Contact centers must streamline operations in order to remain competitive in the modern business landscape. Artificial intelligence has the ability to do this in ways that a strictly human team simply cannot. Many contact centers that are falling behind with the technology are also falling behind in performance. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that artificial intelligence is used in the modern contact center.
Does your organization currently have a multi-channel customer engagement strategy? How about an omni-channel strategy? Whether you do or don’t, it is important that you understand the difference between the two. Before you can adopt best practices, you have to understand what you’re working with, as well as what you’re working toward. Multi-channel and omni-channel customer engagement help you achieve separate objectives.
Many people believe the difference between the two terms is very subtle. However, once you take a closer look, you’ll quickly notice they are, in fact, two strategies that follow two very distinct paths. Let’s explore their meanings and how they can help you to create seamless interactions with your customers.
It’s that time of year when baseball appears on our television again…Batter Up, Baseball season has begun! But why are we talking about baseball? Well, the management of a sports team, any type of athletes on a team really, is not that different from the management of contact center agents. Remember the Oakland A’s—the major league baseball team that inspired the book and movie Moneyball? They integrated big data analytics into their team strategy and it changed the game as we know it. By leveraging available data, the team manager was able to assess specific players’ values and performances to assemble power-packed lineups for each game. The end result: one of the most influential strategies to hit professional baseball.
As Contact Center managers spin around feverishly trying to keep up with the latest self-service trends, customers are continuing to do what they have always done…pressing zero a bunch of times trying to reach an live person! Although technology is our friend when it comes to our smart phones and talking cars, customers still have a tendency to want to talk to an agent, even for the simplest of tasks.
This seems to hit the banking industry especially hard. A live person telling a person their bank balance is somehow more reassuring than hearing it from an automated voice. But is answering this simple inquiry in this manner an efficient way to conduct your business?
Despite the fact that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a household term over the last few years, studies show that there is still a widespread sense of trepidation around the topic. According to a report published by Forbes last month, when consumers were given a list of popular AI services, 41.5% could not give an example of AI that they could trust. Significantly, in verticals that traditionally have the human touch such as financial planning or healthcare, over half of customers say that they do not trust AI to help them out.
We have all experienced that frustration. We’re running out the door and just need to make that quick call to get a simple answer. Only we find that instead, we have entered the never-ending tangle of a Contact Center that wants us to press 1 if this or press 2 if that etc. No, we don’t want to make a choice – we want our answer NOW!
Contact Centers are evolving, just as all businesses are in these days of rapid change. It is important to realize that Customer Experience can be the determining factor that sets one company above another. And figuring out which is the right experience to give can be hard to determine. One individual contacting you might want the situation dealt with instantly, another needs to be pampered so they can feel good about whatever they’re doing.
Millions of dollars have been invested in contact centers to support customers calling to ask questions, get support, purchase or return items – or just grumble. The personal agent-to-customer contact seemed important – until it wasn’t. The frustration of waiting for an agent, the aggravation of being transferred from one department to another, and the annoyance of having to re-tell your situation each time you were forwarded has driven customers to look towards self-service and digital channels for a better solution. Should businesses be directing their contact center dollars differently now?
The nightmare of Target’s data breach during the holiday season a few years ago still haunts businesses today. The aftermath of severe fines, loss of customer trust and a seriously bruised reputation – not to mention the reported $61 million payout – leaves corporate executives shaking in their boots when thinking about their own company’s payment security plans. (http://www.pymnts.com/news/security-and-risk/2016/three-years-after-the-target-data-breach/) PCI Compliance in your contact center is a necessary and required part of doing business when handling credit cards, regardless of the processing method.
Choosing a Voice Vendor: Find the “Just Right” Partner
When searching for voice talent for your IVR it is important to understand the goals and objectives of the project and align those to the right partner. For the best result, it’s essential that you identify a voice provider that knows the contact center and its related technologies. The “too big” and “too little” options will leave you vulnerable.
A Solo Voice Talent – Too Little
Selecting a voice is a subjective process. You either like a voice or you don’t. Some solo voice actors may have a sound you favor so you might think it would be ok to contract directly with that individual. However, remember that you’ll not only be responsible for managing the talent relationship, including the contracts and continuous payments, you’ll also need to figure out the ongoing editing, file formatting, deadlines and delivery. In addition, any personal or professional issues that may arise are your problem.
Many customers first encounter your brand through the voice channel. Today, with an increasingly multichannel and digital marketplace, the phone (and the Web) is your company’s modern-day “front door.”
Each time a customer calls, your brand is on the line when “the door” is answered. A great experience over the voice channel depends on two factors—the technology and the human touch, meaning the prerecorded voice prompts that humanize that technology. To ensure the experience is as professional and brand-consistent as possible, it’s essential that that voice greets and guides callers with a clear and friendly sound, encouraging them to complete their goal as quickly and conveniently as possible, whether it’s self-service, a buying decision, or a handoff to a live representative.