A few weeks ago, I opened my inbox to find an email from The New York Times telling me it had updated its homepage, saying it wanted to give its subscribers a “seamless experience: Whether you visit on your phone, tablet or computer, you’ll now see the same groups of stories across all of your devices each day.”

The Times is one of many companies investing in seamless experience, which is smart because, when done well, it improves the overall customer experience — that’s why this year’s CX SF Forum is focused on seamless experiences.

But the quest for “seamless experience” also raises several questions:

  • What is a “seam,” anyways? I bet that if I asked you to name a seam you’ve encountered, you’d have several stories ready to go (I know I do). It’s more than inconsistencies between devices. Seams take many forms: an error a person can’t recover from in an app; when she must log in repeatedly to the site for no good reason; or when she must restate her problem to the manager after a customer service call escalation. Seams traverse channels, contexts, and time.
  • Can companies remove all seams? Some seams can — and really should — be fixed though improved customer understanding, data integration, and design. But others — such as when Alexa misunderstands a user’s request due to an accent — can be rooted in immature technologies beyond your control.
  • Are emerging technologies the answer? Will immersive experiences like VR blend the physical and digital and remove the seams that cause stumbles when traversing the two? Will maturing technologies like natural language processing (NLP) fix the seams in voice interactions once they can successfully discern voices in a crowded room and decipher accents? Will these raise more questions?

I’ll be tackling these questions from the mainstage at Forrester’s CX SF 2018 on the morning of October 2, along with several other Forrester analysts and a great lineup of industry speakers — including Google Senior Director Ben Galbraith, Amazon Alexa Voice Service VP Pete Thompson, and Charles Schwab EVP and Chief Digital Officer Neesha Hathi. Check out specifics about the event here — and I hope to see you there!