This past year has added emphasis and urgency to a question that we’ve all been asking for a very long time: What do my customers want? “Customers” are your clients, but they can also be your employees, users, patients, or anyone who’s experiencing some part of your business through your digital channels.

The worlds of “know your customer” or “know your employee” have moved beyond old-school focus groups and reliance on face-to-face and one-on-one interactions. Now we must rely more on strategies of customer segmentation and the wisdom of the crowd. But a strategy is one thing, and having a technology to execute that strategy is another.

Trying to understand people in a simple in-person social context (remember those?) is tough enough. Now, more and more moments of experience are digital and omnichannel. That means it’s more important than ever to connect with your customers and make every experience personal and memorable.

These are the reasons that at Lucidworks’ annual Activate conference, I introduced a new category: Connected Experience Cloud (aka CXC). CXC meets customers’ expectations for personal experiences. It helps them reach their goals. It makes them feel valued as individuals, even when a handshake or a friendly nod aren’t possible.

Connected Experience Cloud is a category of solutions purpose-built to ensure you’re providing the most relevant, delightful experience across every single channel. Simply put, CXC is our answer to the question of what our customers want.

So many organizations struggle to answer the question of intent because just knowing who someone is isn’t enough to tell us what they want; people show up differently in the moment, their needs are constantly transforming, and the words they use to describe their challenges change too. And nowadays you know even less about where your customers are. On your app? Your website? The phone? In a chatbot? In store?

Knowing your customer in each moment and being consistent across channels has been really hard and expensive to get right, even before a global pandemic. Given the unprecedented times we’re in right now, it’s more challenging than ever to anticipate customer needs and meet them where they are.

CXC does this by capturing insights anywhere and applying them everywhere.

Here are some specific ways that organizations can use CXC (and the suite of Lucidworks products that make it up) to turn insights into action:

1. Capture Signals: Capture all user actions including browsing behavior, search strings, complete purchase, downloads, and views. Any action a customer takes is an opportunity to understand their needs.

2. Extract Meaning & Predict Intent: Based on signals, merchandisers, CX, and EX experts, and other decision-makers can understand their customer’s intent and recommend their next best action.

3. Create Insight Anywhere & Apply it Everywhere: Break down insight silos that are trapped inside of teams, systems, and functions, and meet your customers wherever they are with the most relevant information and recommendations.

By creating your own Connected Experience Cloud, you can guide your users and give them a consistent personalized experience across all of your channels. For example, customer support agents can pick up right where the user left off, providing continuity as part of the overall connected experience.

The benefits of CXC have a ripple effect throughout the organization.

Customers finally feel heard and understood regardless of the channel they choose. They can use natural language to speak with you as if they were standing in front of you. Or they can use that same natural language to answer their own questions and solve their own problems.

At Activate 2020 Marc Desormeau, Lenovo’s Product Owner for Site Search and Product Data Optimization, shared that his customers are moving away from traditional two-word searches as they become more accustomed to the phrase-based searches they speak to virtual assistants. Don’t force syntax on your customers, let CXC understand the many ways they actually ask for help.

In that vein, Connected Experience Cloud enables support and service employees in the contact center to understand customers’ issues the same way the customer sees them. That type of continuity and context makes life easier for support teams and enriches the experience of the customer.

CXC also connects employees to their colleagues and to knowledge across the organization. CXC automatically turns user signals into personalized search results, navigation options or recommendations, helping teams make connections between subtle patterns in the data that they might otherwise have missed. This is how you can inform R&D teams to respond urgently to emerging data that will help them innovate more quickly. For example, Lucidworks customer Regeneron used Lucidworks to power an application that shares insights from ever-evolving COVID-19 data sets, putting timely information into the hands of scientists and research teams looking for a vaccine.

The benefits of the Connected Experience Cloud also extend to technical teams. Decision-makers can make big improvements with small investments so that they’re recognized for their innovation, not just for their bravery fighting IT fires. We want colleagues to come to the technical team with more compliments and less complaints.

CXC captures insight from every user action. It applies insights to the next action. It empowers everyone individually. And it breaks down insight silos everywhere. Lucidworks offers a growing suite of products that lets our customers design their own Connected Experience Cloud, according to their use cases.

That is the next frontier we’re pushing across, for our customers across retail, financial services, telco, healthcare, government, and all the other industries that Lucidworks serves.

If you’re interested in learning more about our vision and how we can support your Connected Experience Cloud please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The original version of this article can be found on LinkedIn. 

About Will Hayes

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