#5 | DCX - Perspectives and insights on digital customer experience
No One Ever Accidentally Scanned a QR Code; 7 Things I've Learned Along the Way About Digital Experience Teams; 5 Options for Enterprise Conversational AI Platforms
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‘No One Ever Accidentally Scanned a QR Code’
QR codes have been around since 1994, created by a subsidiary of Toyota to track automobile parts during the assembly process. They have come a long way since then to enable a lot of applications - from mobile couponing, to providing links to websites on consumer goods - and used in marketing campaigns, social media, and packaging.
According to the latest QR Code Trend report from Scanbuy, a leading QR code and consumer engagement services agency, QR Code usage remains a global phenomenon, with a 64% growth rate in scanning usage from Q1 2021 to Q2 2022 and a 53% growth rate in unique consumers engaging with QR Codes over the same period. United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Spain recorded the strongest activity last quarter. Within the United States, Ashburn, Virginia was the number one scanning city and zip code this quarter.
Today, I am excited to be talking with Maryann Moschides, CMO and GM for Scanbuy about the evolution of QR codes in the digital customer journey.
You have been in the QR space for over
Originally the QR code was used by companies to connect consumers to non-mobile-friendly websites. And it was mostly placed on materials without a call to action and hidden because marketers thought it was sort of ugly. If someone scanned the code, the experience didn’t inspire another scan. The QR didn't have the best reputation at the beginning.
It took much heavy lifting and education to get marketers over that hurdle and to implement QR Codes using best practices. Brands like Starbucks, The Home Depot and HP quickly picked up on the value of code usage - they understood the value of communicating with the customer in new and unique ways.
QR Code usage has fundamentally shifted over the years because of consumer shopping behavior changes and advances in mobile technologies. In 2017 when Android and iOS turned the camera into a QR code scanner. As you know a strong digital strategy gets brands in front of consumers where they spend most of their time. Which is that mobile phone! And the QR code today is an important trigger to a great mobile experience for consumers.
The perception of the QR code is very positive when compared back to 10 years ago. Today code usage can be found across product and service portfolios of some of the largest global brands. Codes are being integrated into digital strategies in innovative ways, such as delivering augmented reality experiences to children eating their favorite cereals, delivering coupons, scheduling appointments, buying more products, collecting donations, in commercials, sharing regulatory information, and engaging in contests. Entertaining experiences win when it comes to scanning engagements – scan to win, scan to play, scan for rewards, scan for fun - all enticing calls to action to the consumer. REESE’S, Tostitos, Pringles, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, and Gatorade are examples of a few brands that deliver fun QR engagements.
How did the pandemic impact the usage of codes?
The pandemic shifted our need for contactless engagement, which further solidified the power of the QR Code. Suddenly, restaurants, pharmacies, airlines, and healthcare industry workers across the world were using and teaching people of all ages how to scan a QR code. Marketers no longer need to wonder if a consumer understands how to scan a QR code!
In terms of the digital customer journey - what opportunities now exist for QR codes?
It’s no secret, that consumers are on their mobile phones more than ever before – and I do not see that trend changing anytime in the near future. Every day, consumers around the world turn to their smartphones when it comes to exploring, researching, and shopping - they are looking for the quickest route to get more information about their favorite companies, products, and services. And the QR Code is one of the easiest and most efficient tools to connect a consumer from the offline or physical world to the digital.
Today, through a code scan, we can make content decisions based on the scanner’s location, time of day, traffic sources, number of times a device has scanned the code, the weather, language preferences, etc. This code data allows marketers to offer meaningful experiences based on the information being passed from the code. For example, if I scan a code in the morning I could enjoy one experience, and possibly a different one when scanning the same code in the evening.
Serialization is another advancement of the QR code. Marry a specific code to a person’s address, say in the case of direct marketing. Using that code creates a profile and pre-populates certain information to make the digital consumer journey a smoother one.
We believe Smarter codes give brands, retailers, and marketers more opportunities to better connect with consumers.
Shoppable TV has been in the works for many years - is now the time for it to explode and is the QR code the mechanism to ignite that?
Yes. QR codes are being embedded into TV commercials and programming today more than ever. NBCUniversal has been an innovator in this space - starting with Steals and Deals in 2019, they offered true shoppable TV with scan to buy. They are still using it today.
One of my favorite examples is the Jimmy Fallon/Target Christmas book promotion - he showed a code during the show and when scanned, his new children’s book went directly into the Target shopping cart. Burger King was the first to include a bouncing QR Code in a commercial, it was for a Whopper giveaway. We also have worked with an auto dealership that included a QR code on their commercial to schedule a test drive. The QR Code determined the DMA location of the scanner and then we redirected to the local dealership.
Shoppable TV is all about driving frictionless shopping. Most people keep their phones with them while watching TV, so it is a great match for engagement. No one ever accidentally scanned a QR code!
Where do you see QR codes in the next 5 years?
I am excited about the future of the QR Code. Over the coming years, the market will see QR code technology becoming smarter and even more innovative. The market will continue to use codes to trigger more creative and personalized consumer experiences, regulatory mandates will expand the use and approval of codes for digital disclosures and product traceability, and point-of-sale systems allow for the scanning of a QR Code instead of the UPC barcode to purchase items. And that’s a short list.
With more education, the sky’s the limit.
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7 Things I've Learned Along the Way About Digital Experience Teams
If you're new to the digital experience team or even if you're a seasoned veteran
Customer expectations, technologies, tools, and platforms are changing so quickly that anyone can feel overwhelmed.
Here are 7 things I've learned along the way that I hope will help in these exciting times
Experience management is a team sport
✅ You can't do this work alone. You'll have to partner with and influence others across the org to deliver on the vision
Be still in the eye of the storm
✅ Digital Experience development is not easy. It is going to get bumpy along the way. There will be many voices at the table. Stay calm. You will get through it.
Breathe into overwhelm or confusion before responding
✅ It's going to happen. Count to 10. Then, speak your truth, with respect and compassion. Everyone is in this together.
It's OK to think there's too much to do and it’s too hard to do it
✅ There is always going to be too much to do and it is hard. Refer to the previous entry, get everyone together, and prioritize
No problem is too large to solve, together you will find a way
✅ Teamwork, makes the dream work. Get together, often. Map it all out. Break it apart and then put it back together again.
Leadership doesn't have all the answers
✅ Your job is to deliver on the vision. The details are in your hands. Ask questions. collaborate and share your thoughts with leadership, often.
Teams can make miracles happen
✅ Remember that you are working for your customers and your customers make your business and with that mission in mind, anything is possible.
5 Options for Enterprise Conversational AI Platforms
Conversational AI Platforms are used to develop and implement solutions for automating customer service, customer engagement, and human-computer interactions.
While some companies have elected to build their own conversational AI platforms, (and I don’t recommend that option due to the complexity and dedicated volume of R&D investment going into the market) there are literally hundreds of options available to enable conversational AI for companies large, medium and small.
Here are five to consider for the Enterprise (Courtesy: Gartner Magic Quadrant for Conversational AI Platforms - Jan 2022):
Kore.ai Experience Optimization Platform is a no-code platform for conversational AI in a broad sense, crossing over into adjacent product categories with interface and process building capabilities. The platform supports all major channels and use cases. Kore.ai offers a large portfolio of add-on and complementary products that round off a portfolio suitable for a broad set of conversational AI use cases.
Communication Studio G2 is a microservices-based voice-first conversational AI platform targeted at enterprise implementations, with a focus on voice-based telephony customer service implementations. It’s made to be highly modular and utilize best-of-breed third-party components. OneReach.ai has a large partner network to implement the platform for end-users and is also used in a white-labeled fashion.
Cognigy.AI can be extended with Cognigy Voice Gateway to provide voice capabilities and Cognigy Insights to get a stand-alone analytics tool. Cognigy is a software vendor that relies on partners to provide professional services like implementation, although it does have some service capabilities that are primarily used to help its partners.
Amelia is an enterprisewide conversational AI platform that integrates and automates chat, messaging and voice channels with virtual and live agents — all underpinned with evolved process automation. In addition, the portfolio offers complementary components to assist with IT management such as AIOps. Third parties are used to support voice and translation services.
Some of the distinguishing functionality are Omilia Cloud Platform (OCP) miniApps, experienced telephony integrations, the integrated passive voice biometrics, its extensive set of out-of-the-box prebuilt tasks, and that a solution can be deployed in the cloud or prebuilt.
Key considerations for selecting a vendor:
Channel integration: This functionality allows the platform to engage with voice, text and multimodal channels, like phones, browsers, email or messaging applications. Integrating with live-agent chat services is also a capability to consider.
Application building and testing: This includes the design, build and test functionality needed to deliver tools to build chatbot applications and the supporting conversation and workflows. Leading platforms support no-code, graphical design tools, and APIs; intent and entity definition identifying and maintenance tools; and version management, test tools and testing metrics.
Prebuilt chatbot component: Prebuilt capabilities are vendor-provided accelerators or assets to improve the time to develop as well as the quality of chatbots being built. These can span a broad range of functionality, including reusable content, common or domain-specific dialogue flows, and language models.
Application integration: Most chatbots require some form of integration. For instance, with CRM systems and databases, as well as other knowledge sources and business applications, integrating with live-chat applications or routing applications is necessary.
Data integration: Solutions must support a wide range of options for ingesting and exporting data from the platform, with API calls being the most common. At a minimum, they must have the ability to import or export entities, intents and conversational flow, as well as integrate with data and web sources.
Natural language understanding: This function parses incoming information and extracts elements like intents and entities, and analyzes associated sentiment.
Response generation: This function creates the output message and/or action, and transmits it to the appropriate channel. In most cases, the response is predefined sentences based on slots in a template. Advanced capabilities are nascent.
Management: This function provides tools and services to manage content and workflows of chatbots. This includes managing conversations and interactions and their history and logs; publishing releases; and managing, correcting and updating the utterances, and mapping missed utterances to existing intents.
Reporting and analytics: Solutions must provide managers with visualization of users, flow and interaction metrics for the chatbots. The function can include GUI-type dashboards and programmatic capabilities, and requires integrations with data and visualization tools. Solutions must offer a strong set of predefined functionality.
Platform administration and security: These functions offer the ability to manage platform access, user accounts and security. This is often done via an administration console.
Links to Industry news, thought leaders, and ideas of interest
Found this site recently that focuses on the digital opportunities in the fintech and insurance industries. Subscriber-only content.
“Technology is an opportunity for the customer to take control over their travel experience.” The modern customer is increasingly enjoying a digital, self-service experience. However, if there is a problem at any point in their journey (no pun intended), the customer must have easy access to someone who can help, be it an agent on the phone or an employee at the front desk.
What is artificial intelligence? Why will it affect you? How do you and your business survive and thrive through the AI revolution? If you’ve been looking for a readable, useful book that addresses these questions in your language, here it is. (Currently free if you have Kindle Unlimited)
The athletic clothier Nike is experimenting with new in-store models that include immersive XR experiences. Last week, the company opened a proof-of-concept store in Seoul, Korea. The store has a Mixed-Reality content studio and QR codes that unlock bespoke AR experiences.
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