The events of 2020 have created many challenges for the customer contact (CC) industry. During the pandemic, when an unprecedented number of CC workers had to switch to a work-from-home (WFH) model—often using ad-hoc, remote workspaces—call volumes and customer requests surged. The employees working remotely have to manage with less-than-secure legacy systems, limited customer support tools, and a widespread organizational support system. Companies realized that they needed to quickly pivot to more advanced technologies and tools to help them meet demand and fulfill customer requests more efficiently. This involves leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics as well as application programming interfaces to deliver cloud-based communications platforms as a service (CPaaS) solutions that can be deployed and utilized quickly, often in weeks or even days.
Frost & Sullivan’s latest article, Building the Foundation for a World-Class CX through Omnichannel Automation and AI, highlights the best practices from industry thought leaders to identify key strategies that customers need for their implementation, how to create good experiences for customers with AI and automation, and how the “next normal” post-COVID world will look.
“By enabling real-time communications, CPaaS and programmable API have opened up a range of opportunities,” observed Michael Brandenburg, ICT, Senior Industry Analyst, Connected Work at Frost & Sullivan. “Through CPaaS, a business developer can create highly customized and complex workflows in code, or line-of-business managers can leverage the latest low-code/no-code workflow designers to build and modify workflows themselves. It enables both technical and non-technical teams to use the platform to offer differentiated customer experiences. More significantly, CPaaS platforms are designed to work with most existing infrastructures and contact center systems.”
“The IntelePeer CPaaS platform can be seamlessly and rapidly integrated with many existing infrastructures and systems, including Avaya, Cisco, Salesforce, and other CRM platforms,” noted Mack Greene, Director, Customer Engineering, IntelePeer. “Additionally, it can query systems to obtain information such as customer buying history, status, and other key data to create customized applications that facilitate dialogues.
Businesses will increasingly use AI to automate time-consuming tasks such as customer surveys, handle transcription and translation services, and to guide customers through self-service options. Some important factors to consider when deciding on the ideal solution to boost customer experiences include:
- Offer easy-to-use visual tools and rich APIs that both technical and non-technical teams can use to improve and simplify the customer journey—often a key competitive differentiator.
- Lends itself to ongoing customization and customer applications; many customers benefit from this.
- Enable a true omnichannel experience across generations and preferred communications types.
- Understand that AI is meant to augment agent capabilities, not replace them.
- Examine the entire customer experience from a holistic perspective.
- Utilize tools such as AI and ML to reduce costs and improve the customer journey but ensure human presence on the backend.
- Limit resolution time, reduce customer effort and communicate with customers on their preferred channel whenever possible.
- Ensure that the solution being implemented meets the customer’s end goal.