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ITechnology Interview with Jonathan Brassington, EVP and Digital Customer Experience at Capgemini

ITechnology Interview with Jonathan Brassington, EVP and Digital Customer Experience Practice Lead at Capgemini North America

“The Increasing Demand for AI-Powered Customer Experience Solutions Is Driving Market Growth in Every CX Domain in Addition to Every Business Sector.”

Hi Jonathan, please tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at Capgemini.

I lead the Digital Customer Experience (DCX) practice for Capgemini North America. The practice includes a multidisciplinary team of customer experience (CX) designers and technologists that work with our clients to design, implement, and manage CX solutions across their marketing, sales, commerce, and customer service functions. We bring deep expertise across core CX platforms and technology.

What is the most exciting part about working in the Customer Experience Management (CX) industry? What do you like the most about the technologies used to create and deliver CX?

The most exciting part about working in the Customer Experience Management industry is the constant evolution of customer expectations and how technology is being leveraged to create experiences designed to meet these expectations. The global pandemic has not only accelerated but cemented the shift in consumers utilizing digital channels either solely or blended with physical across every touchpoint in the customer journey.

What I find most interesting in terms of what is happening with technology is the advancement of solutions through:

– The shift from point solutions in each of the CX domains, such as marketing or commerce, to a much more integrated or end-to-end approach across the customer lifecycle. This enables unified experiences that can be personalized according to each customer’s unique journey.

– The other advancement that is increasingly important is the use of immersive technologies. What was once a novelty is now becoming more common place in terms of the use of AR by consumers for situations like shopping for furniture and by business users for training and field service.

– Lastly, we are on the third generation of approaches to a 360-degree view of customers from an integrated data perspective. This enables organizations to utilize AI for things like real-time interaction management.

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What is the most contemporary definition of “CX management Stack” in 2021?

Contemporary CX stacks are generally a blend of varied solutions including SaaS platforms and bespoke custom components. A contemporary stack has several core elements including:

– A unified experience layer with enabling capabilities for immersive experiences;

– Integrated processes across marketing, sales, service, and commerce, and;

– A unified customer data hub.

From an architecture perspective, contemporary CX stacks include a customer process management engine (BPM) and an open API layer.

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How did the pandemic influence the businesses to focus more on customer experiences?

The pandemic had a tremendous impact in terms of businesses focusing more on customer experiences.  Everyone talked about need to pivot, and these pivots were to meet the needs of customers who now expected not only convenience, but contactless interactions.  In response, we worked with brands to optimize their tech stacks to enable curbside pickup or BOPIS. We also created industry-specific solutions to find ways to rapidly pivot with alternative ordering and delivery methods to address social distancing. We even created a solution to enable companies to rapidly launch a transactional website in as little as five weeks. Being truly end-to-end enabled us to help clients not only with the strategy and vision for what they are trying to achieve, but make it a reality in accelerated timeframes.

How is AI ML helping the growth and adoption of CX Management platforms? How do you use / planning to use AI ML in your company?

The increasing demand for AI-powered customer experience solutions is driving market growth in every CX domain in addition to every business sector. In marketing, AI ML is advancing the conversation on personalization from segmentation to true 1:1 real-time interaction management. AI is also changing most aspects of sales, including lead identification and scoring, price optimization, and upsell and cross-sell recommendations. Commerce leverages many of the same benefits of AI in terms of personalization. AI chatbots are now routinely being employed to improve CX for online commerce and customer service. In service, AI can be a real game-changer. Rather than just addressing problems after they happen, AI can be used to predict problems. For example, manufacturers can use predictive models and artificial intelligence (AI) to determine when service is required on equipment, before it breaks down.

Could you tell us how the pandemic crisis has provided you with the opportunity to drive better CX / Customer success initiatives?

The pandemic has provided multiple opportunities for Capgemini to help our clients deliver a better customer experience. In fact, many brands came to us looking to take more control over the experience they offer by going direct-to-consumer (D2C). This move enables them to diversify their revenue streams and take control of their brand, message, and customer relationships through a D2C model. The way we operate aligns with the cross-functional nature of D2C transformation, integrating marketing, sales, commerce, and service.

Other opportunities to drive better CX have emerged from the disruption in sales. With the lack of traditional face-to-face sales, many companies are scrambling for other ways to drive revenue. AI and ML come into play here with automating next best action to optimize marketing and sales initiatives to up-sell or cross-sell, so customers get the most relevant content.

In addition, more customers are looking for alternate self-service options. As a result, we are implementing more configure price quote (CPQ) solutions. When implemented well, a CPQ solution decreases the sales cycle, reduces errors, improves quoting productivity, boosts sales, increases efficiency and win rates – providing companies with an improved margin and revenue per transaction.

The pandemic also shone a light on the importance of service. At no time has there been a greater need for customer empathy. So service people need to be armed with the right data to personalize their interactions.

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Your prediction on the “future of Marketing and Sales platforms” – how are you planning for the future at Capgemini?

One way we are planning for the future is our commitment to immersive experiences. We have an immersive practice that focuses not only on best practices for UI/UX, but on incorporating newer modalities such as AR, VR, and voice. We have labs designed for experimentation and development so we can enable our clients to realize the benefits these technologies can offer, particularly in use cases like training, sales trials, and commerce. AR and VR are no longer novelty technologies for creating a buzz, but have proven to be tools for delivering real business impact and connecting with customers. Our clients will be able to craft and deliver multisensory and multidimensional experiences for their customers at scale.

An advice to every CEO / CMO looking to adopt / upgrade their CX ideas in 2021:

My main advice to CEOs and CMOs looking to upgrade their CX ideas is to consider the total experience. For us at Capgemini, this means a few things. It means looking at the customer journey as whole versus the individual touchpoints in silos. It also means considering the employee experience as an enabler and a key driver of a superior customer experience. And, last but not least: consider the various ways people can interact from the traditional, such as physical, desktop and mobile (since these are all expected) to how you can deepen engagement with voice, AR and VR.

Thank you, Jonathan! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

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Jonathan Brassington serves as the head of Capgemini’s Digital Customer Experience (DCX) practice in North America where he helps clients craft successful digital customer experience strategies, put them into practice, and continually optimize them for long-term success.

Prior to Capgemini, Jonathan was the CEO and Co-Founder of LiquidHub, a customer engagement transformation company that was acquired by Capgemini in March 2018. Jonathan is a Wharton Fellow, and a member of the Board of Overseers at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Capgemini is a global leader in partnering with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology. The Group is guided everyday by its purpose of unleashing human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future. It is a responsible and diverse organization of 270,000 team members in nearly 50 countries. With its strong 50 year heritage and deep industry expertise, Capgemini is trusted by its clients to address the entire breadth of their business needs, from strategy and design to operations, fueled by the fast evolving and innovative world of cloud, data, AI, connectivity, software, digital engineering and platforms.

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