What does the modern customer experience mean? What are the modern customer experience deliverables? How can organizations not differentiate, but evolve with the right techniques and resources?
It’s these questions, and more, that drive Hali-Ma Khatun in her customer experience career – which has spanned the telecommunications industry, sales, marketing, and software development. And now that every business has been forced to pivot their brands due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hali-Ma is also pondering how user experiences are being impacted – not only now, but in the future.
Ever since she was a little girl, Hali-Ma has been curious about how brands communicate their messages and what triggers people to buy certain brands. That inspired her to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology and served her well in the industry with Link Communication, where she worked with point-of-sale installations to help drive the customer experience in the store. This was when mobile devices were transitioning from buttons to smart screens and before smartphones proliferated.
As Hali-Ma’s curiosity continued to pique, she got pursued her post-graduate in marketing, neurosciences, ending up with what she called the “perfect blend of psychology and marketing.” She worked alongside SAP as a sales executive, when there was an explosion of mobility and cloud technologies. From there she worked for Kenshoo, Oracle, Genesys, Lumonai, and Denave. Her experiences in a variety of sales and marketing roles continued to fuel her love for consumer psychology and consumerism.
“What I do now is work with B2B companies, whether they're in the enterprise IoT sector or private equity, to help them to simplify their sales journey, so they can drive the necessary techniques with the right applications to generate revenue,” Hali-Ma explains.
She founded Marketai in 2019 with the goal of “Simplifying the seller's journey with Human AI-enabled intelligent motions,” serving as executive director.
When Hali-Ma describes what she does, she is careful to avoid the term Artificial Intelligence--instead preferring to discuss the term augmented technology because she believes that the human factor is a big part of the customer experience. “Artificial Intelligence is a buzz word. It's very broad. And it's confusing, especially when you say, human AI, because it’s both human and augmented intelligence. So I believe technology should be there to improve and enhance what the humans are doing - not to take over,” she says.
Although the term artificial intelligence sometimes evokes fear because people think of the “Terminator” movie and that Skynet is going to take over, Hali-Ma tries to allay those fears with education. “What we’re doing is we’re using automation intelligently, to improve what humans are doing. And then use balance,” she says.
“I think a lot of CXPA members are being pulled into conversations about the role of augmented intelligence, chatbots, or other assistive technology in their organizations,” she says. “They may feel this is out of their depth because these are such emerging technologies.”
Nevertheless, Hali-Ma encourages her fellow CX professionals to embrace these emerging technologies. “It’s one of my core values of business to help organizations be sustainable, to drive excellence, and to provide accessibility to humans in the modern world we’re going toward.”
What’s more, the next generation of consumers has grown up with augmented reality with a variety of apps on their smartphones.“I don’t think this generation is going to have the patience for companies that are lagging behind,” she says.
Hali-Ma has a unique window into the future because she volunteers to help teach STEM to young people.
“The world can only innovate and do better when humans understand and gain intellect in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, because those four core subjects make up our universe,” she says. “And for me, I started being involved in it to contribute because I want to see a world where humans are using their intellect to build something that is more sustainable. And when I talk about sustainability, it's not just about a sustainable business,” she says. “It's about every walk of our lives and our livelihoods. Because I've learned through STEAMers to see nature in everything, because everybody's part of a bigger puzzle.”