Building Customer Loyalty with CX Cloud from Genesys and Salesforce

The need to continually evolve and optimize the customer experience (CX) has become the status quo. Organizations looking to harness solutions like artificial intelligence (AI) to support their CX transformations recognize that moving from on-premises technologies and legacy integrations to a cloud-based CX platform and ecosystem is a must. It’s a critical component in a customer experience strategy that enables them to exceed customer expectations and build customer loyalty.

Jack Nichols, VP of Product Management at Genesys; and Neil Armstrong, Senior Director of Product Architecture, Service Cloud, at Salesforce, recently sat down with two early adopter customers using CX Cloud from Genesys and Salesforce to discuss their transformation journeys. Those customers — Philip Hagenfeld, Commercial System Lead at Benify; and Kristie Mead, Director of Contact Center, at Valley Strong Credit Union — also shared their successes so far and advice for other business leaders looking to streamline and modernize their CX tech stack.

Here are highlights from their conversation.

“It gives us a lot of confidence.”

Jack Nichols: We’re all really excited about CX Cloud from Genesys and Salesforce. Tell us about the technology and business challenges that you’re looking to solve with this solution.

Kristie Mead: At the credit union, we’re looking to reduce the “swivel chair” in the contact center. We’ve been using about 27 programs for our agents, which is very time-consuming. Being able to reduce that swivel chair will increase our efficiencies. It’s also going to really increase morale.

Philip Hagenfeld: We also work with a lot of different tools at Benify. Our main reasoning behind moving to CX Cloud is to get that down to a unified 360-degree view of our customers and our end users.

Neil Armstrong: Benify was one of the first customers to go live on CX Cloud from Genesys and Salesforce. How did you launch so fast? What’s worked well? What value have you seen so far?

Philip Hagenfeld: We were implementing Salesforce Service Cloud for our customer service department and have been working with Genesys Cloud for a couple of years. When I heard about the integration between Genesys and Salesforce, I was very interested in having that instead of the old WebRTC.

We tend to be innovative. I want to take risks because risk means reward. And I was confident that it would work out. It’s about three months now since we went live, and we are seeing benefits.

We also did a huge switch from a different system to Salesforce in general, so we had some other adoption to do. We saw an increase of handling times in the first few days after we went live. And then we could see [average handle time] drop quite quickly, which is a testament that it will really work for us. It gives us a lot of confidence.

The Next Generation of CX Is Here

“I felt like a kid in a candy store.”

Jack Nichols: It’s good to hear that you’re seeing early success. Kristie, tell us more about your motivation and your evolution from on-premises to the cloud — and how the Genesys-Salesforce partnership played into that.

Kristie Mead: We’ve been on-premises since 2017. I started learning about the cloud over a year ago and was extremely excited. I felt like a kid in a candy store. There are so many things that Genesys Cloud is going to be able to do.

We started our kickoff a few months ago — and I learn more and more every day.

What does success look like for us? Increasing our efficiencies, of course, reducing our average handle time and allowing my agents to really focus on those more in-depth conversations with our members.

We have members that call every day for simple things like checking their account balance. Forty percent of our calls can be self-service. CX Cloud is going to help us be more efficient, reduce those simple interactions reaching our agents, and allow more time to focus on giving that white glove effect.

Neil Armstrong: This is interesting territory. We often think of metrics like reducing average handle time. But by deflecting the low handle time, easy interactions, you can have a slightly longer conversation that’s really valuable.

Kristie Mead: I call it a waterfall effect. If we can reduce the handle time or reduce the amount of calls that are coming in, it’s going to reduce wait time. Every little thing affects it.

And if we have the right scheduling, it’s going to create a better experience across the board for the member, the organization, the agent — everyone. So, I’m very much looking forward to workforce engagement, as well.

“I’m dreaming big.”

Neil Armstrong: What’s been your experience with how AI will impact your teams and what you’re planning to roll out? Are you using it at all?

Philip Hagenfeld: We’re using AI, but more of a bot today. It’s easy to jump on the AI train — or not easy, but you want to do it because everyone is doing it. It’s crucial for us to understand the value before we jump onto that train.

Looking at our customer service department specifically, they just adopted [Service Cloud], and they’re going to integrate that with Genesys Cloud. For us, getting the basics there will help us understand where AI can play a role in the future and show value assisting our 25 or so agents, as well as see what we can deflect.

If we can deflect some easy inquiries, that would give us more time for handling the complex questions, like compensation and benefits, how will this affect our pension, and so forth. That will be crucial in the future and AI is a huge part of that, of course, once we nail down the basics.

Kristie Mead: For us, I’ve been looking at bots and being able to simplify member service calls. If I can reduce 40% of those calls through self-service — or even 20 or 30% — it will allow the agents to spend more in-depth time with our members on the phone.

We’re also looking at using AI for customer sentiment grading. That’s a big one. I’ve heard about using AI to better enable empathy during calls and I’m very excited about that as well. Anything that can help with that call right now.

Right now, my quality analyst team is manually grading calls. They analyze eight calls a month per agent. It’s a very mundane task and we’re missing out on thousands of calls that would give us deeper insight into what we might be missing and how we can better serve our members. With AI, we’ll have that data; we’ll have a chatbot, and we’ll have the sentiment grading. We’ll also have better knowledge management, agent assist, the list goes on and on.

Our CEO said it perfectly, “If you can dream it, you can make it happen.” So, I’m dreaming big.

Focusing on Customer Relationships with CX Cloud from Genesys and Salesforce

Jack Nichols: It’s interesting to hear both of you talk about how you want to use AI to increase average handle time. We’ve spent so much time in the context of how to reduce it. But today, increasing handle time is about the value you deliver to the conversation.

Many CX leaders are looking at efficiency, efficiency, efficiency versus relationships. Relationships is what I’m hearing from both of you, and how AI can support that.

It’s such an interesting concept and is refreshing to hear — a focus on reducing handle time feels, to customers, like you’re trying to rush them off so agents can hit their SLAs.

Kristie Mead: And rushing customers is something we want to avoid — especially if they’ve been waiting on hold.

If we spend a little bit more on handle time, but we’re giving members value and building that relationship, they’re going to come back and stay with us. And that’s what we want.

Jack Nichols: Love that!

“Everything comes down to user adoption.”

Jack Nichols: Turning back to integration, what advice or guidance would you give folks that are looking at this and either kicking the tires, just starting their journey, or thinking about it for the next year?

Philip Hagenfeld: Everything comes down to user adoption. Let’s say that you’re currently using a WebRTC integration, you need to think about getting the people into this new tool as a transformation.

Also, make sure you have your agents on board because that will make or break the project.

Kristie Mead: I agree. We’re very fortunate that we have really been pumping up CX Cloud to our agents — showing them demos and they’re excited. I’m very transparent with my team. I want them to know where we’re at, what we’re doing.

Also, ask about the details. Whenever we’re doing integrations, we’re thinking big picture. We’re thinking efficiencies in the result. We have to make sure we don’t let those details go. And we have to make sure we have a smooth transition for the agent and consider how a change like moving from on-premises to the cloud will affect the agent on a day-to-day basis.

Unify CCaaS and CRM Like Never Before

Customers desire consistency and personalization across the interaction channels. And your agents need a single view of the customer to provide efficient service. To deliver in today’s experience economy, you need to unify critical systems of engagement, including Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) and CRM systems.

Learn how CX Cloud from Genesys and Salesforce can help you boost customer loyalty, improve employee efficiency while lowering your total cost of ownership. And watch this Xperience 2024 session on-demand to hear firsthand how these early adopters are leveraging CX Cloud from Genesys and Salesforce.

*Some quotes in this article were adjusted slightly for clarity.