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Alteryx CMO Keith Pearce on How to Balance Automation and CX [Video]

June 7, 2023

industry insights keith pearce

Automation is here to stay, and you have to use it wisely. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t new to the world of sales and marketing, but its applications are expanding further than we could've imagined. Companies are exploring the possibilities that automation has to offer and wondering where it might fit to improve customer experiences and unlock time and cost savings. 

Let’s explore why establishing that balance is now more important than ever. 

Keith Pearce is the Chief Marketing Officer at Alteryx and prides himself on being not only a marketer but a technologist at heart. Following a brief stint in the political space, Keith began his journey in tech, working for startups. After over 20 years, he migrated to sales, marketing, and customer experience, which landed him at Alteryx. 

As the latest in our Industry Insights series, I chatted with Keith to discuss everything automation, AI, data, and the customer experience. 

What you’ll learn in this article:

  • How does automation affect the customer experience?
  • How can AI help companies save time and money?
  • When does technology become too much?
  • How can companies balance it all? 

Check out the full conversation below:

How automation influences the customer experience

It is hard to pinpoint one area in the interplay between automation in sales and marketing, and customer experience. In fact, Keith sees it on a couple of different levels - how it affects costs, the overall personalized experience for the customer, and balancing human factors.

Cost savings

In this macroeconomic environment, any money saved by using a robot is pretty favorable. Companies are interested in turning cumbersome manual processes into automated tasks. Automation can also identify where users are spending most of their time so companies can utilize marketing budgets accordingly. 

Personalized experiences

A unique customer experience will not only impress users but also entice them to become repeat customers. Sales and marketing automation help bring greater personalization to these experiences. These tools empower companies to create marketing efforts that directly target their audience’s interests and preferences. 

71%

of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions. 

Source: McKinsey & Company

The human touch

There is a big debate in the automation space - will it negatively affect the human experience of sales and marketing, or not? People know people, so is it in our best interest to trust a robot to know what people want? 

When it comes to this aspect, balance is key. Companies have to know where to start and end automation implementation and prioritize “not rotating too far to one side or the other.”

When "too much technology" affects the bottom line

There will always be something AI can’t do. Whether it’s evoking empathy or relating to the human experience, there are simply characteristics that these tools are not ready for (yet, at least). 

So, how does one define “too much technology”? Keith believes it is when it negatively impacts the customer experience. 

“You see the backlash when automation gets a little too creepy. There’s a fine line that companies have to walk.”

Keith Pearce
CMO of Alteryx

Keith also gives credit to the consumer in saying that they are savvy enough to know when technology is being used just for the sake of cost savings. They know when they are being targeted. 

Even when companies are transparent with their automation use, the lack of human support can cause disappointment in people who just want to speak to other people. This frustration alone can do the opposite of why companies invested in the tools in the first place, and that’s losing revenue. 

“Companies are going to see more churn if they overdo it,” said Keith. If keeping the customer at the center is part of your company values, this is the time to walk the talk. 

The future of automation technology and the customer experience

It’s the question we’ve all asked: just how far is this all going to go?

Well, Keith thinks it’s going to get “scary good.” You simply can’t ignore how powerful AI is becoming in the world of sales and marketing. It is constantly learning and responding to our behavior in real time. There was a time when AI in business was a cool new thing. Today, it is an expected service. 

Pattern matching and machine learning are being used to track consumer behavior and predict the kind of goods and services they are looking for. Keith cites three examples of pattern matching and automation being used in ways he welcomes. 

He discusses how streaming services use AI to suggest television shows that he may enjoy based on his watch history. He also values it when airlines send him automated messages to update him on changes to his travel itinerary as he is traveling in real time. Even a digital thermostat learning what temperature to change to when you’re home or when the season changes is pattern matching at work. 

According to Keith, the future of sales and marketing automation is the orchestrated experience. Customers appreciate an experience where they can pick up where they left off. There’s nothing more frustrating than going through a whole engagement and then having to start over. The convenience of the re-engagement, no matter what channel these experiences started on, is going to change the game. 

Balancing analytics, automation, and the customer experience

So, where do we go from here? 

With all things considered, automation can be both an exciting opportunity and a daunting task for companies looking to get started. Achieving that balance is all about transparency and protection of the customer experience. 

“Stay true to your values and what your values are. You might need to give them a rewrite if you really don't think you can live up to the promise of some of the declarations around your love of customer.” 

Keith Pearce
CMO of Alteryx

A lot of companies talk about how their mission is to always put the customer first. But, let’s be honest, that’s not always attainable when it comes to business. Not all is lost if you can’t stay dedicated to your original mission. That’s where transparency comes in. These days, customers are rewarding transparency. 

90%

of consumers say company transparency influences their purchase decisions. 

Source: Forbes

This transparency bleeds right into the use of automation in customer experience and how to balance it successfully. 

Honesty is the best policy

Customers want companies to be open about what they’re paying for and why when it comes to data. Giving the consumer that honesty upfront also gives them the power to decide what their comfort level looks like with AI.

The best way to balance automation and the customer experience is to allow the customer to experience it. Being open to feedback opens up the opportunity to adjust as you go. 

Watch the full chat on YouTube and subscribe to G2 Tea, our SaaS-y newsletter with tech insights and tidbits from industry professionals like Keith!

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Alteryx CMO Keith Pearce on How to Balance Automation and CX [Video] We chatted with Keith Pearce to discuss everything automation, artificial intelligence, data, and the customer experience. Learn how to balance it all. https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/G2CM_FI589_Learn_Articles_Images-Industry_Insights--Analytics_Automation_and_CX_V1b.png
Alexandra Vazquez Alexandra Vazquez is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2. She received her Business Administration degree from Florida International University and is a published playwright. Alexandra's expertise lies in writing for the Supply Chain and Commerce personas, with articles focusing on topics such as demand planning, inventory management, consumer behavior, and business forecasting. In her spare time, she enjoys collecting board games, playing karaoke, and watching trashy reality TV. https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/IMG_8741.jpg https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-vazquez

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