The biggest mobile payments company in Southeast Asia (SEA) is not a bank or mobile company but a ride hailing company—Grab. GrabPay, the mobile payments platform on the Grab app, has become one of the first e-wallets at scale from SEA to be accepted worldwide. In contrast, the banking experience from traditional players has remained stagnant, becoming redundant in the eyes of the end users who’ve moved on to what they consider a better offering.
The fact is that poor customer service is costing businesses more than USD 75 billion a year! Also, according to Gartner, AI will be a mainstream customer experience investment in the next couple of years, with 47% of organizations expected to use chatbots for customer care and 40% to deploy virtual assistants.
While the basic tenets of customer service are everlasting, consumer expectations are not. As we make breakthrough forays into a ‘customer first’ dimension, evolving customer expectations coupled with complex interactions at every stage of the customer journey are pushing enterprises to shift from being ‘customer attentive’ to ‘customer committed.’
Contact centers and the enterprise CX strategy
Enterprises must focus on innovating beyond the predictable product or service threshold and delivering a CX that truly differentiates. This brings the role played by contact centers with the integration of AI and automation—the critical bridges between an enterprise, the understanding of hidden intents and its customers—to the forefront. The failure of contact centers to provide seamless, contextual, immediate, and personalized experience and service across the customer’s channels of choice could lead to significant customer churn. Transform your contact center from a cost to a strategic asset by transforming the CX.
Below are three key expectations they have when it comes to contact centers:
1. Prediction of needs and personalization of services
Eighty-four percent of consumers state that being treated like a person—not a statistic—is the key to winning their business. In practice, this means that enterprises and especially their contact center agents need to have constant access to a customer’s entire interaction history, analyzes of their preferences, and key digital footprints, and leverage these insights to offer a stellar and tailored CX.
Let’s take the example of a frequent traveler who has a Delta and South West airlines gold membership. He has to book a ticket to Florida from San Francisco on a United Airlines flight for time convenience. He calls the United contact center agent who gets a quick running analysis through their AI and ML algorithms that the customer is a United Airlines blue member but is a frequent traveler holding gold membership on other airlines. Hence the agent treats him as a potential gold member and offers him attractive options to choose from.
2. Omnichannel operability
Accustomed to channel and device hopping, consumers now expect seamless omnichannel services. Research from Salesforce shows that 75% of people expect similar experiences while engaging with brands—be it through social media, mobile apps, or while interacting with an actual person.
Immediacy is in demand. Customers have a low tolerance for resolution times and want fast and accurate responses to their problems. Research states that 66% of consumers expect a same day response to their query, and over 40% expect a reply within the hour.
Traditional contact centers falling short
The biggest challenge of contact centers today is lack of timely access to relevant data and the inability to derive real time insights from it. Organizations may have a mobile app, a social and a brick and mortar presence—however these are often not integrated under a central CX umbrella and operate in silos. Businesses need to provide exceptional CX through integrated interaction channels—voice, email, and chat, powered by AI-enabled and contextual capabilities.
Lack of cloud-based infrastructure and cognitive tools curtails an organization’s ability to integrate and analyze their customers’ feedback and consumption patterns holistically. So, when a customer approaches a contact center, they find broken experiences and slow service. In addition, most enterprises still primarily depend on voice-centric contact centers, limiting the customer’s ability to reach out to them from a channel of their choice.
Today’s standard multi-choice menu options at the start of voice calls is very passé, and customers are often annoyed at having to identify and share their personal information to authenticate themselves each time they speak with an executive or log into a mobile app.
The intelligent, omnipresent contact center on the cloud
While there are several contact center solutions in the market offering omnichannel capabilities, cloud and managed solutions and numerous AI tools providing dynamic, predictive analytics—they aren’t meeting the needs of the modern enterprise. What companies need is a single solution that does it all—a unified, ultra-agile, secure, omnichannel, cognitive, and end-to-end managed contact center solution.
Pioneers with proven market leadership are heralding in cloud-based, AI-enabled contact centers. These offer predictive analytics-based routing, leverage data across multiple systems, and apply predictive analytics to dynamically foresee every customer’s need and map them to the agent best suited to address the requirement.
In these most advanced contact center environments, humans and AI work hand in hand: an AI is able to target a specific customer request while simultaneously acting as an assistant to live agents, helping them optimize tasks and mine multiple data sources using a live transcription of the call. Gartner reports that 35% of contact center and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020.
The call-to-action for enterprises is clear—go digital or lose your market advantage. While upgrading legacy contact center infrastructure and incorporating digital tools may entail immediate costs, it will guarantee a tangible and appreciating ROI in the long term. The new frontier for enterprises is to develop an ultra-agile, high performing contact center strategy and start using CX for a competitive advantage.
Ankush Gangwani, global director of product management for business collaboration at Tata Communications, authored this article. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends. Photo credit: iStockphoto/SIphotography