Contact center operations involve a lot of moving parts, which is why technology has always played a role in their success. From improving the customer experience to onboarding and upskilling agents, technology has always shaped the way contact centers operate.
The latest advancements in technology provide useful tools for contact centers, but which ones do you really need?
What the New Contact Center Looks Like
The contact center has changed dramatically in the last few years, as new technology has been adopted and many companies have moved to having largely remote teams.
Today, contact centers of all sizes use technology to simplify the agent-customer experience. Basic technology like IVR (Interactive Voice Response), ACD (Automatic Call Distribution), and call recording are a part of most call center operations.
These tools are the necessary staples of a good contact center, but recent technological advances can help bring your contact center operations to the next level. The contact center of today and tomorrow automate as many processes as possible and unifies tools under one platform.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) , especially Natural Language Processing (NLP) and speech-to-text tools, are transforming customer-agent interaction.
In addition to these new tools, more businesses are moving their contact center operations to the cloud and leveraging CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service).
While CCaaS is becoming a more common option – particularly for businesses with larger contact center operations, XCaaS or Experience Communications as a Service is emerging as a new solution for businesses with smaller traditional contact centers that engage with customers across the entire business. XCaaS brings together CCaaS and Unified Communications as a Service, allowing contact centers to handle all internal and external communications in one platform and engage non-agents in customer interactions.
8X8, RingCentral and Zoom are leaders in providing XCaaS to simplify contact center operations. Zoom is a player to watch in this market as they build out their all-in-one desktop, and while Microsoft hasn’t jumped into Contact Center, they may still enter the market.
The most advanced contact center operations utilize technology to simplify interactions, automate processes, and unify solutions under one platform.
Whether you’re looking to improve your contact center operations or build a new contact center, keep an eye on these new tools.
Using AI to Improve Customer Experience
AI is not just a technology buzzword for contact centers. AI tools contribute to a new shift in contact center operations towards “self-service by default.” The most complex calls can be handled automatically, with fewer calls being forwarded to agents.
Beyond IVR that routes callers to the appropriate department, AI powers intelligent bots that can handle customer queries and frequently asked questions. Five9 is leading the way in developing these “intelligent virtual agents”.
Nextiva and Genesys are two more companies developing sophisticated conversational AI chatbots. These bots help automate queries and reduce the reliance on agents.
Paired with advancements in data processing, interactions with conversational AI bots are recorded and AI tools can then analyze how the contact center is being used. The emphasis on more conversational-sounding AI bots is important because it helps put customers at ease.
Observe.ai is an innovative player in the market as while they’re not competitors to the contact center players; they work with them to boost performance and maximize agents’ performance.
Omnichannel is Evolving
TalkDesk, NICE, 8×8 and others have driven the rise of omnichannel support as part of their contact center operations solutions. An omnichannel cloud contact center uses cloud-based solutions to allow customers to reach the contact center through different channels.
Customers now expect they can seamlessly move between platforms, which is why we’re seeing omnichannel evolve to include these interactions embedded into collaboration tools like Teams. Vendors like Evolve IP are extending omnichannel, so you can provide a genuinely personalized interaction on the customer’s platform of choice.
To improve your overall CX consider how you can extend your contact center support to new channels.
Using AI to Improve the Agent Experience
Experts in AI technology for contact centers agree that improving the customer experience is really about improving the agent experience.
Because of the demand to record and document every customer interaction, there are a lot of repetitive, manual processes that agents must complete, such as copying over customer information and inputting call summaries.
Many contact center providers have created Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools or agent assistant applications to give them tools before they know they need them. This simplifies contact center operations by automating repetitive tasks that agents do every day, freeing up agent time to process more customer calls.
Anything that reduces friction for agents also improves the overall customer experience because agents are less likely to start customer calls frustrated.
Other companies, like NICE, have focused on using AI to automate agent training and coaching. These workforce intelligence tools use recorded data to learn patterns about how an agent interacts with customers. The tool can then automatically provide recommendations for improvement and even real-time coaching to help improve an unfolding customer encounter.
In addition to specific agent coaching, AI tools can also provide natural language recommendations for agents and supervisors alike to integrate into their scripts.
Stay Ahead of the Curve of Change with Your Contact Center
Contact center operations and the technology that supports it is evolving quickly. Bridgepointe can help your company improve your customer experience and more.
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