27: Syncing with ServiceNow: 9 customer experience predictions for 2024

Dec 21, 2023

ServiceNow is excited to peer into the future of customer experience (CX) to see what’s in store. Customer operations and service delivery have undergone significant disruptions in recent years. The year ahead promises to be no different.

The continuing need to deliver a frictionless customer journey, a renewed focus on improving the agent experience, and the meteoric rise of generative AI (GenAI) are some of the many reasons why CX is poised for transformation.

Join us in counting down our top CX predictions for 2024:

Host: Andy Whiteside
Co-host: Fred Reynolds
Co-host: Becky Whiten
Co-host: John Dahl

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Andy Whiteside: Everyone welcome to Episode 27 of syncing with service. Now, I’m your host, Andy Whiteside today is December eighteenth, twenty-twenty-three. Excited to be with my group of folks here today. John Dahl, Fred Reynolds, Becky Whiten. John, how’s it going? You got enough projects going on keeping you busy

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John Dahl: it comes and goes. You know how it goes at the end of the year you always want more. That’s the sound of a good consultant.

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Fred Reynolds: Fred, how’s it going for you? Good! You can see I’m getting ready for Christmas, growing up the whole great beards like Santa Claus. So it’s going very well, are you playing Santa Claus at the Mall? Is that what you’re doing? I should be. I gotta gain another 100 panels, and I’ll be right in there. So

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Andy Whiteside: you’re good with that one.

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Fred Reynolds: They put padding on. Use what I’m trying to say. Oh, that’s what you’re saying.

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Andy Whiteside: Alright, Becky. Big holiday plans coming up

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Becky Whiten: lots of food, lots of lots of

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Becky Whiten: family and entertaining. So yay put on the extra 10 extra pounds for the camera. Give me one example. So so Becky’s in Texas, Becky. One example of something at Christmas that you guys do different than everywhere else in the country.

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Andy Whiteside: And it’s Texas. So I know there’s something.

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Becky Whiten: Oh, gosh! We do a lot of things.

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Andy Whiteside: so anything special, though.

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Becky Whiten: Oh, trying to think you caught me off guard.

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Fred Reynolds: Just also it’d be bigger and better in Texas. Right? Everything is bigger and better food. We lay out

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Becky Whiten: the spread, let me tell you, and then we have the best ice cream, hot bluebell.

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Andy Whiteside: what we have that in our store. But it’s not because it’s here is we just get it from you guys not very far from where I live.

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Andy Whiteside: John. I’m sorry I don’t remember where you’re located. I’m in Houston. I’m in Texas, too. So one of the things that we do is we get to have the windows open when we go around and look at the get hammered down there with some cold. But I guess Texas houston doesn’t get that cold, typically, does it?

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John Dahl: You know. Occasionally we get a little bit of ice here and there and a little chill. But it’s not too bad. Yeah, let’s 62 here today. So it’s absolutely beautiful.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah. And, Fred, you’re in Raleigh, North Carolina. Anything special happening in your household that would be unique.

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Fred Reynolds: I would say, unique. We do do odd things sometimes we one time we had a Fondue Christmas, where we did Fondue for Christmas day or pizza for Christmas Day. You know you get tired of same old traditional stuff. So we do so many different. What’s Christmas Eve? Christmas Day parties before it. So definitely, we eat a lot, have a lot of parties leading up to it. So

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Andy Whiteside: well, this is my my kids are 21, almost 22 years old. This will be my first Christmas before we go. We go somewhere like we just beach. cause you know Santa Santa can find us there if he’s gonna come and so we’re going to the beach for the first time, and we’ll see how that goes. There.

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Andy Whiteside: The the beach we’re going to had a hurricane more or less over the weekend very unexpected, you know, big nor’easter. I guess you’d call out of some type, or, if you can call Southern storm or Easter. But big, almost hurricane, like type thing. So it’s gonna be a lot of be interesting down there.

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Fred Reynolds: I’m glad you told me that cause I want to get with you after the podcast I’ll come back to Charlotte. Go some whites thing that came wanted to this week. See if you and Regina and kids will be around. But we’ll handle that after the podcast

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Andy Whiteside: alright. Well, the the blog that you guys brought forward today, and I think it was John’s pick on this one 9 customer experience predictions for 2024. John. What particularly caught your interest at this blog.

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John Dahl: Well, you know, there’s there’s just a great thing about appreciating and understanding what we’ve comp accom accomplished for the year, but also looking to ahead to see what kind of exciting things are coming. So I wanted to be able to talk about what we’re going to be able to see

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John Dahl: if these predictions come true.

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Andy Whiteside: you know, I think with a platform like service now, it’s probably easy to say that we’ve got years and years and years of what’s next ahead of us when you agree?

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John Dahl: Absolutely.

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Fred Reynolds: Yeah, that’s that’s what’s so exciting about it. Fred, anything specific that you wanna make sure that got you excited about doing this particular blog. I’m glad John brought it, for, because, honestly, I feel like most conversations I’m starting to have with customers, it’s starting to become a big part of what they’re talking about. Even if we’re just talking about itscm, or just our ticketing systems talking about their customers, internal customers, external customers, and the challenges around that. So I think this is good great blog for lean to next year as to a lot of things and challenges. I think we’ll be trying to solve and help customers with next year.

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Andy Whiteside: you know, to some service now up, it’s taking all those internal and external processes and making them better and more efficient. You know what applications we’re meant to do. And you go back to my statement to John a minute ago. I just it’s limitless, like we’re there’s there’s no end to the amount of challenges still ahead of us and service now, as a platform gives us a a fighting chance to address all of them over time.

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Fred Reynolds: Becky, anything about this particular blog that? You know, you found in exciting and reason why you would want to cover it

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Becky Whiten: several different things on here. Actually peak my my interest as well as I think they will. Our customers. Looking forward to some of these changes, some of these upcoming

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Becky Whiten: items that service now will be working on, and or has already worked on to improve, and will continue to improve on so exciting, exciting new times, coming and continuous change. So which is a great thing.

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Andy Whiteside: so that will help all of our customers, I do believe. Yeah, just looking at the intro paragraph, they underline the words, Customer experience Cx underline the words Customer journey. And then there’s this thing called generative AI, which I’m sure we’re going to talk about all 3 of those things in this conversation. But you know those are things that kind of set the table for 2024, and beyond which give us just a ton of ton of future roadmap that the service now platform allows us to address

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Andy Whiteside: first one on the list. Right? I’ll come to you first 9, number 9 point solutions give way to platforms. I think we’ve kind of been talking to that a little bit. Now help people understand what platform really means here and what how it impacts the point solution, madness that we’ve had. I wanna give a little twist to it, too, because I feel like for a lot of my career. We were always looking at point solutions when it came to monitoring and certain niches that you needed to do for organization.

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Fred Reynolds: I think it’s interesting here to say point solutions when it comes to customer experience customer journeys. We see that, too. We see that a lot of people haven’t given to a different Ui to do certain functions. And it’s getting clunky people are bouncing around different authentication methods to get to some of those as well. So I think when it says point solution give way to platforms. I think we’ll have a lot more companies, especially those that already have service. Now those that are moving to service. Now we use the platform for what I think it was intended to do.

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Fred Reynolds: to break down those silos, to make a unified platform, to make it very easy to move through the journey, and on the customer experience side. It can do that as well, especially with some of the things that service now is introduced with. Consolidate a lot of their

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Fred Reynolds: their their their dashboards, their their website into one like Ec. Portal, Ec. Pro. For internal employees, and we just consolidate it all, making one streamline solution. So again, removing a lot of the point solutions, individual things that would solve a one use case is moving to something, can solve them all and have a one place to go to for your request and services, and the like. Yeah, the idea that you log into this log into that 3 times a day to do things is is is just crazy. And that’s where platforms start to take.

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Andy Whiteside: Take precedence.

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Andy Whiteside: John, the next one here is

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Andy Whiteside: AI. Let’s see, what does AI stand for now? I’m just kidding number 8, AI and automation mitigate process bottlenecks. We didn’t get very far before we started talking about AI, John. What’s this one mean?

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John Dahl: Well, you know, from from the early days of it the idea of automation has been to try to streamline processes and and remove bottlenecks. But we continue to have this idea of

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John Dahl: a person has to be involved in a do approvals, and

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John Dahl: we kind of mix up the idea of awareness versus interaction, and some of the biggest bottlenecks I’ve seen is a request sitting in somebody’s mailbox, or

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John Dahl: whatever it is. Something is sitting in somebody’s email box. And they’re not getting around to responding. So that process is delayed by that.

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John Dahl: But if you can start to articulate certain conditions and thresholds. You can automate a lot of those decisions that a person really doesn’t have to spend the time to do.

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John Dahl: And so this will really help to streamline those processes a lot and to really get your product and your service to the customer a lot faster. Yep.

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Andy Whiteside: okay, Becky, number 7, workforce optimization becomes imperative. Well. that is about time, I guess I would say, what is this one trying to call out.

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Becky Whiten: so several different things here. So I believe that there is going to be better.

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Becky Whiten: assigning of different things based upon skill levels, also the ability on to the workforce. If we’re talking about workforce.

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Becky Whiten:  also there is a

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Becky Whiten: an application for workforce which allows a lot of different things scheduling and appointments and things along those lines that a lot of people don’t know about, that came about after Covid, and also helps.

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Becky Whiten: You know, more people are remote now. And so there’s ways for managers to check in on some of their employees as well to see. Are you okay? Being able to check in and so forth. Maybe allowing some of those tickets to not run stagnant if something happens in somebody’s area. So if a hurricane happens and

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Becky Whiten: Louisiana or Texas and people are out. For certain reasons. There’s gonna be better ways to be able to optimize and

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Becky Whiten: be able to look at who could work those tickets a little bit more and help us out with moving those around.

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Andy Whiteside: Oh, I probably should have been doing this the whole way. But so there’s workforce optimization becomes imperative. That’s the name of this section. So you’ve got the overall idea of empowering your workflowers force Becky. Are there certain modules, certain workflows that that aligns with, or is that the entire platform that aligns with?

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Becky Whiten: It’s a lot of the platform. So most all of the task, whether or not it could be project related or incident case related, Hr task related and so forth. So I think it really is across the board.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, yeah, really ties into the concept of an application. In this case. Application platform, where the whole goals that make the business better versus kind of. We talked about with Fred in the first section, individual silos versus. In this case the whole, the whole business is getting better and and able to work together as an organization

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Fred Reynolds: Fred, number 6 technology solves field service labor shortage. Yeah, I’m I’m certain that has not gone away. So this was instant. I didn’t expect this to be here in this way to my customer experience, but I think we’ve all been affected by that. The shortages that are out there. When I think about

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Fred Reynolds: how this platform can help, or how platforms like this digitizing things, it really can help with customers that are on boarding their employees, training them, getting them ready, and enabled to do the work that’s ahead of them. What this article talks about, too, is seeing how a lot of the people with experience. The days of people being around in jobs for 25 years just had that historical knowledge of things that were going on made it so they could do their job because they had it internally.

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Fred Reynolds: Now we see a lot of new workers.

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Fred Reynolds: we’re we’re have technology at such an expanding pace that’s hard to keep up with. So I think the use of a platform like this with AI capabilities to put things in front of people quicker, not just to training them, but while they’re working they get a particular case. The knowledge articles are there. Help Asia there. Things are popping up to help them move just as quickly as these happen. I think that’s what we’ll see technology helping with the with the labor shortages.

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Fred Reynolds: I don’t know. It’s gonna help the people and drop those count to change better. But I haven’t figured that one out. What are you doing using cash? There you go. Could be part of the problem number 5 organizations grow through retention, John.

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John Dahl: you know it’s cheaper to keep a customer than it is to get a new one and not board the new one, so anytime you’ve got an opportunity to have that customer be satisfied by what you’re doing and introduce new services to them. You can grow your your organization with customers that already know you. They’re using a platform with a consistent experience for them.

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John Dahl: Everything is is better when you can do that when you can keep those customers rather than trying to onboard. New II when I read that out loud for you to talk about it, I assume retention meant employees. You started talking about customers. It’s both, really, isn’t it? Yes, it is absolutely.

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Andy Whiteside: And I think that’s kind of the difference is now we look at employees as if they’re customers, because, like you said cheaper to keep them. We wanna make. We want them to be productive and happy. We also want to get the most out of them technology. And a platform. Specifically, it’s gonna play a big role in both customer retention and customer retention

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Andy Whiteside: Becky, number 4, contact center cloud migration accelerates.

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Becky Whiten: So I think this is just where you know more and more of the customer service industry is moving to cloud.

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Becky Whiten: and being able to be remote or being different places to be able to work within the tool. You could still have different departments. Maybe they’re different locations different areas and so forth. But it’s in the cloud. And so therefore, just like service now is you are able to work and still provide the support that you need to. Maybe even better than you could have.

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Andy Whiteside: if everyone had to go into an office. It’s it’s inevitable. And then we’re the efficiencies and the flexibility that comes along with cloud delivered services, including I as or says, or pap path. It’s gonna win out. It’s just a matter of time before more and more people, certainly, for things like

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Andy Whiteside: platforms. It’s a no brainer.

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Becky Whiten: exactly. And the way service now set up with workflows those flows can go to, you know, numerous different teams. And still be a particular ticket. So

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Fred Reynolds: alright, Fred, back to you. Number 3 agile, scalable platforms gain importance. So not surprises to be one of the top 3. This is something. I think it’s been there for the last couple of years, and will be for the next couple of years. I mean these platforms like service. Now, have to continue to let people get their return on their investments. Everybody still has to reduce costs, reduce costs do more with less, and I think platforms like this is actually leaned towards that. So I think people haven’t really justified what they’re investing in and and I and I kind of shared a little bit more this morning.

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Fred Reynolds: and they had a long conversation this weekend with somebody at a party who works in it, who was talking about. He has big platforms like this, and how he really is driving it to get rid of these niche applications, things that have been there for a long time, and bring them all to a platform like this. And it’s really because it is so agile. And we talk a lot about the low code, and so that his end users can actually create workflows on their own and get rid of little things they call applications. So I think that’s gonna be

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Fred Reynolds: thing over. The next couple of years is, we’ll see people gravitate more to platforms versus niche point solutions.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah?

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Andy Whiteside: Well, and, as you pointed out, you could have those conversations and sit down meetings like we have all the time, or, you know, at the company or or neighborhood Christmas party. Everybody everybody is catching on to the idea of platforms, whether they realize the platform or not.

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Fred Reynolds: They understand that you know that these these platforms that come together to provide multiple solutions is the future and service. Now as position. Well, for that, Andy, I think you made a good point. I think that’s one thing that resonated in the conversation, and some of these that these are platforms. These are not just little applications. It’s a combination of that. And as people really understand that, I think that’s what they’ll start seeing their investments, you know.

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Andy Whiteside: So I think this is interesting. We talk about the platform. And then we talk about industry, specific customer experience solutions within the platform. John, this is number 2 here that’s left industry specific. Cx solutions dominate. What are they calling out?

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John Dahl: You know

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John Dahl: the the introduction really is is spot on it. The idea of a one size fits all solution. That solution solve somebody else’s problem. A long time ago, long enough that it was wrapped shrink, wrapped in and packaged in a product. Right? So if you’ve got some industry experts that are creating

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John Dahl: the tools that really help their organizations. Their industry thrive. Serenity, I believe, is one healthcare provider out there in the store that’s available. So so you’re already starting to see that it’s been out there for a couple of years where you can go to the store and and buy an application that needs a specific industry, need install it, configure it. And you’re ready to go.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah. And then, as you need to tie it into other things, there’s going to be something else within the platform that’s available

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Andy Whiteside: or there’s Apis to integrate with other platforms. But it really becomes something that has long term sustainability. That the entire organization can rally around for the their it needs.

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John Dahl: Oh, yeah, by bringing that into the platform. You’re sharing your foundational data in a single source where everything is consistent. You don’t have to worry about this applications data being out of sync or outdated versus another application. Yeah, alright, Becky, this is the last one. But I’m gonna ask John and Fred to comment on this one, too, because

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Andy Whiteside: it’s all the hype, right? Generative, generative, AI artificial intelligence hype becomes reality. Becky, does this truly happen in 2020? Fourth.

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Becky Whiten: I believe it does so. I believe that it’s going to come about more and more so we’ve already are seeing it in some of the virtual chats, some of the different demonstrations where you can.

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Becky Whiten: you know, users can type something in and it will go and pull up either something into the system. It can look at their

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Becky Whiten: computer. If they’re having computer problems, they can go search through knowledge base. It can go do quite a bit of things. I think more and more of that, and getting easy and easier for that to use, and being able to expand upon what all that we can pull from is coming. It is.

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Becky Whiten: you know, for this to be number one. I am sure that it is number one they could put it at 0 lunch. I think we’re here. So a lot of people are very interested in

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Becky Whiten: Jen AI, II don’t think it’s gonna solve everything. But I do think it’s going to help in certain areas and chat or virtual chat is one of the top particular areas that could really help different service desk

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Becky Whiten: from people actually having to answer things that are repetitive or things that others could just have searched, and it was out there into their knowledge base or somewhere for them to be able to to get help from and ease of use. So I think that is bringing the kind of ux experience and the portal experience.

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Along with the chat experience. Oh, well.

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Becky Whiten: yeah, to light.

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Andy Whiteside: So, Becky, I think you did this, but in your comments I think you did it. But let’s to be real succinct. What’s the one thing you believe, generos of AI will be used for in 2024, within the platform which may already be happening. But what’s the one valuable piece you see, Jenna, like? Give me one example, one example of a used case.

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Becky Whiten: I would say chat. So if I went to a portal. That that is one particular one, but another one that I read in this particular article, which I did not actually think about. Is filled services. So

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Becky Whiten: a while back, when I was helping Dell with stuff, and you’re doing parts, and you might have a customer with a 4 h. Sla and a field rep is out in the field needing to grab a part from somewhere because they have to make sure something is up. It could be as easy as you know them on the mobile phone, trying to find out what warehouse that they needed to go pull that part from

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Becky Whiten: and talking to it versus.

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Becky Whiten: or having to

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Becky Whiten: go search or go to the computer and look things up.

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Andy Whiteside: Right? Okay, John, we’ll come to you next. Generative AI is this the year. That’s that it happens I’ll use air quotes happens. And if if so, what? Give me one example of something you’re excited to see it solve due force.

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John Dahl: So II still think that Jen AI is a buzzword and a lot of organizations are spending a lot of resources trying to understand what it’s capable of doing. I think it’s gonna be important for organizations to understand the risks that are involved in using it, and it potentially providing bad information to your customers.

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John Dahl: So I think what’s gonna happen is as companies figure out what it’s capable of doing. They’re gonna start to settle down into a couple of areas where they they feel that the risk is appropriate and they’re gonna want to use it to to interact with their customers. And I like Becky’s example. Where the the field service guys out there trying to type a part number or a part name into

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John Dahl: in into your phone is is not gonna be the best thing, especially if you’ve got dirty hands, cause you’re out there doing field service work. But if you can just speak to the AI, and say, Hey, I met such and such a customer, and their boilers out, go find me the parts that I needed. It really offers a lot of potential, and then maybe it chimes in. Oh, by the way, most people forget the order of the Xyz that comes with it, or you need with it.

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Andy Whiteside: What do you think? Oh, yeah, add that to the order. That would be awesome, wouldn’t it?

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John Dahl: I could use that in my personal life. A lot.

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Andy Whiteside: The the trip to Lows means I really go 3 times because I forget the other 2 things every time.

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Fred Reynolds: Fred, your thoughts on Jenai. Why, it’s number one, and what you give me. One thing you would like to see it do for us. So first of all, I do believe it will be a reality this year, because I think Jenai has been around for last what? 15 years I’ve been working on this, but becoming a reality. Now it’s mature enough for us to start using it. And you saw that through some of the tools that are out there, people are using what I would like to see is, and how I think it could be used, especially in like case work, or trying to solve incidents, say a particular product with that particular product as long as

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Fred Reynolds: everything’s been loaded up into the system. For you know, it’s it’s released notes. It’s a troubleshooting guys and all that things. I believe that is, gonna be able to assist people, get to the issues and fix the issues faster. By presenting that to the service people to say, Hey, you know, based on your software level, based on your description. Try this. And I think it’s just really save a lot of time out there for people trying to correct things because it’s in the background learning all this stuff, and it should be able presented a lot faster

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Fred Reynolds: instead of trying to troubleshoot with 5 different things. I think it’d get into the one thing that would probably fix the problem first.

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Fred Reynolds: and that’ll that’ll change. It’ll change quite a bit.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, guys, that’s that’s the article. For the most part. I’m calling out the last line here where it says, meanwhile, find out how service now helps organizations deliver frictionless customer experiences, you know whether it’s the employee or the customer or the actual outside customer. I think that’s the goal for all of us. Right, get them what they want, what they need and make it feel

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Andy Whiteside: natural and native coming out of the system. Guys, do you think, do you think the customers that you’ve interact with us so far, are they? Are they ready for.

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Andy Whiteside: let’s say, the genie gen AI part of this, or there’s a lot of work left to be done.

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We’re getting ready to find out, because the 2 people on here with John and Becky are both involved with one of our customers. That’s

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Fred Reynolds: fully into it. John actually hosted them down to Texas. Had an event around Gen. AI. They just redid their licenses. We’re doing it this month to start addressing that. So we’re doing another one of these Andy in the quarter, and let you know how well they’ve adopted to it, because they’re really on fire to try to utilize it. And I’ll say one more plug right for for those that are listening here to need to get the service. Now, knowledge 24. I think a lot of dollars 24 is gonna be about some of these customer use cases and how they

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Fred Reynolds: they’ve focused on the customer experience engine has been able to help me move before. So I’m excited about knowledge 24. To see some of this stuff become that reality right early registration is open

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Becky Whiten: and not just talk about it. II would like to see someone actually implement.

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Becky Whiten: not just talk about. We’re we’re

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Andy Whiteside: getting there. Well, that goes back to my question. II asked the question. If Fred talked about a customer who’s all in now we’re gonna help them do it. I think there’s a ton that is very skeptical, but they know, based on what they’re believing. Generative. AI is all about that. There’s at least pockets where it can be very helpful for them.

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Fred Reynolds: and it’s gonna be important, Andy, for us to use it and demonstrate it, because those customers that are nervous around that is because they haven’t seen it and nobody seen be successful with it. So we’re there to help share our experience with our multiple customers around that in a to where we are successful with it. Yeah. And then John made the point a while ago, you know, to use it, but yet understand and and validate it and evaluate it. For whether it’s right or not, it’s gonna be interesting to watch

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Andy Whiteside: that unfold in our personal lives. Our work lives where you know, artificial intelligence is used, but also

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Andy Whiteside: making sure that we get

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Andy Whiteside: get it for what it’s really worth, right, great wrong. We need to be able to understand that what’s wrong about it move and use the value in it.

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John Dahl: We need to introduce it like you, Bowl Andy, with those bumpers set up in the gullies, you know.

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John Dahl: It’s it. There’s ongoing maintenance for sure.

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Becky Whiten: Yep, and there’s right ways to use it wrong ways to use it. I think so. And I think

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Becky Whiten: there’s gonna be certain things that are gonna be bumpy along the way. And then there’s gonna be certain things that are gonna work great. So I think that’s where gotta figure out what works best. For which company?

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, I’ll end this with a story. I walked in yesterday. My oldest son was watching, and then my youngest son sat down and watched the second half of it. 2,001 a space, Odyssey. And I’m like, see, that’s what could happen. That’s what AI could do. We could try to take over it was just, you know, many, many generations from now, and going forward will not have that reference of what the 19 sixties thought artificial intelligence was gonna evolve into

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John Dahl: Yup. Thanks.

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Andy Whiteside: alright, guys. And I’m not saying it’s gonna evolve into that. But I’m saying we gotta we gotta control it and use it for all the right reasons

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Andy Whiteside: guys. Thank you again for joining. I guess it’s the last one until the holidays. So merry Christmas! Happy holidays! And you guys enjoy the time with your families and friends.

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John Dahl: Alright, Chris and Katie, you, too.

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Andy Whiteside: appreciate you guys doing these in 2023, and we’ll look forward to a whole bunch more on 24

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Becky Whiten: our top 9.

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Andy Whiteside: Our time. Now have a good day bye, bye.