There's a growing gap between what brands promise and how they actually interact.
Every time someone interacts with your brand, it's an opportunity to build trust, deliver value, and, ultimately, drive growth. And just one bad experience can sink that relationship for life.
In a digital world, where more than 100 billion messages flow through WhatsApp alone every day and people expect their needs to be met with the click of a button, providing valuable interactions at scale has only become more expensive and complex.
But for the modern enterprise, delivering more valuable brand interactions can be a lifeboat.
Brands can't differentiate on product, pricing, or even customer experience anymore. In the era of same-day shipping and 24/7 virtual assistants, even fast and friendly service has become a commodity. As lines blur between work and home, personal and professional, B2B and B2C, people are bringing the same skyrocketing standards and expectations into all aspects of their lives.
Both as customers and employees, people want to do business with brands they care about. Brands that share their values.
Your brand is no longer just your logo or your reputation. It's the sum of every single interaction you have.
Buzzwords like AI, omnichannel, and personalization are meaningless if you're not acting — and interacting — with authenticity and consistency when people actually need you. All your investments, promises, and good intentions won't amount to much if you don't show up when it really matters, at the magical moment of interaction.
This report explores why closing the brand interaction gap is the key to providing a truly VIP experience to everyone your business cares about; no matter who they are, what channel they prefer, or what language they speak.
Based on our own exclusive data and insights from around the business and technology ecosystem, we look at 5 big ideas to help executives understand and prepare for a new reality at scale. One where automation needs to play a crucial role — without betraying the brand you promised to be.
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of consumers prefer buying from companies aligned with their values5W
percent of employees now demand purposeful workMcKinsey & Company
Unlock the 5 Big Ideas
We're going beyond buzzworthy trends to explore how culture shifts in business and tech affect your brand and the people who love you. This report, loaded with exclusive data and insights from industry experts like Forrester, Zendesk, Mailchimp, and more, is your guide to providing a truly VIP experience to your customers and employees.
Embrace your digital experience as your default brand experience
Digital transformation isn't a long-term strategy. It's happening all around us, right now. One might argue that the world has already digitally transformed, and that customers have adjusted. It's time for brands to catch up.
We see it in the data around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These used to be weekend-long, retail-specific events. Now pretty much every brand needs a BFCM campaign and they can last for weeks, even months.
For the first time ever, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales actually declined in 2021. Maybe it's just a pandemic slump. But, more likely, it means that consumers are spreading out their online spending throughout the year and that having a dedicated day for online shopping is getting as redundant as the term "ecommerce" itself — not to mention "online banking," "streaming television," or "digital customer service."
With the rise of cryptocurrency, NFTs and other so-called "web3" technologies, your digital experience (or, as we used to say, your "web presence") is now your de facto customer experience. Which is to say, your brand. But rather than Mark Zuckerberg's "metaverse" we envision a sort of "omni-verse" where the lines between online and offline are blurred and interactions happen across all channels seamlessly.
Witness the emergence of the digital experience leader — the CCO, CMO, or even COO-type who owns the entire customer journey, from acquisition to retention, automation to optimization. Now imagine a shopping experience that starts online in an augmented reality dressing room, progresses to an in-store fitting, and ends with a purchase within the same Facebook Messenger conversation the customer initially reached out on after clicking on an Instagram ad.
It's time for brands to think and operate across functions, beyond "touchpoints." Because, in a digitally-transformed world, every day is Cyber Monday.
of B2C marketing functions will be responsible for customer experience, with many more influencing itForrester
In 2022, traditional businesses will adopt an AI-first approach to platform and digital transformationForrester
Brand interaction volume growth
Across all industries, we’re seeing volumes of digital interactions increase year-over-year — Ada is automating over 1 billion interactions annually.
What are all these interactions about?
Customers are talking to brands at all stages of their journey, for various reasons, with "Where is my order?" and other frequently asked questions taking the cake. Here's a breakdown of interactions powered by Ada over the past year.
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With the rise of cryptocurrency, NFTs, and other so-called "web3" tech, the digital experience is now the de facto "brand." The lines between online and offline are blurred. It's time for brands to think and operate across functions, beyond "touchpoints." #BigIdeas2022 @Ada
Decisions rooted in real conversational data are your path to success
Modern brands have become adept at collecting data, but for most, that's where they stop. Not only does this stand in the way of growth, but collecting all that data costs money. And the reasons brands typically sit on this goldmine of value is:
- They don't know how to use it wisely.
- They do not have systems in place that make the data easy to read or act on.
People know you're collecting their data. In fact they expect it, and they are content to provide it as long as there's something in it for them.
We see this in the prevalence of interconnected "smart" devices: picture a Google Nest, window blinds, a thermostat, and a coffee machine that all connect to each other. All you have to do is say "good morning" and it'll set a whole series of actions in motion.
Everyone knows these devices collect data and feed it across the "smart" ecosystem, yet millions of people invite them into their homes because it's the sort of magical VIP experience that only automation can scale.
Chances are that customer data is already being used by your marketing department. But what about your other teams? How many of your brand's collective decisions are backed by real data — from customers, prospects, employees, and even candidates? When people tell you what they want, who's listening?
The goal of collecting data should be to learn more about the people interacting with your brand so that you can automate more valuable experiences down the road.
As the number of SaaS tools within the enterprise explodes, integrations across systems and teams become the only way to orchestrate valuable brand interactions at scale.
75% of Ada clients are using at least one integration
As brands grow, so too does their tech stack. The need for a brand interaction platform that integrates with all their software and centralizes data becomes mission-critical. Enterprise brands are automating 2x as many complex interactions via integrations with Ada's platform.
Customers are 170% more likely to engage with a business in a conversation when a proactive message was sentAda
85% of consumers are interested in receiving proactive notifications, and 90% are more likely to do business with a company that sends remindersNuance
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Hot take: People know that you're collecting their data. In fact they expect it, and they are content to provide it as long as there's something in it for them — interconnected, automated, VIP experiences. #BigIdeas2022 @Ada
Think global, act local
The world's most beloved brands are reliable. They offer customers a sense of continuity, a safety net you can fall back on when all else fails. It's the reason so many are drawn to the McDonald's golden arches when they're away from home. In an unpredictable world, a Big Mac tastes the same everywhere.
At the same time, not all McDonald's menus are created equal. In India, for instance, eaters can indulge in a Spicy Paneer Wrap, a vegetarian treat catered to local tastes and customs.
A digital world is global by definition. There's only one internet, and you need to assume your brand will transcend borders. To strike the delicate balance between universal brand values and the behaviors — nay, interactions — that back them up, brands need to be accountable to cultural differences in diverse markets.
The "digitally transformed" enterprise is projected to contribute to the majority of global GDP by 2023, according to IDC. And advances in Natural Language Understanding (NLU) are keeping pace — allowing brands to interact on both a global and local scale, with improved multilingual understanding, intent recognition, and right-to-left (RTL) language capability.
With language-agnostic NLU, brands can respect regional differences without having to build unique solutions for every market — because the way you interact with a customer or employee in the U.S. or U.K. wouldn't (and shouldn't) be the same way you interact with one from Egypt or Israel.
At the same time, people are people, as Yochai Konig, Ada's VP of Machine Learning and AI suggests.
"The set of issues or topics that customers of a global company face are mostly independent of the end customer language," says Konig, a computer scientist with 20 years experience developing AI solutions for the contact center.
"They're universal in nature, and so is the solution."
Ada's brand interaction platform is powering 50,000 language changes a month, with 44 non-English languages active and >100 languages supported.
Digitally transformed organizations are projected to contribute to more than half of the global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2023, accounting for $53.3 trillion
of the world's GDP is predicted to be digitized by 2022IMF, 2020
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In a digital world, you need to assume your brand will transcend borders. To keep delivering meaningfully on their promise, brands need to strike a delicate balance between universal brand values and local cultural differences in diverse markets. #BigIdeas2022 @Ada
Treat your employee experience as your customer experience
It wasn't long ago that the thought of employees working from home sent shivers up managers' spines. The general consensus being that working from home meant your employees weren't really working.
How things have changed. The "non-essentials" are now being encouraged to stay home, and experts predict that remote work will stay at 300% of pre-COVID levels, permanently changing how organizations operate and design their employee experiences.
Turns out embracing a remote workforce comes with measurable benefits: a surprising (and avenging) increase in employee productivity, for one, and the opportunity to recruit top-tier candidates from around the world.
But you can't simply send employees a laptop and expect undying loyalty. Your employees are the ambassadors for your brand, and in today's world, they require thoughtful, consumer-like experiences that enable them to do their best work at any time, from anywhere.
If you don't interact with them the same way you'd interact with external stakeholders, you're compromising your brand.
The employee experience is the new frontier of your brand experience. As Zoom's ill-fated acquisition of Five9 demonstrates, the walls between the customer contact center (see: CCaaS) and internal comms and engagement (i.e. UCaaS) are crumbling.
In a perfect, automated brand interaction world (ABIaaS? Bear with us…), the same platform powering a customer interaction would "talk" to the brand's internal workflow tools — Jira, Asana, Slack, you name it — and keep the customer updated as the brand's employees work through the issue.
These conversations between otherwise disconnected systems would happen automatically without the customer or employee ever having to think about it, saving time and sparking a better experience on both ends.
As brands extend their automation-first CX approach to EX, it's time to squash that stubborn AI myth once and for all: it doesn't steal human jobs, it makes them more creative, more sustainable, and more rewarding.
And if done right — think instant access to software on day 1 and bots that quickly resolve employees' most pressing questions and work-blockers — global brands can use automation to increase employee productivity, retention, and satisfaction.
The Great Resignation may be overblown but the labor shortage is real. And happy employees mean happier customers.
Only 67% of surveyed global information workers say that their company does a good job of providing an environment where they can be productiveForrester
8% of companies report they have usable People Analytics data
9% believe they have a good understanding of which talent dimensions drive performance in their organizationsDeloitte
Satisfaction with work devices and technical support drives employee engagement. Employees who scored in the top 20% of engagement are more likely to be satisfied with their technology environment, while those in the lowest 50% were most dissatisfied with their technology.Forrester
While 71% of companies see people analytics as a high priority in their organizations, they are moving slowly on correlating HR data to business outcomes, performing predictive analytics, and deploying enterprise scorecards.Deloitte
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The employee experience is the new frontier of your brand experience — and your employees are brand ambassadors. If your EX isn’t as thoughtful as your CX, you’re compromising your brand. #BigIdeas2022 @Ada
Brands find their voice (again)
Digital transformation has often meant forsaking traditional interaction channels like phone support in favor of fancy new ones like messaging. It's a running joke: Millennials won't put down their phones, but won't pick up the phone.
But voice-based interaction is actually on the rise. We see it with media like podcasts, social apps like Clubhouse, voice-first messaging apps like WeChat and Kakaotalk, and voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home.
Up to 60% of brands interactions take place on voice, but brands report containment as low as 5%
Voice is not dead, it's simply being reborn for the digital era.
People like to talk; up to 60% of brand interactions still take place on the phone. It's hard to replace the intimacy of voice-based interactions, nor should you try to. Each brand interaction channel has its strengths, and the idea is to employ them strategically — while maintaining consistency from one to the next.
The future of brand interactions are blended experiences. Switching between channels and mediums is second-nature to customers. So instead of favoring voice-first or messaging-first interactions, your brand should embrace a people-first mentality that crosses the channel divide.
In a digital world, moving people from voice to text, voice to video, text to voice, web to call, or any other combination that works best should require minimal effort or context-switching on the part of your customers and employees.
AI and NLU models are getting smarter everyday, and this future is closer than you think. Regardless of where people start conversations and where they end, automation enables brands to provide a consistent experience throughout the entire customer and employee journeys.
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Voice is not dead, it's simply being reborn for the digital era, and the future of brand interactions are blended experiences that switch seamlessly between channels and mediums. #BigIdeas2022 @Ada
It's time to close the brand interaction gap for good.
Ada is the brand interaction platform that bridges the divide between you and the people who are trying to talk to you. Every moment, everywhere.
See how you can bring the 5 big ideas to life, save costs, and grow revenue — without betraying the brand you promised to be.