March 30, 2017 | mike.mcelreath

Ahead of Summit: A chat with ForeSee VP of Engineering on the future of CX tech

Future CX technology

Ahead of the annual ForeSee Summit next week, I sat down with VP of Engineering and Operations Kaj van de Loo to chat about what’s to to expect at Summit, as well as the future of CX and VOC technology.

What emerging technology trends related to customer experience are you most excited about?

Hands down, Machine Learning (ML) and other forms of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Along with the rapid evolution of data ingestion, storage, and processing technologies, ML and AI will transform all aspects of enterprise software, especially data-rich software such as CX.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about chatbots — apps that operate within messaging services like Facebook Messenger or Snapchat — and how they have the potential to disrupt business and customer service. What’s your take on chatbots, and how might they impact ForeSee from a product standpoint?

Conversations come very natural to us humans. It’s how we normally interact with each other. Conversational user experiences, such as chat, therefore, have great potential to transform how we interact with software. We are working on chat and chatbots as new ways to collect data about customer experiences. For a consumer or citizen who spends a lot of time in a messaging app, it certainly is a natural way to share how they perceived an experience. Just like you and I are conducting this interview over (B2B messaging app) Slack: Perfect for me, because I spend a lot of time here and I can interact with you while doing other things in the same app. Or elsewhere.

What are some trending technologies being applied to CX measurement and VOC that are getting prematurely integrated or evangelized, but don’t provide much value?

Not sure that any particular technology stands out — it is, rather, unsubstantiated hype about the results you can achieve. And the application of technology that works for one use case that may not work for others at all. NLP and Text Analytics are a good examples: For certain use cases and with appropriate setup (such as we do to analyze open-ended questions in surveys or comments left in feedback) you can achieve amazing results. If you want to bring in an entirely different data source, like Twitter, the existing setup is unlikely to work well. You have to develop new taxonomies, train your algorithms, and so on. It can certainly be done, but it requires thoughtful preparation.

You introduced ForeSee CX Suite last year at Summit, and the product team has accomplished a lot since then. Can you share any insights about what you learned about building the future of CX technology during that time?

What I am perhaps most proud of in our development of CX Suite is that we have built it to extend our existing software as opposed to replace it. As architects and developers, we have come a long way in the past few years in thinking about extensions vs. replacements. I guess it is because we understand and live the values of service orientation, componentization, APIs, and so on. We now truly live in the age of “and” not “or”, where, building on ForeSee’s proven model, we can evolve the product and create a new suite at the same time.

What should customers expect in future releases of ForeSee CX Suite? And, what will people learn from the product sessions at Summit?

First and foremost is what we have delivered on since last year. We promised a lot back then, and we have delivered on those promises. In the product sessions we will show exactly what it all looks like. And then of course Lenny and I will make new promises…

Ha! Can’t wait to hear more about those new promises. So, what are you most looking forward to about Summit Kaj?

Meeting our customers. Learning about how they use ForeSee to improve CX today and discuss our strategy and roadmap to take CX to new levels.

Interested in attending? There’s still time! Visit the ForeSee Summit website for additional details about the event as well as information on ForeSee CX Suite training and a variety of product immersion sessions.