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Seven commonly misused buzzwords in CX

Posted June 10, 2021
Illustration of magnifying glass and dictionary

In order to be successful, companies need to synthesize omnipromotional vendor metrics with backend transformative KPIs.

Has your company not completed this step successfully? The problem isn’t so much to do with the incompatibility. No, the problem is much more to do with the fact that omnipromotional vendor metrics with backend transformative KPIs do not actually exist — today.

But with the fast pace of innovation and the resulting proliferation of jargon, it is not far-fetched to suggest that you might come across that very sentence or something like it in the not-so-distant future. Surely, however, there would be a better, clearer way to communicate it.

Jargon isn’t new. Every industry has its own laundry list of buzzwords and niche terminology. In fact, you probably come across jargon everyday. When was the last time someone told you that a project had lots of moving parts, or that it required you to really drill down to get to the bottom of it? Don’t answer that now — just “circle back” later.

Digital customer experience is no exception. As the industry continues to develop rapidly, so too it seems, does the list of buzzwords. In order to help you to understand, and differentiate between, the key terms, we’ve taken the time to assemble a short glossary.

Here are seven of the most commonly misused buzzwords in customer experience — and what they actually mean.

1. Customer experience (CX)

It’s not uncommon to see customer experience and customer service used interchangeably, but the two terms are actually very distinct.

Customer experience is the complete customer interaction with a brand culminated through every single engagement they have had with it. It represents everything from packaging and presentation, to in-store experiences, to online shopping interactions, to social media communication, to contact center inquiries, to up-selling — and everything in between.

Of course, CX differs from customer service, which is more specifically the assistance a brand might offer before, during and after a purchase. It often requires explaining the product or service, answering customers’ questions and troubleshooting any usability or concerns that may come up after the purchase has been made.

2. Digital customer experience (DX)

Think CX, but technology related. Digital customer experience is not concerned with packaging or other offline customer interactions. By extension, the same differences between digital customer experience and customer service apply.

Digital customer experience (DX) is the culmination of a customer’s experience in interacting with a brand via digital channels. The experience is formed by the customer’s perception of their interactions, including efficiency and accessibility. DX applies across all digital media — websites, mobile apps, social media, chatbots and more.

3. Digital transformation

Often used as a term for any project remotely involving “tech” regardless of purpose, digital transformation is said so widely, and loosely, that its real meaning is often lost.

To be clear, digital transformation is all about leveraging technologies to evolve decision making for greater innovation. To borrow from the InfoBrief we created in partnership with IDC about DX and digital transformation: Don’t forget that while technology is a key enabler, it is not an end unto itself. Innovation in business models, culture and talent all play a critical role.

Moreover, know that digital transformation has no clear finish line, but must be considered an ongoing process in order to keep pace with new technologies entering the market. Future competitiveness will be determined by those that make digital evolution a part of their core DNA to continuously adapt ahead of their competitors.

4. Chatbot

The search term “chatbot” yields over 46 million results on Google. But do we really know what we’re searching for?

Chatbot is a software that can emulate human conversation through text or voice. Chatbot is often used as a catchall term but there are wide variety of solutions that range in their capabilities from the very basic FAQ bot to the AI-enabled virtual assistant.

The emergence of this style of response programming has become an attractive solution for brands looking to scale their customer service efforts. Identifying what you want to accomplish with a chatbot will help you determine the right solution (and the correct terminology to use) for your brand.

5. Omnichannel

Omni means all, multi means many. It might seem like we’re splitting hairs, but omnichannel and multichannel are indeed much different in practice.

Omnichannel as an approach is about delivering seamless CX across all support channels where customer data is shared for a consistent experience regardless of touchpoint. The focus is on an effortless customer journey and the metrics used to track it are reflective of the experience in full.

In contrast, multichannel is focused on delivering a customer experience across many channels (like stores, web, social, mobile), however, each channel operates within a silo and data is not shared. With multichannel CX, customer service agents tend to be channel specific and the metrics used to track effectiveness are isolated accordingly.

Looking to develop a deeper understanding of the nuance? Take a look at our omnichannel vs. multichannel infographic.

6. Personalization

Personalization is not just your favorite website launching a pop up that reads “Welcome back, First name” or your favorite retailer sending you a happy birthday email. It goes far beyond the basics to show deep knowledge of the customer. There’s no question — for brands to demonstrate that they understand their customers, personalization is key.

Personalization is the practice of adapting your CX according to individual customer preferences and behavior. Increasingly, customers expect a degree of personalization, which shows that a brand is taking the time to get to know them as they progress through their journeys.

It’s all unlocked by data. Clean, trustworthy data is critical to support personalization. It is through data that a brand can begin to go beyond naming customers to truly knowing them.

7. Call center

Merriam Webster defines a call center as “an office equipped to handle a large volume of telephone calls for an organization (such as a retailer, bank, or marketing firm) especially for taking orders or for providing customer service.”

While there is nothing wrong with that technical definition, it often is far from what a modern customer experience provider is able to deliver today. Starting with the very fact that many consumers prefer alternative contact methods like email, chat or social media. Layer in next-gen technology like conversational bots and big data and call center starts to sound as relevant as “cassette player.” Contact center is a more appropriate term when referring to the location of customer service delivery that extends beyond the traditional service offering.

Potato: Pohtato

The most commonly misused buzzwords in CX are by definition a moving target, if you can excuse the jargon. Language is ever-evolving — so too is the customer experience industry — and as a result, new terminology makes its way into our conversations to keep up.

Fortunately, you don’t need to try to keep track of all of the buzzwords yourself. Good partners in the CX space know the subject matter and can articulate it clearly without sounding like a dial up modem. It doesn’t have to be complicated. If you take away one thing, let it be this: customer experience puts customers first.

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