very much about the interface between technologies such as the cloud, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and us humans. IF we take the old age of people, process and technology, then most crucial aspects of the process of customer experience and customer engagement has to be how technology is used to develop and enhance the customer experience, and what the technology can do to meet customer needs, wants and desires – while also making the organisation more efficient, productive and profitable. 

Nevertheless, and perhaps because technology is often touted as the enabler of many things these days – including Customer Relationship Management and customer engagement, this podcast began with a discussion about the role and significance of cloud technology, and its application in managing customer experience. 


Hosting the conversation was Engage Business Media’s guest editor Gerry Brown, and then our guests were Zaheer Gilani, Director of Strategy and Consulting at Genesys and Kashaf Chaudry, Director of Strategic Accounts UKI at Genesys. The panel began by considering what the proliferation of ‘the cloud’ means, including the expression of ‘moving to the cloud.’ 

For example, questions were asked about what do organisations want to achieve, it is just a data transition, do we just need storage, do we need to execute in the cloud? Ultimately, the question should be about how CRM, customer engagement and CX tools impact the customer, and then the organisation itself. The latter could manifest in increased customer loyalty, sales and profitability. 

Whenever it comes to cloud technology, organisations have a choice:

  • Buy and ‘off-the-shelf’ package, which may or may not be customisable.
  • Or build your own cloud client, which often entails them hiring virtualisation layers and management to create their own pipeline. At the other end of the stacks is the actual use case and the business problem that needs to be resolve.
  • Or take a cloud solution ‘as-as-service’, which might be platform-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), or software-as-a-service (SaaS).  
  • Or Contact Centre as a Service (CcaaS) - a framework that combines contact centre hosting principles and cloud-based contact centre infrastructure.

What is clear, with increasing data volumes, is that cloud storage has become an increasingly important issue. Still for CX professionals and for business managers, the key concerns are whether or not cloud technology in customer service, customer experience, and customer engagement roles can lead to a competitive advantage in the market. What it certainly does offer them is flexibility and scalability – enabling them to expand their businesses. 

Here's what it can also enable:

  • Remote working – to allow employees to work from just about anywhere.
  • Real-time data analytics – perhaps coupled with AI.
  • Enable better analysis of data insights, which can help to develop, improve and change CX strategies.
  • The use of application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate different CX, CRM, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and accounting systems, platforms and infrastructure.
  • Cyber-security to ensure that customer and enterprise data is kept secure. 

Remember that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Organisations have to consider quite carefully about whether their cloud solutions should on-premise or managed by a cloud service provider. They also need to consider vendor lock-ins and data portability in case they need to move data from one cloud provider to another. All of this requires due diligence to be undertaken. 

Off-premise cloud benefits include a reduction in capital expenditure (CapEX), and organisations don’t have a reliance of physical infrastructure or hardware. This offer much flexibility. From a customer experience perspective, it may also be possible to run a much more efficient and customer-centric operation by delivering a much better service for customers. For example, an organisation may be able to develop more features faster, delivery them and get to market quicker. Cloud can also allow organisations to respond to competitive threats more quickly. 

Other factors that can be expedited include:

  • The introduction of new challenges, new customer engagement touchpoints.
  • The enablement of your sales and marketing workforce.
  • Ensuring that the latest innovation is at your own organisation’s fingertips.
  • Enabling with SaaS a predictability of cost, budget and ROI. 


The future of customer experience is basically that it is not frail; it is intelligent, it is predictive, and it is proactive. This can be achieved from one platform, permitting the delivery of the best customer experience possible. 

Even before AI, cloud allows you to deliver much better experience because you can tap into the data that you need to, for example, orchestrate a much better journey today, even if you were not using the AI to do it It’s therefore no surprise that everyone's talking about where AI fits into the customer experience landscape in quite of few areas. It’s also cloud technology that has brought it to the forefront, albeit that it already existed in small pockets. Now, AI has become mainstream because of this move and adoption of the cloud.    

AI can be used for big data analytics, for example, to:

  • Predict customer behaviour to determine sales, marketing, and CX strategies.
  • Determine the customer journey, and an organisation’s channel strategies.
  • Find market trends that may otherwise have been hidden by the volumes of data that organisations have to store and analyse each day.  
  • Aside from data analytics, AI is being used to automate mundane, but crucial, repetitive processes; and for modelling to predictive various scenarios and outcomes. 

Increasingly generative AI, or GenAI is being used, to summarise calls or interactions, so that agents can spend more time on strategic considerations, and less time on administration. This can save a huge amount of time, and as a tool it can be used to increase their knowledge.  AI can also find information, co-locate that information, summarise it in a way, and present it in a way that's relevant, and do that at high speed – saving agents much time, and bottom line costs. CX is improved because they will be able to respond to customers with more confidence. 


With the proliferated use of AI, there's a lot of debate about the future role of humans. Some say it’s going to help people, while there are others that voice concerns because they feel it’s going to replace them. The counter argument to the latter is that it will create new roles, or at the very least their roles will ultimately have to change. Arguably, there are certain things that you don't need humans to do, such as the manual analysis or creation of data insights. 

AI is the perfect automated candidate for doing that job. However, humans will be required when there is a need to address complexity, empathy, and whenever emotion is part of any interaction. In contrast, AI can speed up tasks and reduce human effort. AI can allow humans to focus on what they do best, while we can let them do what they do best. 

So, AI is about augmenting the role of humans in CX, and not necessarily about replacing them. With this in mind, it essential to be mindful of AI’s limitations – including its inability to empathise. For customer engagement and CX to be effective, a human workforce may have to, at some point, interact with customers and to develop authentic customer relationships with their customers. That’s because as humans we want to interact with other people. 

Innovation around CX has to be tempered with ethics. AI could go wrong – especially with customers. Safety protocols, including the ethics for their appropriate use, therefore need to be in place. With that it place, there will still be a role for human being in the whole CX process. Organisations should also embrace the cloud and AI with open eyes, and your challenges ahead to ensure that they can be addressed in the most cost-effective manner. Enhance and change CX strategies, while being conscious of the risks and opportunities of using new technologies.  CX success will come from being able to adopt an appropriate, sensible approach. 

Learn more, listen to ‘The Future of CX Podcast.’ 

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