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CRM Evolution 2018 Conference Recap

by Katie Liesmann on April 13, 2018

4 minute read

Our team just returned from CRM Evolution 2018, which took place in Washington D.C. on April 9-11. While attending this event, W-Systems heard from analysts, consultants, vendors, and project leaders who are among the brightest and most influential people in the CRM industry. Here are the four recurring themes we took away from CRM Evolution this year.

The Rise of Robots

There wasn’t a single session that didn’t mention the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) in some form or fashion. While people such as Elon Musk of Tesla express concern that robots may be a threat to humans, at CRM Evolution, we discussed why organizations should considering making their next hire an AI bot.  

Rather than viewing bots as a danger to or a replacement for humans, Tobias Goebel of Aspect spoke about how robots and humans have strengths and weaknesses that complement each other. The tone of AI and ML at CRM Evolution focused on how to support customer experiences, how to maintain privacy in the process, and why “hiring” a bot is a good investment to make for you and your employees.

The Return of Voice

You may have recently heard industry experts say “voice is dead.” In one session at CRM Evolution, Allyson Boudousquie, VP of Product Strategy and Markets at Convergys, argued the exact opposite. She said voice is returning in a new form because of our deep human connection to voice and language. Voice, she stated, is how we communicate with those we love, and today it's going to evolve how we interact with businesses.

The traditional technology voice tools (such as calling a 1-800 number) are in fact becoming obsolete, but voice is returning in the form of smart speakers and AI bots. At CRM Evolution, we talked a lot about how organizations can utilize voice tools such as Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa.

The Data Dilemma

It may have been a coincidence that day two of CRM Evolution was the same day that Mark Zuckerberg gave testimony in front of Congress. But it’s no coincidence that data is on everyone's minds right now with the recent Facebook data privacy breaches and the encroaching date of GDPR's enforcement on May 25th.

In a variety of sessions, a common theme was how careful organizations must be about their collection and intent of use for personal data. Attendees told stories of times when their own data privacy was violated, and we discussed how we could use these experiences to make wise decisions within our organizations.

The State of Customer Experience

Another point of discussion was the fact that many organizations talk about customer experience and customer journeys, but few create customer experience strategies and tactics that they execute.

In the opening session, Brian Solis spoke of “digital Darwinism,” a term he uses to explain how technology has changed our behaviors, attention spans, and expectations as consumers. Each device which provides us with what we want and when we want it has evolved us into an “accidental narcissist”. The technology invented and sold by organizations created these behavior morphing side effects unintentionally, and in response, organizations are forced to change themselves to provide new experiences that meet these new consumer expectations. He argued that there are still many industries and spaces whose processes need to catch up by putting the consumer experience at the center of their organization.

Final Thoughts

Our team had a great time sponsoring, learning, and networking at CRM Evolution 2018. Did you attend? If so, what themes stood out to you? Let us know here.

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