Today’s Contact Center is revolutionizing the way companies interact with their customers. As more and more people make customer and life choices based on their experiences, every company is trying to keep up by providing the ideal, customized experience for each individual. To be competitive, companies must provide a premium experience from beginning to end.
To provide this experience, the ultimate Contact Center objective is gravitating towards hyper-personalization: leveraging customer and employee data over time to provide a predictive, prescriptive, and personalized experience that answers the customer’s question, perhaps even before they even ask it.
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To accommodate new buying patterns—especially from customers in their twenties and thirties—the Contact Center must evolve into a comprehensive digital experience. These individuals don’t want to pick up a phone and talk to somebody. They’d rather get their questions answered via digital channels. In fact, 81% of customer contacts begin with a digital interaction (e.g., a search engine or website). They’re behaving proactively to drive resolution through an intelligent, self-service experience before they ever reach out to an agent. This is a dramatically different experience than the traditional customer journey—which is why organizations need to shift their business practice, strategy, and investments to match these new patterns.
In the past, advertising represented the only form of proactive engagement. Today, technology allows organizations to push the right customer information, at just the right time, via whatever digital medium is preferred by the individual. This is Customer Experience (CX) table stakes for any organization!
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Forcing a customer to repeat themselves is not only frustrating, but it also demonstrates a lack of care for your customer’s time. Many companies raced to embrace a digital-first approach, but did so in a siloed fashion: implementing standalone technologies ranging from Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to chat applications that failed to integrate with their larger environment.
Statistically, 30% to 40% of chat sessions require additional interaction via another medium. Consider a customer interacting with a siloed IVR or chat application, who decides it isn’t working and asks to speak with a live agent. Now, they may have to call an 800 number, re-authenticate, and re-explain what they’re calling about. This is all due to the lack of integration between technologies. According to Forrester, 67% of customers have a bad experience when using a company platform because data is indeed siloed.
Download our eBook – 5 Reasons to Consider Contact Center as a Service to learn why organizations like yours are making the move to CCaaS, as well as the pitfalls of racing to deploy cloud-based technology before you properly evaluate the needs of your business, customers, and agents.
Over the last few years, only 23% of organizations have integrated Artificial Intelligence into their Contact Center. Within the 23% of organizations, an overwhelming majority of them (73%) only introduced AI over the last year—even though the technology is available and in some cases in use in other areas of their businesses. For example, Sentiment analysis (a form of AI) has been available in Contact Centers for a decade, but very few actually utilize it.
At its core, AI is an inference engine built and trained to recognize patterns and suggest activities or actions. In addition, AI also integrates Machine Learning with Natural Language Processing. We expect to see AI adopted first for intelligent QA calls where historically calls are randomly recorded “for quality purposes” to find out how well the agent did or didn’t do—making the calls easier to review and providing better coaching help. However, recording the calls only enable companies to evaluate the customers’ experience after the call is completed and—does not prevent a frustrating experience from happening in the first place.
The future power of AI in the contact center promises to equip agents with guidance towards the “next best action” in real-time—and possibly without any agent interaction at all. This requires two things: a well-tuned inference engine and a ton of processing power. This will become more commonplace as available processing power becomes more affordable and bandwidth increases. Voice interaction with a live agent will also become less the norm but isn’t likely to disappear completely.
Over the years, our partner, NICE CXone, has acquired platforms, products, and companies in Artificial Intelligence, Intelligence Automation, and Proactive Conversation to predict a customer’s usage patterns proactively e.g. how the customer resolves problems and where they tend to look for answers.
It reduces the number of agents an organization needs because it dramatically improves results achieved before the customer gets to an agent. This represents considerable cost savings. Gathering this data also enables better decisions regarding how an organization is approaching its customers, enabling continual improvement of the experience and operation based on the data being gathered. This data can also be used to ensure agents are more prepared for real-time situations.
In addition, faster and more personalized interactions enhance an agent’s effectiveness, creating a continuous improvement loop of experiences that also leads to cost savings and enhanced revenue. Gathering the data you need to route calls and interactions to the appropriate person the first time—and being able to present information to the customer before they even know what they’re asking for—will all have the effect of increasing sales while decreasing risk.
Furthermore, NICE CXone also supports thirty channels simultaneously: voice chat, SMS, and social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp). NICE CXone is fully integrated with chat, email, SMS, and voice, and has the ability to contact-switch from one to the other—in addition to supporting multiple at the same time without losing the context of the conversation. This empowers companies to seamlessly interact with their customers based on needs and communication preferences.
The solution also provides sentiment analysis that determines if a customer was upset or happy (i.e., speaking loudly or quickly) and then takes this a step forward by identifying specific words or trends. In addition, the NICE CXone solution also determines if a customer needs a live interaction to de-escalate the experience based on that person’s voice tonality, in the words they use or the pitch of their voice.
Currently, we’re seeing more rapid adoption, and acceptance, of these new Contact Center technologies in larger-scale organizations that historically have been technology laggards. Even very large financial institutions are leveraging cloud technology to better handle clients in a post-pandemic landscape. In fact, by 2025, the cloud Contact Center is estimated to be a $65 billion-dollar industry.
People don’t want to come back to the office, and the platforms must accommodate that change, too. They want to work from home but still need to provide the same data and analytics. Unfortunately, many organizations took their workforce off-premises in a disjointed fashion and as a result lost the efficacy of data analytics obtained by taking an integrated application approach.
The big takeaway is this: don’t rush out to install a new solution (cloud-based or not) without first defining your long-term strategy to help you understand what your organization is actually trying to accomplish. It’s critical to map out two data points:
What are you trying to solve in the long term? Plotting out those two points allows you to create tactical steps along the way to achieve that strategy.
Anexinet knows the key to ensuring a successful Contact Center is not only evaluating context from the dialog but also leveraging AI to guide any conversation to a better, more helpful customer experience in the first place. We continue with our best-of-breed approach to partner with industry leaders such as CXone to bring our clients an unparalleled customer experience, no matter what their size.
Contact Anexinet to find out how we can help you create a better contact center experience, leverage automation in a valuable way, and improve your experiences for your customers.
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