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What Does The Future Hold For Contact Centers?
By Sharon Alalouf, Regional Services Consulting Partner, Amdocs Apac
With the increasing pervasiveness of digital technology, consumers today want it all: instant gratification, ubiquitous access, control, and ability to engage easily with the brands of their choice via any channel or device.
Today’s consumers routinely go online to purchase goods and services, and to get advice on leisure activities. Meanwhile, messaging has replaced email for most digital communications while disruptive applications such as WhatsApp are fulfilling our needs for both text and talk.
When it comes to their service providers, consumers also expect timely, personalized access that is available 24/7. Interactions must be seamless, so users do not have to stop their online session to place a call from the keypad. Moreover, when they need to engage a service rep, they expect their experience with the contact center to be just as seamless.
So what will the contact center of the digital world look like?
At Amdocs, we believe it will be based on a combination of a data-driven approach, a high degree of automation, and a highly flexible workforce. Agents will perform fewer tasks on behalf of customers, with their role shifting to resolve complex problems and facilitate customers to complete tasks independently.
Data, data everywhere
Every call, mobile web session, app usage, and IoT device leaves a data “fingerprint,” containing information about the user’s experience, preferences, and location. The challenge for service providers is to figure out how to make sense of this information and make it work both to their benefit and that of their customers.
What does this mean for the contact center operators?
Whenever a customer engages with their service provider, the contact center should be able to access data in their systems to discover everything there is to know about that customer. Then, using predictive analytics and data algorithms, the service provider can hone in on the most likely reason the customer engaged. Not only does this make the customer feel valued, it ensures that their needs are addressed quickly while building a better customer relationship.
Making the complex simple
Automation in the form of BOTs is on its way to becoming a mainstream technology behind tomorrow’s customer interactions. BOTs add a new level of intelligence by gathering context from the customer’s device and other data sources in order to provide more personalized conversational exchanges using artificial intelligence.
When combined with additional intelligence captured from customer journeys and contextual database information, bots will be able to determine what steps in the journey have already been completed. This means that they will be able to evaluate factors such as purchase history and loyalty points to determine which actions should be taken next.
Automation in the form of Bots is On its Way to Becoming a Mainstream Technology Behind Tomorrow’s Customer Interactions
BOTs will also be able to sense when to escalate to an agent. When an interaction is routed, contextual information will be provided to the service rep, regardless of channel, enabling a seamlessly continued interaction– much like a warm transfer in today’s contact centers.
BOTs will ultimately become the first automated layer in service delivery, further reducing the need for agents.
Communities, crowdsourcing, and virtualization
Service providers are challenged to create new cost efficiencies and increase customer satisfaction. A promising solution comes from active community forums where consumers can consult fellow users for advice to solve technical and other issues, as well as to evaluate new products and services. This significantly alleviates pressure on the contact center.
However, crowdsourcing requires nurturing and support from the organization, and it is only one part of a complete social strategy that includes social channel monitoring and engagement. Service providers also need to provide the governance necessary to ensure that information provided is accurate, relevant, and appropriate.
With increased digitalization, a new paradigm for customer care delivery is needed. This means that new levels of flexibility and agility are required to optimize services across all channels. With modern IP-based technology, the contact center no longer needs to be in a centralized, physical location. Rather, it can be entirely staffed or augmented by a virtualized team to create a truly shared environment similar to other operating models, such as Uber and Lyft, which have a flexible cost structure and where resources are engaged based on demand.
Creating your future engagement center
By adopting data-driven personalization, automation of routine tasks, and adoption of crowdsourcing and virtualization, service providers can build a foundation for bridging the gap toward becoming a fully digital engagement center. Pursuing such strategies will become increasingly vital as customers expect to engage freely using their digital devices and receive one-click agent support from every touch point. For the engagement center, this means dealing seamlessly with communications from customers around the clock via every possible channel. It also means that systems and agents now need to be “journey-aware” and provide personalized service regardless of robotics or agents providing the services.Established in 1982, Amdocs caters as the most successful communications and media companies. Headquartered in Missouri, U.S., the company offers innovative solutions, delivery expertise, and intelligent operations to its clients to meet their digital and network transformation.