In a world where we can automate practically anything, the question is, “Should we?” Research shows that by 2025, AI will facilitate 95% of customer interactions, and it’s no surprise why—the convenience, time and cost savings, and accessibility is unmatched. But what happens when algorithms or AI-powered bots don’t help us find the answers we need? 

John Stone, Senior Director of Digital Experience & Analytics at Cisco, one of the world’s leading networking, cloud, and cybersecurity companies, knows the value of a seamless digital customer experience. In an effort to support their shift to a subscription model, John’s team operates a digital, self-service portal that supports customers throughout the lifecycle of their subscription to make renewals easy, instant, and timely. 

But a quality customer experience can’t be exclusively digital. Going above and beyond in service of your customers requires something technology alone can’t offer: empathy. “More often than not, the customer calling in for help is not going to be super happy. They’re experiencing some sort of pain or friction,” John said. “I want to connect with our customers on a human level and provide that empathy.”

Although the digital self-service experience aids the renewal process by providing valuable on-demand resources and guidance for Cisco subscribers, the bulk of Cisco’s recurring revenue can be attributed to the digital experience specialists—or, as John calls them, “digital concierges”—who provide an empathetic listening ear and help solve customer problems in real time. That human connection makes all the difference, and by tracking every specialist touch point in Ambition, the digital experience team is able to understand why. 

Having visibility into who’s at the top of the leaderboard allows John’s team to analyze the behaviors and activities that correlate with renewals, coach middle and bottom performers more prescriptively, and run more effective sales competitions. With a clear understanding of which activities have a proven business impact, reps are engaged, empowered, and excited about showing up to serve their customers. 

“We have seen a huge increase in the activities through Ambition. We’ve seen our lead volume go up, our calls go up by 305%. And we've seen a number of KPIs that are really contributing to the ultimate goal that we have, which is the increased renewal rate,” said John. 

In the same way his team focuses on human connection during customer interactions, John is committed to fostering the same values of empathy, humanity, and connection among his team members, who have never worked together in person. Leveraging gamification has created avenues for seamless team collaboration and real-time celebration, all fueling a culture of encouragement that drives high performance. 

In an increasingly digital sales environment, automating everything isn’t the answer. It’s all about what you choose to automate. World-class customer service requires more than just an easy-to-navigate digital experience—it requires quality, empathetic human interactions, and John’s team is balancing both like pros. That’s why we think they’re All-Stars. 

Watch the highlight reel from our conversation with John to hear more about:

  • The optimal response time that leads to increased renewal rates
  • Which KPIs John tracks to measure quality human interactions
  • How performance visibility influences more meaningful coaching
  • How gamification keeps John’s team connected in a work-from-anywhere world

Don’t miss this All-Star customer story! Watch the on-demand video above. 

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