Paul Miller at OpenText discusses the importance of putting contact centre technology at the heart of your customer experience.
The contact centre is at the heart of today’s customer experience. contact centre interactions are critical to customer experience in a digital age, and data from these interactions can be used to create actionable insights to help businesses optimize the customer journey.
A 2017 report on customer experience highlights how we improve our customers’ experience by managing the customer journey as a whole. After all, when we are asked what we think of a company we base it on the total experience, not a single touchpoint.
A customer’s interactions with a contact centre are a vital element of that journey. These interactions create a vast wealth of data which today is largely untapped. Businesses that capitalize on this data will undoubtedly lead the way in meeting the ever-increasing customer expectations of their journey.
We may intuitively feel that this customer interaction element is too complex and human to let technology anywhere near it, but I’m convinced that the right technology solutions, like advanced voice recognition and AI, will become increasingly critical to supporting and optimizing it.
As with any change, we need to be educated and convinced of the value of these capabilities before we can embrace them. Now they exist and provide value, it’s time to start.
In a Digital World, Customer Experience is More Critical Than Ever
Many years ago, most UK high streets had gas and electricity showrooms where you could do anything from paying a bill to getting someone to fix your boiler to buying a new cooker. In many ways, it was inefficient and inflexible, but at least it meant every interaction could be a connected point on a joined-up customer journey.
Over time, the high street moved to online retail and physical contact centres, and customers migrated from snail mail to phone to websites to apps. We are seeing the next natural steps in that evolution with more and more businesses moving online and increasing numbers of agents working from anywhere in virtual contact centres.
The lasting impacts of COVID-19 will almost certainly accelerate this shift, and there is a risk that the customer experience gets left behind.
Digital channels encourage a fragmented, transactional relationship between customer and business, no matter how many customer surveys you send out. This makes it all the more important to focus on the quality of that customer journey.
It’s harder to hear the voice of the customer in a transactional relationship or to differentiate on much else than price and convenience. More customers are at home, having to use digital channels they have never used before, and it is hard for some of them to adapt.
Losing sight of the customer journey can mean losing sight of your customers.
Technology is Key to Keeping the Customer Journey Alive
If businesses are to keep the customer journey alive and prevent it from turning into a series of disjointed, transactional touchpoints, I believe that this technology stops being a cool toy and becomes a necessity.
With the recognition, analytics and AI capabilities that are already proven, it is entirely possible to create actionable insights that business can use to improve the customer journey to a point we haven’t seen much of since the last gas and electricity showrooms closed down. It’s a necessary step and a big one, and it can be done in stages.
One way to do this is to start with a relatively small step such as trialing automated analysis and scoring of all customer calls looking for key phrases, to use in agent feedback instead of manual sampling. Another way is simply to continue the conversation.