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The contact center is much more than a place to answer calls. Traditional call centers are evolving into customer experience hubs that incorporate CRM systems, analytics, workforce management, omnichannel, journey orchestration, automation, social media and more. Digital channels like chat, messaging and video are commonplace. Instead of single interactions, companies are placing more emphasis on the total customer experience — across channels — throughout their relationship with a brand.
To deliver this holistic experience, there are more than 10,000 customer experience (CX) technology providers in a market that’s estimated to be worth billions. It’s enough to overwhelm even the most seasoned customer experience professionals, especially those who rely on new technology to enable a digital transformation.
Digital transformation is a mammoth undertaking. For established complex legacy businesses, the contact center is a good place to start. It’s the epicenter of the customer experience. It’s also where most customer frustrations can occur.
Here are five ways to enable end-to-end digital transformation in the contact center to improve customer satisfaction, reduce cost and increase revenue.
Businesses don’t control the customer journey; they control touchpoints. The key to successful digital transformation is to step back and define the optimal future-state, end-to-end customer journey across business units and channels. Then deploy the right strategy and technology to bring it to life.
Start by understanding which are the most critical journeys or touchpoint experiences that you need to improve. Rather than trying to make blanket improvements, a narrow focus can illuminate which areas will drive the most customer experience improvements and ROI.
Ask yourself which specific interactions cause the most dissatisfaction among customers and agents. What are the most common contact types? And what are the root causes of those contacts?
Next, create sales and service personas of the types of customers who experience those suboptimal operations. Personas are built from deep analytical models based on needs, behavior and value of different customer segments for a particular interaction or experience.
Remember that customer journeys are fluid and ever changing. CRM systems and tools like journey maps and touchpoint analyses are important, but they show historical information and artifacts at a singular point in time. A snapshot isn’t enough to create continuous and significant results. Business owners — those closest to the customer — should use technology that can change journeys on-the-fly, without requiring slow and expensive IT dependency. This is where access to a comprehensive cloud-based CX ecosystem is important; this places the focus on the business need you must solve, not the technology itself. Disparate technologies and data can be coordinated and integrated to create a more holistic picture of the customer journey.
Automate journeys and interactions as much as possible and create an automation center of excellence to manage the transformation from human-dependent interactions to digital/customer-driven interactions. Automation can be done over underlying legacy systems, web applications, commercial applications, virtual desktops, etc. All of this allows very fast deployments — days and hours instead of weeks or months — as well as easy maintenance and quick changes.
Automation can, in certain processes, fully replace humans. This is usually know as robotic process automation (RPA) or unattended automation. This is frequent for back-office processes where the level of automation can reach 100%.
However, in front-office contact centers or customer-facing outlets, automation won’t fully replace humans. Instead, it’ll assist and guide them through the process. This is the function of RDA (robotic desktop automation or attended automation), where humans are still needed for some customer interactions. Instead of having humans work with systems and processes, automation allows contact center employees to focus on listening, providing great service and increasing customer satisfaction.
As journeys are defined, use technology to expose the same journey to each channel of interest. Activate channel-less journeys through a holistic CX platform that sits above the business units and legacy platforms.
Automate or semi-automate triggers and actions to enable a more cohesive experience that doesn’t take years to build. Being able to expose the journey to any channel not only enriches each channel’s capabilities, it also allows customers to move from one to another seamlessly within the same journey.
Organizations can then monitor real-time customer behavior and map individual journeys automatically by need, tying back to digital touchpoints, customer records, interaction history and other relevant data regardless of channel or even business unit.
At this stage, virtual assistants using AI and natural language processing (NLP) can further optimize interactions. This significantly increases the self-service and digital channel capacity to serve customers. Email assistants, chatbots and advanced IVR technology can perform any task required to create more convenient and optimized conversations.
Enable improved digital-first experiences through journey monitoring and analytics, along with AI-enabled journey orchestration. Using AI over all data coming from automated journeys and the channels they’re exposed to allows organizations to make decisions in real time, based on what’s best for individual customers. The technology acts as a central brain that determines the best action for that specific member with every interaction and touchpoint.
Share this insight with digital teams as well as human agents to inform customer experience improvements and collect associate insight. You can also balance lessons from both automated and non-automated interactions.
At this stage, journeys don’t need to be only reactive. They can also be proactive and take initiatives to achieve business targets and increase customer experience, reducing customer effort.
Getting Started with Intelligent Digital Transformation
Before tapping into elements of a CX ecosystem, put together a team of relevant stakeholders from multiple business units to represent integrated workstreams. If it lives in the functional level, it might not realistically represent the entirety of your brand’s customer experience. It should be an executive-level initiative.
With a team in place, it’s time to get to work. Use an agile-operations learning lab and pilot approach that integrates business units. Determine the most relevant solutions and technologies in the ecosystem to apply, then build on successes with expansion to new tools and new customer groups.
The result will be better, more valuable experiences for customers built on leading technologies without the need for a heavy IT lift.
TTEC is a Genesys partner that is helping clients bring digital transformation to life. Be sure to catch TTEC riding shotgun on the #29 Genesys Andretti Autosport Indycar in Alabama race on on April 18 and in St. Petersburg on April 25.
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