Today’s contact centers are changing in many ways. If your business is still using a legacy or custom on-premise platform, OR if your platform is outdated or has been outclassed, at some point in the future you will be left behind.
Keeping up with the competition is crucial, but it should not get in the way of the one, most important aspect of the contact center, which is of course, customer care. New technology supports meaningful customer interactions and employee engagement, improving customer-centricity while giving employers more transparency into productivity as well as a range of other KPIs.
Interestingly, as of May 2018 Appleton, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee, both areas which we provide contact center support services, has one of the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients for those in customer service.
Improving the Customer Experience
One of the most significant contact center trends is towards improving the customer experience. However, what does this exactly mean? By improving how a customer can engage with your business and those in the contact or call center, contributes greatly to whether the customer walks away with a positive experience or a negative one.
Cloud-based contact center platforms enable omnichannel functionality, providing the customer with a seamless brand experience. Today’s customers expect a certain level of transparency and responsiveness, and this is something that a cloud-based platform delivers.
Contact centers are seeing omnichannel functionality as a competitive marker for businesses who rely heavily on customer interactions. Finding ways to make conducting business more convenient between a customer and an agent is critical in this current always-on digital world.
Increasing the use of Remote Agents
A cloud-based platform enables remote agents, meaning that you won’t need to provide space and equipment for your contact center workforce. It is much simpler to set up and manage remote agents than it is in a traditional contact center, and it gives you access to a global talent pool.
Contact centers running a cloud-based platform leverage softphones for the agents, thereby avoiding the costs and complexities of standard desk phones, many of which cost well over $100 per agent.
Implementing AI vs. Live Agents
Though self-service technology has reached new heights of efficiency, with AI chat bots, there are times when a live agent is still needed. With the option to go from chatbot to agent with a single click, everybody is satisfied, solutions are reached quickly, and frustration is minimized.
An example is Mitel’s MiCloud Connect Contact Center that uses Google’s AI to accelerate and automate workstreams within the platform by utilizing the knowledge base, natural language processing (NLP), and other data points.
Previously chatbots had to be manually created and scripted with best-guesses on what types of questions the customer would be likely to ask.
Utilizing AI whether Google or not, reduces this from months to days.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is expected to be less demand for CSRs as more of their tasks become automated.
Utilizing Unified not Disparate Systems
To support your omnichannel strategy, it is critical to ensure that agent communications are unified. Every point of contact and every part of the customer’s journey should be visible to agents.
When all agents can access the same data, it reduces miscommunication, improves engagement, and presents a unified brand image from end-to-end.
An omnichannel approach makes managing teams much simpler, as well. Management can easily monitor conversations for quality control and process improvement. Calls are managed from a single, simple dashboard, reducing effort, and emphasizing quality interactions.
With omnichannel, communication between agents and managers are simplified. Resolutions are reached more efficiently because all systems, personnel, and objectives are united towards a common goal.
Open APIs for Custom Integrations for Developers
CRM integrations and open APIs make the customer experience relevant and practical. APIs connect systems, break down data silos, and reconfigure data so that it is as useful to the customer as it is to the company.
This enables large enterprises who once had complex integrations with their onsite platform to still be able to have the same integrations with the cloud, thanks to the open API platform.
For example, RingCentral’s contact center cloud platform is an open-API where developers can create the types of integrations custom to their particular business needs and goals.
Businesses benefit from these types of process improvements, and the customer benefits through a more streamlined and connected customer experience. Customers want their experience to be easy.
Agents want to work efficiently and productively. The less effort everyone on either end of the line needs to expend, the more satisfied they are with the process.
In conclusion, the technological landscape in the contact center space is changing rapidly. Moving to a more customer-centric approach is essential, but maintaining efficiency is also a concern, especially at scale.
To learn more about what you can do to improve your contact center operations, reach out today.