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“Rein in costs and improve customer experience.” That’s the daily challenge facing contact center professionals. Everyone’s trying to find the right balance between efficient business operations and building a satisfied and loyal customer base. These competing needs are driving organizations to push customers to lower-cost digital channels while fueling the misguided belief that voice is dead. It’s not.
Voice is convenient. When customers or prospects are at the point of escalation or have complex questions, no one can help like a human. In fact, voice is on the rise with digital assistants in the home and on your phone through Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri.
The Future of Voice Is Already Impacting Customer Experience
Voice is now as much a part of digital transformation as mobile, web and social channels. We’ve seen this in Genesys customer surveys and expert analysis. By 2022, it’s estimated that a human agent will be involved in 44% of all interactions—even though the proportion of phone-based communications will drop from 41% to 12% of overall customer service interactions. With the drive to digital, you might be unprepared for the voice of the future and unable to demonstrate its value.
Many think of artificial intelligence (AI) automation as enabling the explosion of digital channels. But AI is becoming a major part of voice as well. For example, AI-assisted human-like voice technology just landed with Google Contact Center AI. It blends AI and Google voice interaction technologies with Genesys call center automation and predictive routing. The Microsoft social chatbot Xiaoice can predict what people will say next during a conversation. It even interrupts people mid-sentence just like a human. And Amazon Lex brings Alexa-like capabilities to enterprise call centers.
Yet by 2020, messaging will overtake voice and chat use combined. Chatbots on Facebook Messenger, WeChat and LINE, for example, offer consumers typical self-service capabilities. And these are within the communication channel they already use with their friends, colleagues, and families. According to Gartner, 25% of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistants or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020—up from less than 2% in 2017.
As adoption rates grow for these human-machine interactions, automation, and all the “digital facilitator” technologies will handle much more. But customer needs are unpredictable, and agents are uniquely qualified to handle those. As AI-powered automation gains ground and disrupts the industry, the real question of balance is not cost versus customer experience. It’s finding the right blend of humans and machines to achieve business outcomes—through the timing and sequencing of channel investments for customer service.
Demonstrate the Value of Voice and Digital
Voice and digital augment what’s best about each other. The challenge is proving that. For example, customers who have successful digital customer service interactions are much less likely to engage on more expensive channels like the phone. But it’s important to understand what that call deflection is saving you and how. Understanding the customer journey across all your channels is a first step.
True omnichannel engagement enables this type of journey mapping by giving you more visibility into your business. Look at how customers move through your customer service processes, and how they deviate from the ideal route. Measure these movements to discover the success of digital containment and be able to focus improvements on specific touchpoints. By analyzing the customer journey, you can prove ROI and improve customer experience.
Find out more about how to measure your customer service in our upcoming webinar. In “Getting the best out of your digital customer service investment,” Art Schoeller from Forrester Research walks you through the critical steps of proving the value of your voice and digital investments.
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