Highlights of NICE Interactions 2024

steven bartlett talking at NICE Interactions

This week, Darren Rushworth, President International at NICE, welcomed 1,000 CX experts from 53 countries – including Singapore, Japan, and even New Zealand – to NICE Interactions 2024 in London, representing a staggering 1.5 million agents and 3 billion digital interactions per year, and bringing together a huge CX ecosystem, including 80 partners, to showcase the latest in CX AI innovation.

The Call Centre Helper team were in attendance. Here, our Editor, Megan Jones, shares the highlights and key learnings…

Never in the History of CX Has the Industry Needed a New Perspective

A packed line-up of talks
and panel discussions

As the conference opened, stories of invention and innovation highlighted the power of changing perspective, as Barak Eilam, CEO at NICE, explained, sharing examples of how Velcro, the microwave, and Nike trainers were invented: “There is nothing so limiting as viewing opportunities through the same lens of yesterday’s challenges.

You need to switch from a mindset of limitation to liberation. It’s the spark for igniting accelerated growth.”

Leaders are often defined by their ability to navigate these changes, as Barak continued, “We’re living through times of accelerated transformation, led by the cloud, digital, and artificial intelligence.

Never in the history of CX has the industry needed a new perspective. We need to take a step back to gain this new perspective and allow a new world to unfold before us.”

AI Is the Alchemist… Finally Bringing People, Technology, and Processes Together

Barak also discussed the game-changing power of AI: “Aligning people, technology, and processes at scale has always been the biggest challenge.

Historically, it’s felt like we’ve all been trying to push together oil, fire, and water in one container – and spent a lot of time trying to make this work.

Now, AI has the ultimate potential to be the alchemist to finally bring them all together in a more natural way, as we enter a period of grand refactoring, grand convergence, and grand fusion.

New Career Paths Will Open Up for Agents to Become AI Orchestrators

He went on to discuss the way this will shape agents’ core job roles and careers, highlighting the power of augmenting agents by serving up proactive, of the moment, insights via copilot – connecting the right now with customer history to personalize every customer experience.

Not only this, but the active role agents will play in training AI through ongoing reverse prompting (where agents will train AI on how to handle similar scenarios in future) and how we need to start using the new term ‘skillability’ to describe this new dynamic skill exchange between AI and agents, which will ultimately open up new career paths to agents, such as ‘AI Orchestrator’.

AI Has Gone From an Overhyped Buzzword to a Critical Part of Every Business Strategy

The CX world has come so far on its AI journey

Barry Cooper, President, NICE CX Division, then took to the stage, highlighting just how far the CX world has come on its AI journey: “AI has gone from an overhyped buzzword to a critical part of every business strategy – from designing processes, to revolutionizing customer interactions.”

He then went on to explain the growing capabilities of NICE CXone, an operating system breaking down silos for agents and customers alike, by bringing WFM, customer analytics, intelligent virtual agents, digital engagements, inbound and outbound together – all in one place.

Also, how the focus on CX AI sets it apart, as Barry continued, “As it’s purpose built and trained on the industry’s largest data sets of CX insights, CX AI brings immediate value and ROI compared to generic uses of AI – whether users want to use it for quality, sales, compliance, or complaints.”

Automated Intelligence and Augmented Intelligence Will Work in Harmony

Next Barry looked to the future of CX AI, and introduced the Experience Continuum, where automated intelligence and augmented intelligence will work together in harmony, “We will see automated intelligence creating experiences that outperform agents, whilst augmented intelligence will use AI to supercharge agents with real-time insights and next-best actions to deliver personalized context-aware experiences. It will be about working smarter and faster – not harder.

He then put the spotlight on how AI can support supervisors too, and how the next-gen autopilot dashboard can show everything from recommendations to training opportunities for the day ahead, as well as insights into their own performance and where they’re having the most intervention impact with their team.

Not only that, but how the platform can also notify them about escalating calls and deliver a summary of the issue so far, so they can jump onto calls armed with the context they need to support their agents and de-escalate customer issues.

As Barry added, “In today’s world of complex calls, supervisors really need more sophistication and support to get their job done well.”

AI Is Going to Have an Impact on Agent Numbers

Later on in the day, Matt Townend, Director at Cavell Group, hosted the ‘CX Trends Shaping the Future’ panel discussion and asked “What’s going to happen to agent numbers?”

In response, Richard Abdy, Head of Business Transformation and Development at SVL, said, “As we stand today, numbers have been fairly static – with 900,000 agents in the UK representing 4% of the working population – despite the previous generations of technology that have taken away a lot of low-hanging fruit.

So, in the immediate short term, I think numbers are not going to go down massively, but as we train AI to get better and better and automate more and more complex interactions, this will impact agent numbers.

As Barry Webb, Senior Digital Strategist at Business Systems, added, this is already happening in some companies: “We will see a reduction in agents! We’re already seeing this right now in one of our clients (an online retailer) who is seeing significant movement in agent numbers since rolling out AI.

However, I expect we will see a lag here in the UK, as the offshore teams will be hit first, as simpler transactions are increasingly handled by AI.”

Fail Fast and Avoid Wasting Precious Time Making Decisions

Steven Bartlett then closed NICE Interactions 2024 by sharing some of the biggest lessons in his career so far.

This included to fail fast and actively increase the rate of experimentation in your team to avoid wasting precious time making decisions, “The biggest risk in business is not being wrong, it’s the time wasted making a decision! That nine months you wait for the finance team to sign off an £9k invoice costs you far more than the amount on the invoice!

“This speed of decision-making is key and can get you pretty far in life – even if you’re wrong. This mindset is even more pertinent in the age of AI.

If the correct answer is changing all the time, you have to accelerate the pace of experimentation and decision-making in your organization.”

You have to incentivize your team to try and fail faster than other companies and increase the rate of experimentation in order to succeed. To thrive, you should have a daily fail culture and even appoint a Head of Failure in your team! – Steven Bartlett

Change Your Perspective, Augment Your Agents, and Fail Fast!

As the event came to a close, the key takeaways were clear… Change your perspective, augment your agents, and embed a culture of failing fast to make sure you truly master CX AI – and don’t get left behind.

Were you at NICE Interactions 2024? What were your key takeaways? Get in touch via LinkedIn and let us know.

Author: Megan Jones
Reviewed by: Hannah Swankie

Published On: 27th Jun 2024 - Last modified: 23rd Jul 2024
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