Take an Agile, Phased Approach to Customer Experience Technology

It can be tempting to boil the ocean when deploying new technology to improve your customer experience. Companies might think, “If we’re buying this new contact center service, let’s get all the bells and whistles now” or “If we’re going to do it, let’s do it all from the start.” In practice, those aren’t the most successful approaches to enhancing your customer experience.

Take software development. Throughout this process, an agile methodology is more successful. Think of delivering a V 1.0 experience, followed by V 1.1 and so on. The technology possibilities to serve customers and deliver on your brand in the contact center are endless. Therefore, it’s essential to consider features from contact center providers or integrated apps from third parties that include help desks, CRM software, self-service knowledge bases, chatbots, analytics, workforce optimization tools and more.

I recently conducted detailed interviews with 10 Genesys customers for a Nemertes Business Value Analysis study.  Nine of these companies had switched from an on-premises platform to a cloud service. Though there were some differences, most followed a similar deployment path: They launched a basic service, discovered fairly quick success and then began building on that success.

Phase 1: Getting Started

As the organizations in this study, as well as others, moved cloud contact center solutions, they found a lot of success using an agile approach. The initial goal is to get the service up and running with basic integrations to CRM solutions and perhaps one or two key applications. Typically, those initial applications include automated callback, basic analytics to measure first call resolution, call handle time or limited workforce optimization.

Training contact center agents and supervisors on an entirely new platform is much easier when you start with the basics and then add new capabilities as time allows and needs dictate. Successful customer experience leaders typically follow the natural evolution of technologies  as they evaluate how to improve customer and agent experiences.

In the Nemertes study, most respondents followed an agile approach and measured success of the initial deployment phase in these three areas:

  • Cost reduction – By reducing the number of employees needed to manage the contact center solution and eliminate equipment maintenance costs, organizations reported operational cost savings. For example, a beverage manufacturer reduced its monthly contact center costs from $333,333 to $168,750 after switching from three on-premises providers to the Genesys® PureConnectTM application. 
  • Cost avoidance – By eliminating the need to upgrade an end-of-life, on-premises system, the companies avoided millions of dollars in equipment costs. For example, one manufacturing company went from two IT staff members managing a Cisco on-premises platform for 20 queues to three people managing 100 queues with the PureConnect application. This eliminated the cost of eight additional IT staff members.
  • Customer ratings – Because of improved voice quality or features like automated callback, customers rated their experiences (CSAT, Net Promoter Score, etc.) higher. A financial services company improved its CSAT score from 8.2 to 9.0 after moving from a Nortel/Avaya on-premises contact center to the PureCloud® application.

In this study, Genesys customers collectively saw a 52% reduction in staff required to manage the solution, a 31% decrease in operational costs and a 6% increase in customer ratings.

Phase 2: Adding Value

As customer experience leaders in the study uncovered these benefits, they wanted to continue improving business success metrics by delivering even faster, better and more personalized customer interactions. At the same time, many assessed employee engagement to understand how new analytics, agent-assisted chatbots and gamification could foster a thriving contact center environment.

As these teams further evaluated customer and employee needs, they mapped those requirements with contact center features, apps and integrations. Organizations commonly considered the following Phase 2 plans as they leveraged technology to improve customer and agent experiences:

  • Basic chatbots
  • Omnichannel to integrate multiple customer interaction channels
  • Full-functioning workforce optimization
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled analytics (speech, agent, sentiment, predictive)
  • Intelligent routing to match customers to the best agents

For example, a financial services company used speech analytics to identify agents who were intentionally disconnecting calls, blaming the technology — something they couldn’t see with their previous Avaya on-premises solution. Now, they’re evaluating chatbots.

Another organization leveraged agent analytics to reduce call handle time from 4.5 to 3.5 minutes. They achieved this by using the data to identify areas in which agents were doing well and where they could  improve. After this initial success, they integrated chatbots, workforce optimization, omnichannel and predictive analytics. The AVP of Service Solutions expects these new functionalities will give the company a competitive edge.

Phase 3: Accelerated Improvements

The key to success is to walk before you run — and run before you fly. In other words, get the basic implementation off the ground and then add new features. Then, as you continue to evaluate customer and employee needs, as well as analytics data, you can continue to build upon existing capabilities.

By smoothly adding new features over time, your ability to deliver seamless, exceptional customer experience — measured by customer ratings and increased sales — will continue to rise exponentially.

Intelligent routing, for example, learns over time and begins to predict agent capacity and ability to resolve the issue. Essentially, the engine would route an incoming call to an agent that the customer rated highly in past interactions. And then it could predict which events will trigger higher call volume and plan call routing accordingly.

The growth potential of basic chatbots is another example. At their core, chatbots provide basic information, such as overnight mailing address or business hours. However, you can train these bots to handle more complex tasks, such as product returns and warranty claims.

Customer experience technology isn’t a single deployment; it’s a continuous process that evolves to deliver your brand — even as customer demands grow and change.

Watch the on-demand webinar, “The proof is in the data: 10 real-world customer experience transformations,” to see what Genesys can do for you.