Technology and digital marketing leaders from Verizon, White Castle, Del Taco and First Orion shared strategy insight on developing a virtual customer experience during a panel talk at the #ElevateICX, a virtual symposium presented by the ICX Association.

To say the COVID-19 pandemic upended restaurants and retail would be an understatement. It not only upended but flipped the business model from a dominant in-person/in-store customer interaction to a pure digital and delivery interaction for a good portion of a year.

The focus became a quest to ensure that the digital customer experience proved rewarding, for both customers and retailers/restaurants, on the same scale and level of the in-store experience.

That fast and critical pivot was the focus of a panel discussion, “Virtual CX — How To Provide a Compelling Customer Experience Outside Your Four Walls,” during last week’s #ElevateICX, a virtual symposium presented by the ICX Association. The one-day symposium included nearly a half dozen sessions on topics relevant to brands striving to boost the customer experience by embracing interactive technology.

The panel featured Susan Carroll-Boser, VP of technology at White Castle; Shaan Katyal, VP of sales enablement at First Orion; Erin Levzow, VP of marketing technology at Del Taco and Bala Maddali, director, conversational AI at Verizon. It was moderated by David Drain, managing director of the ICX Association and sponsored by First Orion.

“We turned out sights to making the delivery experience better.. customers were not coming to us due to closed locations’ so we had to be sure it [the food order] was meeting them and getting there hot and that’s where we initially focused a lot of attention,” said Carroll-Boser. “How do we make it so they can still have that in-store experience when they haven’t come in, when they’re outside.”

The pivot for the QSR also has turned attention to exploring new technologies around traditional customer points.

“We’re looking at things, like the interaction with a menu board, and that can be enhanced; you can do a lot more with it. It’s about augmenting what you already have,” she said.

At Del Taco the virtual strategy was quite similar, said Levzow, and the company “doubled down” where it could, such as delivery service. A big goal was getting everyone online and integrated into the app and ensuring that no matter where customers were they could get their food and wherever they were, that the food was made at the right time for delivery pickups.

“The experiences outside the four walls can be just as good [compared] to in-store. Tech got accelerated and maybe it’s one of the only good things [to come out of COVID,” said Levzow.

“I can’t always control an in-store, in-person experience but I can always control the technological experience .. so it can be just as good if not better.. and I think there is a need for both — the in-person and the technological experience.”

Verizon’s Maddali agreed with her view and stated there has been a lot learned from dealing with a pandemic crisis.

“I think humanizing the digital is going to be one of the key things for us as we look to the future,” he shared.

To learn more about the pandemic strategies at White Castle, Verizon and Del Taco, and the critical push to enhance the virtual customer experience, click here to download the free session talk.

About Networld Media Group

Founded in 2000, Networld Media Group is a leading business-to-business (B2B) media communications company specializing in digital media, associations and events in the tech, banking, retail and food service industries. Online properties include,,,,,,,, and Annual events include the Fast Casual Executive Summit, the Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit, the Bank Customer Experience Summit (BCX), the Interactive Customer Experience Summit (ICX) and the Self-Service Innovation Summit.

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