A performance report comparing Google Dialogflow, IBM Watson, Microsoft LUIS, Netomi and RASA.
Business adoption of AI has accelerated tenfold as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a handful of conversational AI platforms have emerged as the leaders in the space. We set out to see how Netomi’s Natural Language Understanding (NLU) performs against the most prominent conversational AI platforms: Google Dialogflow, IBM Watson, Microsoft LUIS and RASA.
The report reveals a lot of disparity in AI performance even amongst the most established platforms, signaling that even as the market matures, the end user experience is still greatly differentiated based on the underlying AI platform a company deploys.
When we look holistically at different conversational AI performances in the context of the end-user experience, customers are anywhere between 0.6X – 7.44X less frustrated when engaging with Netomi-powered bots, compared to other AI platforms. This is because IBM Watson, Microsoft LUIS, RASA and Google Dialog Flow are more likely to respond incorrectly to topics that they have not been trained on. Furthermore, the Netomi AI is anywhere between 11.97% – 23.38% points better at predicting the right course of action, in comparison to other leading AI platforms.
NLU Benchmarking Report: The Process
Each platform was thoroughly tested with 14 datasets representing real-world customer service queries. We assessed the ability of an AI to correctly answer use cases for businesses of all sizes (small to enterprise). The datasets spanned four core consumer-facing industries: retail, travel, gaming and telecommunications.
In our benchmarking report, we measured a few key metrics including Accuracy, Out of Scope Accuracy and Balanced Accuracy. Here are the highlights of the report:
Accuracy: In conversational AI, accuracy relates to the total number of correct replies out of all replies for trained topics. Higher accuracy means that the AI is responding accurately, therefore causing less user frustration than if the bot provided an incorrect or irrelevant response. In the Conversational AI Benchmarking Report, Netomi has the highest accuracy (85.17%), followed by IBM Watson (73.20%), Google Dialogflow (71.16%), RASA (68.56%) and Microsoft LUIS (61.79%).
Out of Scope Accuracy: Conversational AI with high out-of-scope accuracy decreases user frustration, as it understands which topics it is not trained on and follows the appropriate behavior (i.e. escalates a user query to a human agent or directs them to another channel). We found that Netomi has the highest out-of-scope accuracy at 92.45%, signaling that it causes the least amount of user frustration associated with incorrectly answering a question that it has not been trained on. IBM Watson performs second best at only 52.82%, followed by Google Dialogflow (36.45%), Microsoft LUIS (19.65%) and RASA (10.64%).
Balanced Accuracy accounts for both coverage rates and out of scope accuracy. It’s the measure of value delivered by a conversational AI agent. When Balanced Accuracy is low, user frustration can be expected due to the bot’s incorrect or irrelevant responses. For Balanced Accuracy, Netomi scores the highest at 68.46%, followed by IBM Watson (59.81%), Google Dialogflow (52.95%), RASA (40.13%) and Microsoft LUIS (39.52%).
Businesses are adopting conversational AI platforms to enhance the user experience, create efficiencies and reduce costs. To reach these goals, the underlying AI platform needs to accurately understand the user and regoniznize what it hasn’t been trained on to take the right course of action. If not, users become frustrated and often reach out to companies on other channels, driving up costs. This study found that even amongst the most prominent conversational AI platforms, there is huge disparity regarding the strength of the NLU. Companies need to understand which platforms will deliver the best end-user experience in order to take full advantage of the superpowers of AI.
Conversational AI is growing more prevalent every day. Not just in business, but for entertainment purposes as well. Whenever computers have conversations with humans, there’s a lot of work engineers need to do to make the interactions as human-like as possible. Whether you’re messaging with a chatbot, responding to an automated email or speaking with a virtual assistant, computers are working hard behind the scenes to interpret what is being said (sometimes called “intent classification”), determine the appropriate response, and respond in a way that’s natural and easily understandable to humans. This article will highlight the key elements of conversational AI, including its history, popular use cases, how it works, and more.
The concept of Conversational AI has been around for decades, but it wasn’t always something that was wildly talked about. According to data from Google Trends, interest in “conversational AI” was practically non-existent from 2005 through 2017. However, over the last 3 years, interest in Conversational AI has grown exponentially.
In the US, search volume for conversational AI has never been higher.
What is Conversational AI?
At a high level, conversational AI is a form of artificial intelligence that facilitates the real-time human-like conversation between a human and a computer.
It’s important to note that conversational AI isn’t a single thing; it’s a combination of different technologies, including natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, deep learning, and contextual awareness.
Conversational AI vs Chatbots
The main difference between and Conversational AI and chatbots is that conversational AI has much more artificial intelligence compared to chatbots. We’ll touch on the differences even more in the next section. With that said, there is a lot of ambiguity surrounding the differences between conversational AI and chatbots. The discrepancies are so few that Wikipedia has declared – at least for the moment – that a separate Conversational AI Wikipedia page is not necessary because it is so similar to the Chatbot Wikipedia page.
Why the confusion?
One reason why the two terms are used so interchangeably is because the word “chatbot” is simply easier to say. A chatbot also feels tangible to our imagination – I visualize a tiny robot that has conversations behind a computer screen with people. Whereas a conversational AI is more conceptual than physical in nature.
One common application for conversational AI is to be incorporated into chatbots. Chatbots provide convenient, immediate and effortless experiences for customers by getting customers the answers they need quickly. Instead of scrolling through pages of FAQs or sitting through long wait times on hold to speak to an agent, customers can receive a reply in seconds. However, not all chatbots use conversational AI.
It might be more accurate to think of conversational AI as the brainpower within an application, or in this case, the brainpower within a chatbot.
Find out what your ROI will be if you build an AI chatbot. Try our free Conversational AI ROI calculator today.
Perhaps you’ve been frustrated before when a website’s chatbot continually asks you for the same information or failed to understand what you were saying. In this scenario, you likely engaged with a scripted, rules-based chatbot, with little to no conversational AI.
There are several notable differences between conversational AI chatbots and scripted chatbots. Traditional scripting chatbots require companies to write out all the responses to anticipated customer questions beforehand. Next, these responses are matched to keywords. Whenever a customer’s reply or question contains one of these keywords, the chatbot automatically responds with the scripted response.
Scripted chatbots have multiple disadvantages compared to conversational AI. First and foremost, these bots cannot provide the correct response if a customer uses a phrase or synonym that differs even slightly from what has been pre-programmed. Companies that implement scripted chatbots or virtual assistants need to do the tedious work of thinking up every possible variation of a customer’s question and match the scripted response to it. Think about the Comcast example above. When you consider the idea of having to anticipate the 1,700 ways a person might ask one straightforward question, it’s clear why rules-based bots often provide frustrating and limited user experiences. Compare this to conversational AI enabled chatbots that can detect synonyms and look at the entire context of what a person is saying in order to decipher a customer’s true intent.
Scripted chatbots are also unable to remember information across long conversations. Because it’s impossible to write out every possible variation of a back-and-forth conversation, scripted chatbots need to repeatedly ask for information to match a response to a pre-set conversational flow. This rigid experience does not provide any leeway for a customer to go off script, or ask a question in the middle of a flow, without confusing the bot. Meanwhile, conversational AI chatbots can use contextual awareness and episodic memory to recall what has been said previously, provide a relevant reply and pick up a flow where it left off. All in all, conversational AI chatbots provide a much more natural, human-like interaction.
Why Conversational AI is becoming so critical today
Businesses use conversational AI for marketing, sales and support to engage along the entire customer journey. One of the most popular and successful implementations is conversational AI for customer service and customer experience, a $600B industry with a lot of repetitive knowledge work.
The more advanced conversational AI can enable companies to analyze and identify when customer questions and issues to identify common pain points to preemptively intervene before a customer ever reaches out.
Conversational AI for CX is incredibly versatile and can be implemented into a variety of customer service channels, including email, voice, chat, social and messaging. This helps businesses scale support to new and emerging channels to meet customers where they are.
Learn 5 strategies for successful customer service automation in this exclusive Freshworks webinar.
Top Conversational AI Applications and Use Cases
Automate resolutions to common FAQs – Many businesses have 5-7 different kinds of questions that make up over 50% of the total customer service questions by volume. A powerful AI can interpret the various different ways people might ask the same question. For example, an airline might deploy a travel chatbot to resolve highly repetitive questions, like “can I change my flight?”, without human agent intervention.
Increase customer engagement – Conversational AI can proactively reach out to customers at key points along the customer journey or based on behavior signals to provide information at the exact moment of relevance. This can help to drive revenue, decrease churn and eliminate frustration.
Improve product accessibility – Businesses are relying on artificial intelligence to provide more inclusive services to all of their customers. A powerful AI can leverage NLP and NLU to automatically translate text, or even text to speech. By doing so, businesses can help those with disabilities use their products better.
Earlier we mentioned the different technologies that power conversational AI, one of which is natural language processing (NLP). NLP isn’t different from conversational AI; rather it’s one of the components that enables it.
NLP is frequently interchanged with terms like natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language generation (NLG), but at a high level, NLP is the umbrella term that includes these two other technologies.
Because human speech is highly unstandardized, natural language understanding is what helps a computer decipher what a customer’s intent is. It looks at the context of what a person has said – not simply performing keyword matching and looking up the dictionary meaning of a word – to accurately understand what a person needs. This is important because people can ask for the same thing in hundreds of different ways. In fact, Comcast found that there are 1,700 different ways to say “I’d like to pay my bill.” Leveraging NLU can help conversational AI understand all of these different ways without being explicitly trained on each variance. Sophisticated NLU can also understand grammatical mistakes, slang, misspellings, short-form and industry-specific terms – just like a human would.
Once a customer’s intent (what the customer wants) is identified, machine learning is used to determine the appropriate response. Over time, as it processes more responses, the conversational AI learns which response performs the best and improves its accuracy.
Finally, natural language generation creates the response to the customer. This technology leverages its understanding of human speech to create an easy-to-understand reply that’s as human-like as possible.
More advanced conversational AI can also use contextual awareness to remember bits of information over a longer conversation to facilitate a more natural back and forth dialogue between a computer and a customer.
How To Build Conversational AI
We’ve gone over the advantages of conversational AI and why it’s important for businesses. Now, we’ll discuss how your organization can build and implement a conversational AI for your business.
While some companies try to build their own conversational AI technology in-house, the fastest and most efficient way to bring conversational AI to your business is by partnering with a company like Netomi. These technology companies have been perfecting their AI engines and algorithms, investing heavily in R+D and learning from real-world implementations. With customer expectations rising for the interactions that they have with chatbots, companies can no longer afford to have anything interacting with customers that’s not highly accurate.
There are a few simple steps that go into creating a strategy for conversational AI:
Define your goals – Are you trying to increase customer satisfaction or decrease resolution time? Do you want to alleviate mundane work from your human agents? Can you introduce proactive customer service to solve issues before you even know they exist?
Train your AI – Train your AI based on your historical tickets. That way, you can leverage your existing data to understand how your customers have asked a specific question in the past, increasing the accuracy of your conversational AI.
Design journeys and workflows – Design conversations and user journeys, create a personality for your conversational AI and ensure your covering all of your top use cases.
Integrate – Depending on your use cases, you might want to also integrate with your other back-end systems like your CRM or accounting software. This way, the conversational AI can actually pull in data from these sources to resolve customer service issues on an individual basis without human intervention.
Measure – You’ll want to measure the impact your Conversational AI is having on your customer service KPIs, including first response rate, average handle time, CSAT, AI and human agent collaboration, and more.
Optimize – Over time, as the AI has more customer service interactions, you can uncover further opportunities to train the AI and empower it to solve even more tickets. You can also help retrain the AI if it did not provide the correct response in a specific scenario, enhancing the experience over time.
Conversational AI is growing in popularity and for good reason. More and more businesses are beginning to leverage this artificial intelligence to improve their customer support, marketing, and overall customer experience.
Customers care more today about every interaction they have with a company. There is an inherent demand for immediate, effortless resolutions across an increasing number of channels. Even one bad experience can turn someone off from ever doing business with a company again. Conversational AI can help companies scale the experiences that people expect by providing resolutions to everyday questions and issues in seconds. That way, human agents are only brought in when there is a complex, unique or sensitive request.
For more information on conversational AI, discover how to provide brilliant AI-powered salesforce chatbot solutions to every customer, every time. Depending on the industry you serve, you may also be interested in checking out our eBooks on telecom and media and entertainment.
Not all chatbots are created equal. In this post, we’ll cover a step-by-step chatbot demo guide of what to look for, including the key questions to ask, to make sure that you adopt the best AI for your business.
Before we get into the questions you should ask during your chatbot demo, let’s quickly cover why now is a good time to explore chatbots.
Why look at chatbots at all?
Automating customer service, meeting evolving customer preferences and expectations, 24/7 availability and ‘always on’ support are among the notable features and benefits of AI-powered chatbots. By this year (2022), chatbots could help to cut business costs by more than $8 billion per year, this same research also estimating that average cost savings will be within the range of $0.50-$0.70 per interaction. Are such cost savings statistics relevant for your business? If yes, then you want to get a demo added to your schedule in the not-too-distant future.
It is great to hear or read about the benefits of chatbots, but before you adopt the technology, it’s critical to understand the differences between chatbot vendors.
If you’re evaluating chatbots for the first time, you might not know what questions to ask or what to look for. What are the key features that need to be touched on, and that will make your chatbot a success? How many external resources are needed in order to launch?
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top questions you should ask during all your future chatbot demos.
Questions to Ask In Your Chatbot Demo:
Question #1: Does It Connect to Your Knowledge Base?
Armed with a strong ‘Do it yourself (DIY)’ attitude, many users today like the concept of customer self service, and of helping themselves. We see this with online banking, or with travelers choosing to check their bags via an airport kiosk. To meet the demands of the modern customer, companies over the past several years have created robust Knowledge Bases (also referred to as Help Centers) on Zendesk and other leading customer experience platforms. Such resources contain articles covering recurring topics and questions on products and services.
Yet the joining of the best knowledge base software, used in parallel with AI-based customer service chatbots is the ultimate combination, offering the perfect combination. Why? When interacting with customers, the most advanced chatbots can summarize and provide the most relevant information to a customer, even if it hasn’t been explicitly trained on a certain topic. This is much more advanced than a bot that simply picks up on keywords and provides a link within the chat (here, essentially the bot becomes simply a searchable knowledge base). For the best customer experience, don’t link out to articles from a chatbot, but provide all relevant information within the same interface.
Follow up questions to ask:
How easy is it to integrate with my knowledge base?
Can the bot go beyond just linking out articles in a knowledge base, and actually provide a full resolution within the chat interface?
How quickly can integration with my knowledge base be done?
What internal resources are required for this integration?
Can you use our knowledge base to train an AI chatbot?
Question #2: How Do You Train The AI?
How will the AI be trained – is it manual or is it done automatically? Netomi’s Clustering Engine, for instance, utilizes unsupervised learning to sift through and cluster your historic tickets, honing in on repeatable scenarios based on semantic affinity that may be automated, that is, phrases belonging to the same semantic category. Common queries, such as ‘ When will I get my money back,’ and ‘I haven’t received my refund yet’ may be grouped together, under the category of ‘refund status.’ Automatically merging these categories together significantly reduces training time and reduces the effort needed to launch an AI that understands the various ways in which a person might pose a question.
In one example, Comcast found that there are 1,700 ways that a person might inquire about the straightforward issue: ‘I want to pay my bill.’ Without using unsupervised learning, an AI might not be able to initially understand that ‘I’d like to settle my account’ carries the exact same meaning, unless it has been explicitly trained to recognize these subtle differences.
Follow up questions to ask:
How much effort is required from the company to train an AI?
Can an AI be trained in multiple languages?
How much training data is required?
Discover the return on investing in AI for customer service with Netomi’s ROI calculator!
Question #3: How Do I Create Flows?
While some customer queries are simple FAQs, others require more in-depth conversations. In order to deliver the most relevant and personalized experiences, you might need to ask a customer for an order number, email address, or preferences for flight times. In these instances, chatbots will need to have more complex workflows built. So in a demo, getting a sense of how these flows are created, how arduous or simple the process is, and what internal skillsets are needed is important.
For instance, we at Netomi recently introduced our Visual Response Builder, enabling customer service teams to create user workflows via a simple drag-and-drop interface. Using this tool, teams can easily configure responses, use conditional branching to unlock unique flows based on a customer’s response, and easily escalate chats to a live agent, when needed.
Follow up questions to ask:
In a workflow, what can be configured?
What UX tools are available? (buttons, cards, carousels, etc.)
How difficult are flows to create, and would one be able to create them on their own?
Is access to this tool available out-of-the-box?
Does creating flows require any coding?
How am I able to add personalization to flows?
Question #4: How Do I Measure and Analyze Success?
Prior to deploying a chatbot, there needs to be some way of gauging performance. Is it working as intended? How are your customers adapting and responding to this new tool? This is why having analytics in place is key. You need to know what analytics your chatbot provider has available, so you can make sure you can track the KPIs that are most important to your team.
Netomi’s analytics dashboard, for instance, highlights real-time performance data on key customer service metrics, including AI resolution rate, in-depth topic analysis, and engagement metrics. It also offers the ability to track how well the AI is performing, and how this is changing over time. Are there any new categories of queries that can potentially be automated?
When it comes to analytics, here are some follow up questions to ask:
Can I drill down for different date ranges?
Can I customize analytics?
Can I export data?
In what ways can the chatbot be optimized after launch?
Final Thoughts and Key Takeaways
Not every chatbot platform is the same. Before you adopt a chatbot partner, you need to take a strategic approach by figuring out the effort it will take from your team, the steps that are involved, and all tools, analytics and features available, in addition to the user experience it will provide.
When evaluating a demo, take a hard look at its features, and don’t be afraid to ask questions to get the best live chat software for your site!
Now that we have covered the basics of what to look out for, is it time to see a chatbot demo in action? Connect with us at Netomi, and we will demonstrate how you can easily build workflows and integrate with your back-end systems, and scale your support across every channel.
Here’s a recap of the discussion, featuring some of its top takeaways.
What’s changed with customer experience in the post-pandemic world?
Nick Mehta: Three key things have changed:
First, most human beings switched to a very digital lifestyle. Digital became the default mechanism for communication and life, whether it’s working, watching Netflix or ordering food. Everyone is now living their life online. This has caused people to expect digital-first, intelligent customer experiences.
Additionally, the pandemic has caused an incredible variance in demand. So many brands have experienced demand screech to a halt and then skyrocket again. There have been crazy fads, including brussel sprouts trending on tiktok one week and then grocery stores running out of them. With this variability of demand, companies need to know how to scale customer experience up and down.
Third, in the B2B space, the concept of customer success has blown up because software has blown up. The number of software companies has grown so significantly and there is this need for these software companies to deliver great experiences and outcomes to their customers.
What changes in customer experience are you seeing post-pandemic?
Puneet Mehta: Pre-pandemic, there was a thought process that, in order to build connections, you needed to have two people talking. There was a need to connect customers with agents. Suddenly, the definition of that connection has changed. The definition of connection is now instant help – being helpful in the moment.
The second thing is the increase in customer service tickets, whether this is a result of the global supply chain issues or travel resuming around the world. In 2022, support teams across industries are preparing for more tickets.
Third, we saw a big shift in the role of CX within an organization, and customer experience executives now have a seat at the executive table. The C-suite now really recognizes the need to provide incredible customer experiences.
How has customer experience evolved?
PM: Post-pandemic, conversations have become very goal-driven. We’re seeing people want to get to the point, and get to the point quickly. Customers are losing their patience and want a resolution quickly. Increasingly, good customer experience is going to be about understanding a person’s context, and having situational awareness. Someone standing on the corner of the street in the rain has different needs and expectations than someone sitting on their couch on a Saturday. The former individual would need immediate help, while the latter may have a bit more patience.
When do you apply automation to customer success?
NM: It’s important to realize that, for a lot of consumers, it is good for them too. A lot of us like the self-service experience and appreciate it more as we as a society are becoming more technical.
In the B2B world, digital customer experience is a strategy that should be applied to all customers, not based on deal or company size. Automation, however, might not be right for all touchpoints, but it can be right for all customers.
How do you define AI when it comes to customer experience?
PM: We think about it as ‘A’ standing for ‘Access’ and ‘I’ standing for ‘Intimacy.’ We’re delivering that combination of access and intimacy between businesses and their customers in a very goal-driven way.
What are your top CX forecasts for 2022?
NM: First, I see the blending of digital experience and products. The more that customers are living in the product, the more there will come to be an expectation to receive support within the product itself, whether it’s a device, software, app or embedded product. It’s all about building the experience into the product, rather than having the customer need to go somewhere else.
Second, AI is more real than ever before. It’s not just a buzzword. Companies are starting to get a better handle on their AI strategy and starting to use it to understand what’s working and what’s not. AI will be used to help businesses make better decisions.
Third, there will be great consideration on how to keep the human element in the digital experience. It will be all about finding ways of humanizing interactions and ensuring that customers can connect in ways that might be digital from a scale perspective, but feel very human.
When it comes to customer experience, what are some common mistakes?
NM: In customer experience, there is a common mistake of falling into a trap of platitudes. Every company says that ‘customers are important, we care about them and we want to improve the experience’. A big thing for CX professionals is measurement, and not just focusing on NPS or CES. There’s a need to measure the entire process, to be able to demonstrate the impact and become an expert on the ROI of what you’re doing.
PM: People tend to get lost when it comes to CX. It’s important to find that one wedge of CX that will have that disproportionate impact on your customers. You don’t have to focus on a multi-year plan that will have a supposed 300% increase on the customer experience. Instead, start small, measure, and see if you can start to see an impact in under six months. Even if it is an initiative that improves KPIs 5% over 90 days.
Customer service leaders come in all shapes and sizes. In the age of the internet, it is difficult to keep tabs on which thought leaders and influencers are the real deal, and which ones are not. This is especially true in the customer service industry. Customer Experience (CX) has catapulted into one of the most important aspects of determining business success.
At Netomi, we deeply care about improving the customer experience. So much so, we built the best chatbot and AI tool to help automate the low touch, mundane tasks support teams are inundated with. We fully recognize and appreciate that there are multiple ways CX can and should be improved that don’t have anything to do with Artificial Intelligence. That’s why we feel compelled to introduce our readers to a larger scope of people who inspire a world of excellent customer experience and thought leadership.
Each of these thought leaders brings so much to the table, it was impossible to rank the list below in any other way besides in alphabetical order. We documented why we chose each of these customer service leaders in detail along with where to follow them on social media below.
Top 51 Customer Service Leaders and CX Influencers (Editor’s Choice):
Denise Lee Yohn
Adam Toporek is an internationally-recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and frontline trainer who helps organizations get results by thinking differently about customer service. He is a third-generation entrepreneur with extensive experience in retail, wholesale, franchising, and small business. Adam understands the impact that customer experience can have on the bottom line.
He’s the author of Be Your Customer’s Hero, the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog, and the co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast. Adam regularly shares his customer experience and customer service insights with a global audience. He has appeared in over 150 media and is regularly cited as a top customer experience thought leader. In addition to his customer experience work, Adam is an angel investor with an interest in entrepreneurs who disrupt the status quo.
Adrian helps organizations of all sizes deliver better customer service and customer experiences in two ways:
1) He acts as an advisor on specific service/experience/engagement issues on an ongoing basis or project-by-project basis. 2) Adrian helps clients build internal teams and leaders capabilities via mentoring, through whitepapers, keynotes, and masterclasses.
His clients range from large, publicly traded companies to leading professional service firms and fast-growth and established small businesses including Apple, Diesel, Freshworks, KFC, Pearson, Shell etc… plus lots of smaller brands and SMEs.
Adrian is also a best-selling author, Forbes contributor, blogger & podcaster, frequent conference speaker, panel participant, and Chari. His best-selling book in 2016 is called: How to Wow: 68 Effortless Ways to Make Every Customer Experience Amazing.
Aimee Lucas is an experience management researcher, advisor, trainer, and speaker. As part of Qualtrics’ XM Institute, she focuses her efforts on helping organizations optimize their experience management (XM) programs. She leads the XM Institute’s research into CX and EX best practices and the broader organizational capabilities required for building loyalty by improving customer and employee experiences. Aimee has over 20 years of experience in improving service delivery and transforming CX through people development and process improvement initiatives.
Her areas of expertise include market research, program management, marketing, instructional design, and training. Aimee joined Qualtrics when it acquired Temkin Group, a leading CX research and advisory firm. Prior to joining Temkin Group, she implemented the CX strategy and managed the Voice of the Customer program for Crowe Horwath LLP, one of the top 10 public accounting and consulting firms in the US. Aimee is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a degree in marketing management.
Annette Franz is the founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc. She’s got more than 25 years of experience (both client-side and vendor side). She helps companies understand their employees and customers and identify what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and overall experience.
She recently wrote the book on customer understanding. She’s the author of Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of the Business).
Annette was named one of “The 100 Most Influential Tech Women on Twitter” by Business Insider and is regularly recognized by companies around the world as a top influencer in Customer Experience.
Arie is a Customer Insight, Customer Strategy, Customer Lifecycle Management, and Innovation Independent Consultant. Arie’s Customer Lifecycle Management work is focused on developing Customer Strategy and Improving the performance of Customer Acquisition, Customer Onboarding, Customer Development, Customer Loyalty, and Customer Winback processes.
His Customer Insight work is focused on developing innovative segmentation, targeting, analysis, and measurement solutions.
Arie’s key consulting clients included: Prodigy, Safeway, FedEx, USAA, Capital One, BT Wireless (O2), Samsung Card, LG Capital, and many more. Arie’s industry specialties include: Financial Services, Credit Card, Consumer Lending, Retail, Internet, Telecommunications, and other services companies.
His diversified experience includes significant client-side, consulting-side, and agency-side tenures. Arie is also an effective leader of call center performance improvement projects, and is particularly adept at balancing the company, customer, and frontline perspectives.
Augie Ray is a Vice President Analyst covering customer experience (CX) for marketing and CX leaders. His coverage topics include the ROI of CX, CX strategy and governance, how CX leaders secure and retain sponsorship, the buy/own/advocate customer journey, voice of customer (VoC) and survey strategies, customer journey mapping, CX analytics and measurement, the role of social media and word of mouth (WOM) in CX, and persona development.
Mr. Ray helps CX and marketing leaders to launch and manage successful CX programs, gather and use voice of the customer (VoC) data more effectively, align CX metrics to the right leading indicators of success, and improve the use of customer journey maps and personas. He also offers guidance on the “customer experience pyramid,” which helps brands define the experiences that matter more and identify more powerful and innovative experiences.
Barry Dalton is a Customer Experience strategy and CX technology leader with accomplishments in designing and implementing strategy and technology architecture across Marketing, Sales & Service with a particular industry focus on Consumer Products, Pharmaceuticals, Retail, and Technology. After taking on various roles at Deloitte, Strategy, and GSK, he has been serving as the VP of Digital & Analytics Transformation at Genpact since May 2018.
He is currently focused on two areas:
The impact of the digital customer experience disruption, the next wave of emergent customer engagement channels, and the value of unstructured VOC data in understanding customer behavior and demand generation.
The upheaval that digital engagement and collaboration is having on business leadership and organizational communication.
Bill is an award-winning speaker, blogger, and writer in the areas of customer service for front-line associates and leadership for managers.
He has over thirty years of luxury resort/club management experience. Presently the general manager of Marriott Vacation Club Pulse San Diego, he was the general manager of The Inn at Bay Harbor‐A Renaissance Golf Resort, MI, recognized as one of the World’s Best Hotels by Travel+Leisure magazine.
Bill’s personal achievements include receiving the Renaissance Hotels General Manager of the Year, Marriott International Leadership Excellence and Sales Excellence Awards, Petoskey Chamber of Commerce Mission Award, and the American Hotel & Motel Association Pearson Award for Excellence in Lodging Journalism.
Bill has been recognized for his customer service and customer experience insight with the following accolades: Userlike 11 Gurus of Customer Service, Fonolo Top 10 Tweeters Talking About the Customer Experience, Future Care Today Top Ten Social Customer Service Influencers, and SAP Business Innovation Top 60 Customer Experience Influencers.
Bob Thompson is an international authority on customer-centric business management who has researched and shaped leading industry trends since 1998. He is founder and CEO of CustomerThink Corporation, an independent research and publishing firm, and founder and editor-in-chief of CustomerThink.com, the world’s largest online community dedicated to helping business leaders develop and implement customer-centric business strategies.
An author, keynote speaker and international authority on business management trends, he has been a thought leader in customer-centricity since 1998. His new book Hooked on Customers (April 2014) reveals the five habits of leading customer-centric firms. Thompson is also co-author of The Blueprint to CRM Success and author of the groundbreaking report “Customer Experience Management: A Winning Business Strategy for a Flat World.”
Before starting his firm, Thompson worked in the IT industry for fifteen years. He held sales and technical leadership positions at IBM, where he advised companies on the strategic use of information technology to solve business problems and gain a competitive advantage.
Bruce is widely viewed as a leading expert in how large organizations build differentiation with customer experience. During his 12 years with Forrester Research, Bruce led the company’s B2B, financial services, and customer experience practices. As a Vice President & Principal Analyst, he was the most-read analyst for 13 consecutive quarters and was one of the most highly demanded consultants and speakers in the industry. Bruce authored many of Forrester’s most popular research reports. He also led the creation and updating of many of Forrester’s customer experience evaluation methodologies and training workshops.
After leaving Forrester, Bruce founded the Temkin Group, a research and consulting firm. As the Managing Partner, he consulted for leading global companies, served as a keynote speaker at top industry events, researched customer experience trends, and authored Customer Experience Matters – one of the most popular blogs on customer experience. Temkin Group was acquired by Qualtrics in October 2018. The firm is a leading customer experience (CX) research, consulting, and training firm.
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Chip Bell is a highly sought-after keynote speaker and a prolific writer. His 23rd book, “Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles” was released in February 2017 and is an inspirational guide to providing remarkable service. It won a 2017 Best Book Award for business books after winning a silver medal from North American Book Awards. His newest book, Inside Your Customer’s Imagination, will be released in September 2020.
Chip Bell is a highly sought-after keynote speaker and a prolific writer. His 23rd book, “Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles” was released in February 2017 and is an inspirational guide to providing remarkable service. It won a 2017 Best Book Award for business books after winning a silver medal from North American Book Awards. His newest book, Inside Your Customer’s Imagination, will be released in September 2020.
He is Founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy LLC who helps organizations grow by identifying hidden, unmet needs. Colin’s company, Beyond Philosophy LLC, helps organizations unlock growth by discovering customers’ hidden, unmet needs that drive value ($).They capitalize on this by improving customer experience to meet these needs thereby retaining and acquiring new customers across the market. The Financial Times selected his company, Beyond Philosophy LLC, as one of the best management consultancies
Colin is recognized by Linkedin as one of the ‘World’s Top 150 Business Influencers’. Brand Quarterly readers also voted him one of the ‘top 50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50’ for two years in a row. A Global Guru poll established him as one of the top ‘Customer Service Gurus’ in the world.
Dan’s 20-year career has consistently focused on delighting customers. He has held leadership positions at three Fortune 300 companies – McDonald’s, Discover and Humana – in customer experience, marketing, social media and customer service.
He is an international keynote speaker who believes that a remarkable customer experience is your best marketing. Dan doesn’t just talk about customer experience; his fast-paced, energetic presentation style creates an experience for the audience that they’ll surely remember.
Dan is the author of the book, Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media, a host of the Experience This! Show podcast and a regular contributor to Forbes. He has been named one of the “Top 100 Digital Marketers of 2019” by both Brand24 and BuzzSumo and a “Top 50 Social Media Marketing Influencers to Follow” by TopRank.
As one of the most in-demandCustomer Experience Keynote Speakers and Consultants in the world today, David Avrin delivers profound wisdom to clients and audiences around the world. With a surprisingly relatable, conversational and very entertaining style, David delivers profoundly insightful and hard-hitting content to business audiences across a broad range of industries and categories.
His message and timely lessons on creating, delivering and promoting competitive advantages have been enthusiastically received by audiences across America and around the world.
A former CEO group leader, and executive coach with the world’s largest chief executive organization, David has worked with thousands of CEOs and business leaders on their business brand, customer experience, and competitive advantages.
David Avrin is the author of five books including the celebrated marketing books: It’s Not Who You Know It’s Who Knows You! andVisibility Marketing!, His latest Customer Experience book: Why Customers Leave (and How to Win Them Back) was singled out in Forbes as “One of the 7 Business Books Entrepreneurs Need to Read” and one of the “Top-Ten Business Books of 2019″
Through her expertise and personal approach, Denise has become an in-demand keynote speaker inspiring business leaders around the world to build great brands and exceptional organizations. Her keynote presentations have captivated international audiences at conferences including TEDx, the Consumer Electronics Show, The Art of Marketing, among others, and at corporate events for Facebook, Lexus, NFL, and more.
Denise has written several books including the bestseller What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest. She is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review and Forbes and has been a sought-after writer for publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Knowledge@Wharton, ChangeThis, Seeking Alpha, QSR Magazine, among others.
Denise served as lead strategist at advertising agencies for Burger King, Land Rover, and Unilever and as the marketing leader and analyst for Jack in the Box restaurants and Spiegel catalogs. Denise went on to head Sony Electronic Inc.’s first-ever brand office, where she garnered major corporate awards as the vice president/general manager of brand and strategy. She has served clients as an independent consulting partner since 2004.
Dennis is an innovative Customer Experience evangelist with a deep understanding of consumer engagement, digital media, and reporting analytics.
As a well-known CX subject matter expert, he teaches CX for safaribooksonline.com / Orielly Media as well as CX Marketing classes at SMU. He regularly contributes topical posts on digital media and consumer experience for sites like brandwatch. Most recently, he was named one of Campaign US’ Digital 40 over 40.
Today Dennis and his team at Integer Group deliver integrated engagement programs that improve brand reputation and drive strategic integrated success for clients like FedEx Office, Wells Fargo, Starbucks, and See’s Candies.
Evan is currently focused on Client Experience Strategy for BNY Mellon by removing unnecessary complexity and processes to become more nimble and able to rethink how they help clients deliver and maximize value.
Previously, he founded Ogilvy & Mather’s strategy practice (sales enablement, service design and employee experience) charged with “making brands more human”. Evan has completed assignments for marquee clients such as American Express, Southwest Airlines, FM Global, IBM, Dupont, BlackRock, E*Trade, etc. He is an expert in transforming how employees work with customers through multiple digital marketing strategies. He empowers employees with actionable data and user interfaces to help increase customer engagement.
Flavio is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise SSL Certificate Management and PKI technology for security in the Internet of Things. DigiCert is trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations.
Flavio has a B.S. in Information Technology from Utah Valley University and M.S. in Technology Management from Denver University. His focus is on helping teams leverage technology with the special human factor to create exceptional and memorable customer experiences.
Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage and win customer loyalty.
Frank Eliason is an American corporate executive and author. Referred to as “the most famous customer service manager in the US, possibly the world” by BusinessWeek,Eliason is best known for developing the use of social media in the practice of customer relations.
He joined Comcast as executive support manager in 2007 during a period of high-profile public relations issues. In 2008, Eliason, as part of the team selected to address the issues, created the Twitter account @ComcastCares and began directly responding to customer complaints. Eliason, who interacted with more than 10,000 Comcast customers via Twitter,was the subject of significant press attention; he was featured in The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, Wired, The Washington Post, BusinessWeek, Forbes, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, among other publications.
In July 2010, Eliason left Comcast to become the global director of social media at Citi. After receiving numerous recognitions in his role at Citi, Eliason was named Executive VP, US Digital, and Customer Experience for Zeno Group in October 2015. He serves on the BoD for the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals.
You won’t find Hilary on too many “Customer Service Thought Leaders” lists, but she has one of the most extensive articles on customer service you’ll find on the internet. Hilary is a New York City-based freelance journalist. She writes (mostly) about fashion, culture, retail, and technology for publications including Vox, Glamour, CNN, Racked, Refinery29, Fashionista, i-D, Vice News, Curbed, and TheAtlantic.com. She is also a regular contributor to Footwear News covering the retail industry. You can find those stories here.
Prior to going freelance, Hilary worked for Stylecaster, Lucky magazine (RIP), Styleite (ditto), and Harper’s Bazaar. She graduated from New York University and Columbia Journalism School, and she is originally from Toronto, Canada. If Hilary continues to write about customer service, we’ll continue to read.
A highly influential freelance Customer Experience consultant, Ian advises leading companies on Customer Experience strategy, measurement, improvement and employee advocacy techniques and solutions. Ian has worked across multiple industries and has deployed customer experience tools and methodologies all over the world. An internationally renowned speaker and blogger on the subject of customer experience (ijgolding.com/blog), Ian also served on the inaugural board of Directors of the CXPA (Customer Experience Professionals Association).
In 2014, Ian officially became a Certified Customer Experience Professional. CCXP designation is for practitioners who want to be recognized for their expertise and skills while defining standards and best practices for the industry. It is the first global professional qualification for Customer Experience.
Ian is also Chairman of the judging panel at the UK Customer Experience Awards and the Gulf Customer Experience Awards and is an Advisor and featured columnist for CustomerThink.
Ian’s first book, ‘Customer What, the honest and practical guide to customer experience’ was published in April 2018.
Jake Perez is a Peabody & Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist with more than two decades of TV writing and producing experience.
For the last two years, Jake has worked as an editor for LinkedIn News. His curations often include news related to customer experience across the business world. Before joining LinkedIn News, Jake spent 18 years as a writer and segment producer for CNN. We honor him in this list because of the growing influence he and LinkedIn have on the news we consume.
Jay Baer, CSP, CPAE has spent 25 years in digital marketing and customer experience, consulting for more than 700 companies during that period, including 34 of the FORTUNE 500. His current firm – Convince &Convert – provides word of mouth, digital marketing, and customer experience advice and counsel to some of the world’s most important brands.
His new book, Talk Triggers, is the complete guide to creating customers using strategic, operational differentiators that compel word of mouth. Talk Triggers is the instruction manual for making businesses grow with customer conversation.
Jay’s Convince & Convert blog was named the world’s #1 content marketing blog by the Content Marketing Institute and is visited by more than 250,000 marketers each month. Jay also hosts and produces the Social Pros podcast, which is downloaded 65,000 times monthly and was named 2015’s best marketing podcast by the Content Marketing Awards.
A fixture in social media, Jay has been named a top influencer of CMOs, B2B marketers, small business owners, and digital marketers. He’s also one of the world’s top Global Gurus in customer service and customer experience.
Jeanne Bliss guides the achievement of business growth through leadership bravery and elevated business practices. She is known globally for transforming businesses to earn customer-driven growth. A 5-time Chief Customer Officer and coach to over 20,000 leaders, her practices are field-tested and proven. Bliss’ 5-Competencies for customer-driven growth have been adopted around the world, and her 4 best selling books on customer experience and leadership are the guidebooks of the CX Profession. Jeanne Bliss has delivered over 1,500 transformative keynotes globally, has coached over 20,000 leaders on leading to elevate their company in the marketplace, with sustainable growth. Jeanne Bliss is the cofounder of the customer experience professionals association and is fondly known as the “godmother” of customer experience.
Jeff is a dynamic keynote speaker whose presentations are always highly interactive, practical, and engaging. Over 140,000 people have taken one of his video-based training courses on LinkedIn Learning, including Leading a Customer-Centric Culture, Customer Service Foundations, and Working with Upset Customers.
Jeremy has more than 19 years of experience as a customer service professional leading high performing teams in the contact center. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.
Jill Raff, founder and the driving force behind The Jill Raff Group, is a highly experienced CX Strategist (Customer Experience) and published author. For over 30 years, she has been delivering world-class customer service and experiences.
Jill developed her customer-first philosophy growing up in the “McDonald’s family.” In 1959, her family opened store #150 in Ocala, Florida. From age seven, while shadowing her father and working her way around every station in the restaurant, she experienced first-hand the results of founder Ray Kroc’s philosophy of QSC & V (Quality, Services, Cleanliness & Value). Jill was raised with a robust understanding of a strong work ethic and knowing what good customer service can ultimately do for a business.
Jill has made a name for herself by empowering businesses to create company cultures that deliver extraordinary customer experiences so that customers will become obsessed with doing business with them. This work has been led by the creation of her proprietary Inside-Out Framework™.
With a lifelong passion for customer experiences, Jim founded Heart of the Customer to help companies of all sizes increase customer engagement. Before launching the company, Jim led customer engagement initiatives at Best Buy, Gallup and UnitedHealth Group. In the process, he became an expert in using Voice of the Customer research to identify unmet needs, develop new products and improve customer service. His Heart of the Customer Customer Experience Model™ is a powerful tool designed with one simple goal: customer loyalty. Customers ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies use his maps to visualize their way to improved performance.
His fascination with customer experience led him to test himself by becoming a Certified Customer Experience Professional, only the second in the world to earn such a designation. Jim is a frequent keynote speaker, helping employees to engage customers through a personal connection. Jim teaches that true customer engagement only happens when you solve a problem and create a personal connection while doing so. He is a dynamic speaker, passionate about building a world-class customer experience that results in engaged customers who come back time and again.
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ and founder/president CAS, Inc. is a former techie turned people skills guru who turns interaction obstacles into business success.
For 30 years Fortune 500 leaders have tapped Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ to create dynamic inspirational leadership, high performance teamwork, and superior customer experiences. In all of her keynotes and workshops, Kate’s insights will teach you how to lead morale, engage employees like never before, and wow the customer with personal comfort.
Kate Nasser is also the founder/host of the long-running weekly Twitter Global People Skills Chat (hashtag #PeopleSkillsChat) every Sunday 10am Eastern Time. She is often quoted in industry journals on leading morale, employee engagement, customer experience, and teamwork. Kate was named to Huffington Posts’ Top 100 Customer Service Pros, to Simplr’s list of top customer experience superstars in 2018, and to ICMI’s Top 50 Customer Experience Thought Leaders of 2017.
Kate serves Application Development & Delivery Professionals. She is a leading expert on customer relationship management (CRM) and customer service strategies, maturity, benchmarking, governance, and ROI. She is an accomplished public speaker and frequently presents at industry events such as CRM Evolution. She has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine, and industry publications such as CRM Magazine, KM World, and Destination CRM.
Kate has extensive industry experience, with more than 10 years of leadership at CRM and customer service software companies, where she held senior product marketing and product management roles. She is also a published author on customer service trends and best practices.
Leslie has delivered writing courses for support center staff, customer service agents, and social media managers, helping thousands of professionals hone their customer-focused writing skills. She helps support organizations train agents to write well in all service channels, measure the quality of their writing, and revise and maintain their entire library of canned answers. Leslie is the co-author of Clear, Correct, Concise E-Mail: A Writing Workbook for Customer Service Agents.
Lincoln Murphy is a Growth Consultant focused on customer-centric growth. For over a decade, he has helped hundreds of companies accelerate growth by optimizing the Customer Lifecycle, from customer acquisition to retention to account expansion and advocacy.
He authored the Customer Success book for Wiley! He helps SaaS companies grow by taking full advantage of the SaaS business model and unique distribution methods this model allows.
He has spoken at events and conferences around the world, from Poland to Brazil, and Ireland to Canada, including SaaS University, Freemium Summit, SIIA On-Demand, HostingCon, Pulse, RD Summit, Revenue Summit, #FlipMyFunnel, and TSIA’s TSW World.
Lynn Hunsaker is Chief Customer Officer of ClearAction Continuum where she co-founded its flagship ClearAction Value Exchange as a 24×7 silo-bridging mentor for marketing, CS and CX roles. During 11 years at Applied Materials (semiconductor equipment manufacturer) and 3 years at Sonoco, Lynn’s roles included Director of Marketing & Business Development, Director of Marketing Communications, Head of Global Quality, Customer Satisfaction Improvement Manager, Strategic Information Manager and Voice of the Customer Manager.
Lynn has taught 20+ university courses at UC Berkeley Extension, San Jose State University, Mission College and UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Extension. As a CXPA Recognized Training Provider, her Customer Experience Excellence online course has benefited people in 50+ countries. For 5 years, Lynn led the world’s first global study of B2B CX practices. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Customer Experience Professionals Association and is past president of Silicon Valley American Marketing Association. Lynn is a top author on CustomerThink.com where she is one of five Hall of Fame award recipients. Lynn authored 3 handbooks available on Amazon Kindle, including Metrics You Can Manage for Success, Customer Experience Improvement Momentum, and Innovating Superior Customer Experience.
Marsha Collier is an author, radio personality, podcast host, and educator specializing in technology, Internet marketing, and E-commerce.
Before her online career began, Collier owned and operated her own marketing and advertising firm, The Collier Company, and won numerous awards including “Small Businessperson of the Year” accolades from several organizations.
In 2003, her book Starting an eBay Business For Dummies appeared on the BusinessWeek list of best-selling paperback business books.In December 2011, her book Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide: How to Connect with Your Customers to Sell More ranked #4 among “What Corporate America Is Reading.” By 2013, her book eBay For Dummies was one of the best sellers on the topic.As of 2016, with over 1 million copies of her books in print, she was the all-time best selling eBay author. She hosts the Computer and TechnologyRadio podcast with broadcaster Mark Cohen.
To apply a science-based approach to improving the customer experience, Martha Brooke founded Interaction Metrics in 2004. Martha is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) and holds a Blackbelt in Six Sigma.
Martha brings objectivity and a sense of curiosity to a variety of Customer Listening methods. Working with her team of Analysts, she measures customer experience successes, gaps and friction points—and pinpoints the details of how to improve.
To spur critical thinking about customer feedback and customer service, Martha leads nationally recognized conference sessions and workshops. She also shares analysis of customer experience and surveys through her blog which is syndicated by CustomerThink and other portals.
Prior to Interaction Metrics, Martha worked for two dotcoms, Lucy.com and Food.com, and consulted for Nike and Adidas.
Some of the organizations where Martha Brooke has spoken include Project Management Institute (PMI), American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), HDI, The Score Conference, Customer Solutions Expo, American Marketing Association (AMA), and NICSA at the Harvard Club.
Martin Hill-Wilson, an independent consultant with a long-standing track record in customer engagement strategy and implementation.
He was involved in the very first wave of contact centre implementation during the 1980’s with the Merchants Group, one of the first BPOs and transformation consultancies and ended up as CEO. Martin is a well known international keynote speaker, trainer, strategist and facilitator.
Martin runs masterclasses and redesigns customer engagement for organizations under his Brainfood brand. He is also a global authority on social customer service and co-author of ‘Delivering Effective Social Customer Service’.
Matt Dixon is the Chief Product & Research Officer of the Austin-based AI venture, Tethr. Prior to his role with Tethr, he was the Global Head of Sales Force Effectiveness Solutions at Korn Ferry Hay Group and, before that, held numerous global leadership roles in research, product development and management for CEB, now Gartner. An accomplished business researcher and writer, Matt is known for his frame-breaking and provocative work in the areas of sales, customer service and customer experience. He is the author of three Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestsellers—The Challenger Sale, The Effortless Experience and The Challenger Customer—and he is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review with more than 20 print and online articles to his credit. He is a sought-after speaker and advisor to management teams around world, having presented his findings and insights at a wide range of industry conferences as well as to hundreds of senior executive teams, including those of many Fortune 500 companies.
Micah Solomon is a customer service consultant, customer service speaker, keynote speaker, author, Senior Contributor to Forbes.com, customer experience consultant, and influencer on customer service, the customer experience, and corporate culture. He is the bestselling author of four books.
As a senior contributor to Forbes.com, Micah specializes in customer service, customer experience, company culture, and hospitality.
He is a best-selling author for three books: Exceptional Service: Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization, High-Tech, High Touch Customer Service, and Your Customer is the Star. His latest book is The Heart of Hospitality: Great Hotel and Restaurant Leaders Share Their Secrets.
Over three decades, Mike Wittenstein has successfully guided leaders and their teams through times of immense change. His robust story-driven process helps to bring clarity to ideas, commitment towards outcomes, and growth via strategic thinking. Mike has presented to countless audiences in 24 countries and 100+ cities around the world. Meeting planners, event organizers, and corporate trainers recognize him for his approachable, understandable, and positive presence in front of audiences, online, in videos, and with the press.
Mike’s results-driven approach has helped companies such as Chick-fil-A, Delta Airlines, Holiday Inn, IBM, the University of Phoenix, Piedmont Hospital, Transitions Optical, and hundreds of others. Together, Mike’s clients have created almost $2 billion in value by applying his ideas and proven process for the articulation, execution, and adoption of their strategies, and the design of stories and experiences.
Mike co-led Galileo, one of the world’s first digital agencies, then joined IBM Global Services in the role of eVisionary. Now the founder and managing partner at Storyminers, Mike shepherds mid-market companies to higher operating results and profitable exits using Storyminers’ unique combination of Story, Strategy, Experience Design, and Technology.
Myra Golden is the founder of Myra Golden Seminars, LLC. She is a long time speaker and training partner to many Fortune 500 companies across the nation. She creates fun and engaging classes to teach her clients to give their customers the best possible experience.
Myra’s engaging approach to customer service training is loved by her clients. Many of her clients rave about her workshops.
Her impressive resume includes many of the world’s biggest companies, like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, Walmart, Verizon Business, and many more…Before the start of Myra Golden Seminars—which came to be in 1999—Myra worked at Thrifty Car Rental as the Global Head of Consumer Affairs. Travel Agent Magazine hailed Myra a Top 100 Rising Star for leading her team to unprecedented customer recovery and customer loyalty in the hospitality industry.
Nate Brown is a perpetual student of the world’s greatest experiences and the people who create them. Having spent the first decade of this career managing a complex technical support environment for Occupational Health and eLearning software, Nate transitioned to Customer Experience 2015. After authoring The CX Primer, Brown was dubbed the “CX Influencer of the Year” by CloudCherry in 2019, and a top CX thought leader by TruRating, Qminder, ProcedureFlow, LifeHelpNow, ICMI, and Exceeders. As a passion project, Nate recently created CX Accelerator, a first-class virtual community for Customer Experience professionals. Nate currently serves as the Chief Experience Officer for Officium Labs and can be found at a variety of conferences speaking and training on the CX topics he loves.
As the CEO of Gainsight, Nick is working with 700 “Gainsters” to create the customer success category that’s currently taking over the SaaS business model worldwide. Gainsight’s industry-leading platform, the Customer Cloud, helps businesses including Adobe, GE, Workday, and ADP to improve customer retention, accelerate expansion revenue, and increase client advocacy.
Gainsight has been the main flag-bearer of the customer success movement, organizing a global network of events under the Pulse banner. In addition, Nick and his colleagues wrote two books on customer success; Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue, and The Customer Success Economy: Why Every Aspect of Your Business Model Needs A Paradigm Shift.
Under Nick’s leadership, Gainsight has built an award-winning company culture. In just this past year, Gainsight has been recognized with numerous best workplace awards, including “Best Company Culture in 2018,” and “Best Company Outlook in 2019” by Comparably, Inc.
Nick has been named one of the Top SaaS CEOs by the Software report three years in a row, one of the Top CEOs of 2018 by Comparably, was a finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year.
Puneet is CEO and Founder of Netomi, an artificial intelligence platform for conversational commerce. He spent much of his career as a tech executive on Wall Street, building predictive platforms to power large-scale trading systems. In 2010, he Co-Founded MyCityWay, an award-winning, context-aware urban mobility platform and in 2013 he Co-Founded MobileROI, a mobile marketing software.
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18 July 1950)is a British business magnate, investor, author and former philanthropist. He founded the Virgin Group in the 1970s, which controls more than 400 companies in various fields.
In March 2000, Branson was knighted at Buckingham Palace for “services to entrepreneurship”] For his work in retail, music and transport (with interests in land, air, sea and space travel), his taste for adventure, and for his humanitarian work, he has become a prominent global figure. In 2007, he was placed in the Time 100 Most Influential People in The World list.
In June 2020, Forbes listed Branson’s estimated net worth at US$4.1 billion.
Ron Shevlin is the Managing Director of Fintech Research at Cornerstone Advisors. Author of the Fintech Snark Tank on Forbes and the book Smarter Bank, Ron is ranked among the top fintech influencers globally and is a frequent keynote speaker at banking and fintech industry events (when there were still events).
Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession.
Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and he is the author of Moments of Magic®, The Loyal Customer, The Cult of the Customer, The Amazement Revolution, Amaze Every Customer Every Time, Be Amazing or Go Home and The Convenience Revolution. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus™, a customer service training program which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset. (Now available as an online/web-based training program!)
Stacy is a Customer Experience Leader, Strategist, Practitioner, and Digital Marketer, known for humanizing business and differentiating brands beyond price.
Currently, Stacy works at Schindler Elevator Corporation as Director of Customer Experience and Employee Engagement. She is building and leading a talented CX team, implementing profitable programs, and partnering with 60 sales offices to deliver customer excellence.
Stacy’s journey to CX began in 2013 due to a fortuitous reorganization at Verizon. Her role expanded to increase customer satisfaction and brand advocacy by infusing customer and employee feedback in new product development, website design, marketing, and pricing strategies. Prior to that, she worked for 12+ years in sales and marketing at diverse companies and advertising agencies. As she gained expertise in CX best practices and methodologies, Stacy dedicated herself to combine her business expertise with a passion to provide real authentic experiences for customers and employees.
Steve has 20 years of experience between hotel operations, sales and marketing, training and development, and customer service roles working for Marriott International, one of the premiere customer-focused companies in the world.
As the Area Director of Training for the New York City market, Steve organized the training efforts at more than a dozen area hotels to successfully coordinate corporate-wide training initiatives. While at the NY Marriott Marquis, Steve worked with a team of Marriott executives to implement training that resulted in dramatic increases in employee and customer satisfaction survey scores. One such initiative titled The Basics was adapted from the Ritz-Carlton Gold Standards in 1998 and branded by Marriott headquarters to become a company-wide initiative involving more than 3,000 hotels.
Since 1992, Steve has delivered interactive and engaging presentations on three continents, in six countries, and 26 states. Steve has delivered over 600 presentations to more than 20,000 people.
With 20+ years in the hospitality industry and a lifetime of customer service experience, Steve DiGioia uses storytelling to share real-world tips and tactics to improve your customer service, increase employee morale and provide the experience your customers desire.
As a certified trainer, author & speaker, Steve has been recognized as a three-time “World’s Top 30 Customer Service Professional” by Global Gurus.org and a “Top 50 Customer Thought Leader” by ICMI. He is also a featured contributor to the leading hospitality and customer service websites. With a tagline of “Finding Ways to WOW Your Customer”, Steve continues his pursuit of excellence on his award-winning blog sharing his best strategies on customer service, management, and leadership.
Teresa Allen, customer service speaker & customer service trainer, is owner of Common Sense Solutions, a national customer service training and consulting firm focused on bringing common sense customer service and customer experience solutions to business. Teresa has been presenting her highly acclaimed customer service keynote and customer service training programs across the US and abroad for over 25 years.