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If we didn’t know it before, events over the last year have shown contact centres can no longer afford to operate as standalone units with next-to-no engagement with other parts of the business. Many Genesys customers have woken up to this and are looking to better support home-based agents by bringing combined knowledge, resources, and expertise from across their organisation into play.
This strategic shift is giving rise to the next-generation collaborative contact centre, the topic of our recent webinar. I really enjoyed facilitating the session, alongside Damien Maurel from Orange Business Services and Taimoor Husain from Microsoft. Together we examined four top characteristics of collaborative contact centres and how they’re shaking up the market.
According to Forrester, 89% of firms agree integrating contact centre and collaboration apps results in positive business outcomes. And it’s easy to see why. Customers are less tolerant and forgiving. They want quick resolution, so agents increasingly need to reach out to subject matter experts and lines of business. When they do, they don’t want to put customers on lengthy holds or have to schedule callbacks.
In response Damien explained how RS Components had brought together 130 employees, 30 outsourced agents and 400 remote sales reps by integrating Genesys Cloud with MS Teams and Salesforce. They now seamlessly support each other, view the same CRM data, and use directory, search and presence features to find the person with the right expertise. Then they determine availability and collaborate in real time. All from one unified desktop, in a single click.
80% of our webinar audience had either fully integrated their contact centre and collaboration stacks or were in the process of investigating it. Further proof that Customer Experience (CX) and UC projects are fast converging.
Another feature of the collaborative contact centre is much greater agility. We saw many instances where Genesys Cloud customers quickly switched to home working, sometimes in just 48 hours. Conversely, lots of organisations stranded on on-prem technology suffered and, in extremis, had to shut down customer service.
Damien noted Orange Business Services was increasingly working with clients to overcome agility barriers caused by legacy infrastructure and integration issues. Not only through validated solution design but also rapid prototyping, testing, and measurement prior to going live.
Yet, as Taimoor pointed out, agility doesn’t simply mean flexing contact centre capacity. Cloud also makes a lot of sense in extending global reach and disaster recovery. And, with cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, customers can quickly turn on new capabilities such as text-to-speech, speech-to-text, image recognition, and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) libraries.
Only 25% of the audience had been long-time cloud contact centre users, suggesting more support is needed in helping customers build business cases and migration plans.
Another significant learning point was how the pandemic pushed customers to digital channels, multiplying the number of interactions agents must deal with. Before, one of the main reasons to deploy AI was call deflection. Today, it’s not solely a cost savings play. A key feature of the collaborative contact centre is using AI to collect and deliver information, offer live assistance, and automate back-office tasks like scheduling.
We are already seeing more advanced use cases, deployed as part of a blended approach that ensures customers get the best out of their people and technology. For example, where AI detects if a customer appears stressed and intervenes with prompts and tips to help coach the agent. Using ML and algorithms, Genesys Predictive Routing can also better match customer calls with best-performing agents for differing interaction types.
Payback comes in the way of improved first-contact resolution, average handling time and sales conversion rates – gains that are hard to achieve when agents are placed in straitjackets and must read from long, dull scripts.
Most people felt the biggest difference AI made was empowering people to work smarter, with reducing contact volumes, and innovating and differentiation both polling 25% of the vote.
A good customer experience needs a good employee experience. That means enabling agents to work smarter not harder, while ensuring they stay happy, engaged, and productive.
Workforce management and gamification have been features of contact centre platforms for some time, but their relevance has shot up during the pandemic, with remote working practices where face-to-face support, feedback and coaching are virtually impossible. Frost & Sullivan found companies that adopt a full suite of WEM tools and processes are 60% more likely to have highly engaged and motivated employees. They are also 82% more likely to provide better customer service and 96% more likely to achieve overall profitability.
Damien brought this to life recounting how Orange Business Services helped a leading technology company deploy a global WEM solution for 12,000 agents across 18 outsourcers and 150 locations in 36 countries. Along with call and screen recording, it automates quality management and routine tasks like resource planning and work scheduling. Ensuring the right people and skills are always in the right place at the right time. Other benefits include increased talent retention, saving money on recruiting and onboarding.
The audience was evenly split between managing workforce performance maunually using spreadsheets and relying on agent-supervisor reviews, suggesting lots of room for automation and improvement.
In summary, it looks like the collaborative contact centre is alive, well and here to stay. To learn more around these subjects watch the on-demand webinar Next-Gen Collaborative Contact Center with Microsoft, Orange Business Services and Genesys.
Orange Business Services and Genesys can provide advice and solutions for all your digital contact centre requirements and more.
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