The use of emerging technologies such as automation and AI to manage customer experience will be key to improve significantly contact centers’ efficiency and reduce costs. They will also allow the contact center to switch from a reactive to a proactive and predictive model, dramatically enhancing the agent and client experience and broadening the range of services offered.
Across all industries, the coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to increase their online presence to ensure business continuity and maintain a good customer experience, reinforcing the need to interact with customers and prospects remotely on an increasing number of communication channels.Technology is now the glue that is holding the digital economy together. Before the COVID-19 crisis, self-service support and automation were already becoming the norm as customers expect a 24/7 service and an effortless experience – and this trend is expected to continue to improve customer experience and reduce costs: according to Gartner, by 2023, more than 60% of all customer service engagements will be delivered via digital and web self-serve channels, up from 23% in 2019.At the same time, in today’s new ‘all-online’ paradigm, the human factor is more important than ever. Agents must be assisted by technology to do their job better, by being freed from the more mundane tasks to focus on adding value and deliver an experience that is more empathetic to the customer.
Gartner reveals that 91% of organizations are planning to deploy AI within the next three years and that by 2025, customer service organizations that embed AI in their multichannel customer engagement platforms will elevate operational efficiency by 25%.Chat bots and virtual assistants have become very popular during the COVID-19 crisis to help organizations manage increased volumes of calls, reduce waiting time and manage costs. 74% of organizations consider conversational assistants an important enabler of customer engagement (CapGemini), while 63% of consumers are satisfied getting service from a chatbot, as long as they have the option to move the conversation to a human if needed (Forrester).In parallel, automation and AI are transforming the processes of contact centers themselves. With the development of machine learning, organizations can deploy innovative, personality-based routing: smart pairing technologies allow, based on dynamic behavioral patterns, to match the best agent with each customer to increase the number of positive contacts and enhance satisfaction levels. By detecting customers’ moods through speech, voice and tone analysis, speech analytics help to support agents in real-time on customer interactions quality and adapt offers and processes to better meet customers’ expectations.These technological evolutions do not mean that contact center agents will disappear. On the contrary, they will empower agents to focus on the more complex customer conversations where they can add the most value, instead of spending time on repetitive queries or tasks. The technology offers agents the capabilities to deliver the customer experience aligned to customer needs and expectations, while gaining comfort, work quality and efficiency. According to a Harvard Review, 72% organizations say their frontline customer service teams reported productivity increases when they were directly empowered with analytics and data-powered decision-making capabilities.
Proactive customer support is about identifying and resolving customer issues before they even arise. It takes customer service to a whole new level and is crucial from a loyalty perspective. With AI enabling the analysis of customer interactions and sentiment across all channels at a scale, precision and speed not achievable by humans, organizations will get access to a whole new level of customer knowledge. By gathering data along the way, contact centers will be able to offer a broader range of personalized experiences to customers, predict their frustration and anticipate their needs – by offering support, education and special offers in line with their personal circumstances. Gartner estimates that by 2023, 30% of customer service businesses will deliver proactive services by using AI-enabled process orchestration and continuous intelligence.
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