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The speed of contact center technology innovation is moving faster than a Ferrari at a Grand Prix. That’s why, during the recent Enterprise Connect 2023 conference in Orlando, much of the conversation focused on the future. And the hottest topic was what’s next for Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS).
During several sessions, speakers asserted that customer experience (CX) technologies are moving beyond CCaaS in a silo. There’s a push for constant innovation toward omnichannel experiences and personalization.
Today’s cloud-based CX platforms are designed to enable agility, connectivity and scalability. There’s a growing ecosystem that prioritizes composability. And there’s a greater focus on using AI to provide insight and streamline processes. Together these enable seamless interactions across channels and functions.
“We’re already beyond CCaaS,” said Olivier Jouve, Chief Product Officer at Genesys, during a mainstage session aptly titled, “What Comes After CCaas?”
Organizations that implement cloud-based CX can be part of a vast ecosystem that enables connectivity among CCaaS, Unified Communications as a Service, Communications Platforms as a Service, and other platforms and apps. These connections help organizations gain the ability to gather insight into what’s happening across systems in real time. And they allow them to infuse artificial intelligence (AI) at every step of the customer journey — and deliver highly personalized experiences.
“The future of CCaaS is Experience Orchestration,” said Jouve. This approach — using AI-led insights to personalize the end-to-end journey — is a must for organizations that want to be proactive and provide unique experiences.
Jouve also shared some advice on getting started with Experience Orchestration: Consider what experience you want to provide to your customers, and whether you have the technology now that enables that, he said. He advised investing in a composable CX platform with industry-standard APIs and integrations. He also recommended fully embracing AI.
“Companies need to travel their own path to the cloud,” added Jouve, “but that path should include AI.”
AI — and how to harness it for orchestrating personalized customer experiences — was another hot contact center technology topic. The common theme was that if AI isn’t supporting or enabling everything organizations do in the contact center now, that’s where they should be headed.
Speakers in several sessions referred to AI as transformative. And the most transformative type of AI? Generative AI. They shared advice and caveats for implementing generative AI and large language models in CX. The most common guidance was to start experimenting now — but to proceed with caution.
CX leaders’ key focus should be around reviewing and refining strategies to harness this powerful technology. Organizations should already be testing use cases. Those that don’t start exploring generative AI for CX now will get left behind.
Another common cautionary tale: Generative AI should be a complement to CX leaders and their agents, not a replacement for their insight and expertise. Don’t let it replace critical thinking. Be intentional about using it to balance existing processes; for example, call summarization, where there’s a human checking for accuracy.
“Start with use cases where it’s not going off the rails on its own,” said Josh Goldlust, VP of Product Management at Genesys, during the session “Contact Centers 2026: Where we’ll be with CCaaS, AI and WFO.”
But generative AI wasn’t the only area of AI in the spotlight. During that same session, David Myron, Principal Analyst at Omdia, shared the five leading contact center AI deployments based on the firm’s “State of Digital CX Survey 2023.” The top five were:
Although intelligent call routing has the fewest deployments, respondents cited it as the area where AI adds the most value. That’s not surprising when you consider the important role intelligent call routing plays in Experience Orchestration.
Another area where CX leaders are trying to use AI to better personalize the customer experience is with bots. According to the Genesys report “The State of Customer Experience,” 44% of CX Leaders responding use bots’ AI capabilities to predict intent and prompt next-best actions.
During a live edition of the Genesys Tech Talks in 20 podcast at the conference, Michael Logan, Senior Solutions Consultant at Genesys, and I shared other findings that highlight the value of Experience Orchestration. The report found that nearly half of CX Leaders surveyed said keeping pace with customer expectations is their top challenge. Additionally, consumers want and reward personalized experiences, with 80% saying they’d buy more from businesses that provide consistent personalization.
And those leaders’ top priorities — “Enhancing data capabilities for real-time insights, analytics, and reporting” and “Using data and AI for customer understanding and personalization” — address this.
Additionally, 71% of CX Leaders surveyed for the report selected “Implementing a customer experience platform that integrates systems,” which facilitates the personalization Experience Orchestration provides. These include communications platforms, workforce productivity, CRM systems and ERP software, as well as digital and voice channels. And half noted that “Connecting data and technology to drive an omnichannel experience” was important.
We also shared that the capabilities leaders consider most valuable for improving CX in the future are all related to quickly accessing the data needed to orchestrate relevant, personalized experiences. Leading the list is real-time and historical data for analytics and reporting, followed by a customer data platform. CX Leaders also cited predictive/journey analytics as an essential capability.
Cloud-based CX platforms are at the foundation of these capabilities. Half of CX Leaders say a cloud CX platform provides better access to data across channels. And 40% consider its ability to provide advanced analytics and reporting as a main benefit.
“I believe in continuous innovation,” said Jouve, adding that innovation in CX should be intentional. “You always have to start with the experience you want to deliver.”
Time is of the essence in the contact center: The CCaaS of the future is already here.
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