Mike Palmer shares four key examples of emerging technologies within the contact centre industry.
Customer interaction is changing readily and rapidly as individual consumers adopt new communications habits driven by new apps and new trends, and as businesses change the way they approach their markets.
Contact centres are a key element of customer engagement for many businesses today and consumers have grown familiar and comfortable with them in both the B2C and the B2B worlds.
Technology continues to evolve to support improved customer experience, to minimize friction and optimize customer effort.
1. Process Control
Control systems techniques applied to advanced manufacturing processes are finding their way into the way we experience business processes as customers. Big data, advanced analytics, and the growth of AI are combining to optimize the customer journey.
The really unique and exciting thing is that the potential is now there to optimize based on the individual – based on historical customer behaviour, knowledge of the customer, observed customer sentiment in the current interaction, and more.
Borrowing again from the world of manufacturing, we see contact centre process technology supporting the move from mass-production to mass-customization. Businesses that are most successful at understanding the individual customer, and engaging with the customer in a way that suits that customer, will win.
2. Self-Service, Social Media Engagement and Omnichannel
Self-service capability is growing as an option for the consumer and it presents the potential to reduce operating costs while giving customers great access to information and knowledge-base materials that suit their immediate needs. Ease of access is key.
More businesses are looking to social media not just to meet the market with content, but as an interaction channel providing support to existing customers, and helping prospects advance to customer stage.
As social media grows as an interface, systems design is focused on the omnichannel experience allowing a customer interaction originating through one interface, in one modality, to advance via alternative interfaces and modalities.
So a customer choosing to engage via social media keyboard chat can escalate that to a real-time voice conversation culminating in a follow-up email providing closure, all seamlessly.
The connectedness of these elements, done well, can allow a consumer to set off independently and self-select the level of direct interaction they choose to have for their particular need, in a way that suits their particular immediate circumstances.
3. Voice Interaction, Voice User Interface, and More
The introduction of smart speaker tech in the home, virtual assistants on our smartphones, and more are bringing “conversation” to human interaction with systems.
Combining voice recognition and interaction with rapidly advancing AI techniques, we can expect impressive levels of sophistication and humanization of voicebots. Voicebots will become comfortable alternatives to human agents, creating a middle ground between self-help and an agent.
Careful design and deployment can provide the customer with a great experience, while businesses reserve their staff for interactions requiring higher skill levels and greater levels of flexibility.
4. AI-Infused Voice Analytics
What we are seeing now is the maturing of discrete technologies such as voice analytics and artificial intelligence and the combining of these to provide benefits. Customers are still human and have unique preferences and needs.
Businesses that invest in leveraging technologies to provide options and flexibility that benefit the consumer will find they benefit from a greater market share.
Voice has remained a primary channel largely because people do like to engage with people when making a significant purchase or when dealing with some complex problem.
There is early evidence that people will adapt to conversational interaction with systems because conversation is natural and comfortable.
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