NICE CEO Barak Eilam could have easily relied on the stunning visuals that accompanied his welcome keynote at the NICE Interactions “CX AI Realized” June  2024 conference in Las Vegas to do the talking for him. Instead, Eliam did something few CEOs today do: he said the quiet part out loud.

Speaking before an enthusiastic crowd of customers, industry analysts (including yours truly), and partners, Eilam took the enterprise software industry to task, exposing uncomfortable truths about the limitations of generic AI and the pitfalls of a piecemeal CX strategy that views customers as a series of disconnected interactions instead holistic consumers.

Luckily, Eilam also offered a solution: NICE CXone, backed by the purpose-built AI of Enlighten Mpower.

In this first installment of Interactions Insights, I’ll share my interpretations of Eilam’s concept of the “experience perception divide”–and explore how NICE CXone continually evolves its contact center software to help enterprises overcome it.


CX and the Experience Perception Divide

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Eilam pinpoints CX’s biggest problem as the “experience perception divide” between consumers and businesses. This divide is a direct result of enterprises’ frenzied efforts to leverage AI, migrate to the cloud, and deploy industry-specific software to “optimize” and automate every customer interaction.

This fear of being left behind causes businesses to make panic-driven software buying decisions that result in a fragmented customer experience, inefficient agent scheduling and training, and hallucination-prone AI.

The experience perception divide means interaction data is siloed across departments, agents, and communication channels.

A customer journey amounts to little more than a series of disjointed “engagements” cobbled together to fit into limiting buyer personas informed by rigid KPIs. Self-service solutions powered by generic AI trained on the open Internet give inaccurate answers, automate only the most basic business processes, and take months to build, retrain, and achieve ROI. Businesses purchase dozens of different applications, each one claiming to streamline a specific process or meet the needs of an individual use case. But the realities of juggling countless business communication tools–constant app switching, missing data, increased handle and hold times–torpedo CSAT and NPS scores, exhausting agents and customers alike.

In short?

The experience perception divide is killing CX–and taking many established enterprises down with it.


Enlightened Perspectives: Bridging the CX Gap

As you’ve probably guessed, adopting CXone–NICE’s Customer Experience platform–is Eilam’s preferred method of bridging the CX gap and eliminating the experience perception divide.

But how does CXone make that happen–while differentiating itself from purported “all-in-one” solutions from NICE CXone competitors like Zoom and RingCentral?


Grand Refactoring 

First, NICE CXone is a platform built on Eilam’s concept of “Grand Refactoring,” which he defines as a more complete version of cloudification that casts aside the concept of slow and steady cloud migration in favor of completely restructuring lines of code natively in the cloud.

This grand refactoring enables extensive new features, assures future adaptability and scalability, and improves efficiency without sacrificing functionality. Its what enabled NICE to add a staggering 6,000 new features across its product suites last year.

Grand refactoring eliminates those tedious software version updates that only seem to fix problems you never even knew existed while failing to address the most glaring issues that negatively affect end user (and by extension, customer) experience.


Grand Convergence

According to Eilam, CXone enables what he calls a “Grand Convergence” of different functionalities, use cases, and industry-specific capabilities into a single platform. In other words?

CXone provides a truly all-in-one experience, streamlining scalable knowledge base management, WFM, inbound/outbound omnichannel communication, AI automation, analytics, CRM, and so much more into one interface.

While users can certainly integrate their existing third-party systems into the CXone interface, the platform is designed to declutter enterprise tech stacks and manage 100% customer interactions as a standalone solution.

CXone’s grand convergence, as Eilam so brilliantly puts it, represents a “mutiny against over fragmentation”: the end of the single-functionality software era.

According to NICE CX Division President Barry Cooper, CXone replaces an average of 5 siloed point solutions–providing competitive time and cost savings to agents, business owners, and consumers alike.


Grand Fusion

At its core, CXone represents the “Grand Fusion” of people, processes, and technology. This grand fusion is made possible by what Eilam refers to as the “ultimate alchemist”: CXone’s Enlighten AI purpose-built for CX.

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Enlighten AI doesn’t reduce customers to a series of interactions: instead, it creates an ever-evolving, holistic narrative informed by customer sentiment, behavior, preferences, conversations, demographics, relationships, and much more. Instead of a standard customer journey, Enlighten AI builds, improves, and acts on what NICE defines as the “experience continuum.”

Enlighten AI augments live agent support by providing in-conversation insights enriched by continuous CX memory. Because Enlighten AI is trained on the largest labeled CX database and CX-specific knowledge bases, it can entirely automate even complex customer self-service requests.


CXone Mpower: CX-Aware AI

Eilam’s concepts of grand refactoring, convergence, and fusion are simultaneously realized in CXone Mpower–a CX-aware AI offering supercharged with NICE’s purpose-built Enlighten AI.

CXone Mpower combines Enlighten Actions, Autopilot, and Copilot to provide unparalleled support to customers, agents, supervisors, and CX leaders alike. Enlighten offerings have now expanded to include AI-powered sales and compliance tools, routing strategies, interaction autosummaries, compliant management, and customer sentiment monitoring (to name a few.)

Mpower facilitates fully autonomous, agent-led, and supervisor-directed interactions across channels. Because Enlighten AI comes with over 1,000 pre-built AI models out of the box, it provides enterprises with immediate value.

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But what is purpose-built AI, and how is it different from generic AI models? What exactly can Enlighten solutions like Actions, Autopilot, and Copilot do for your contact center?

We’ll answer these questions and more in our next installment of Interactions Insights. We’ll also share some of our conversation with Barry Cooper, including a discussion of NICE’s new–and, at $5/month per user, highly competitive–UCaaS solution, 1CX.