The role and significance of the contact center has shifted and the way organizations approach their contact center infrastructure must change to align with the new realities of modern customer and employee engagement.
New research from Verint and Five9 reveals organizations are struggling to embrace new customer service realities due to seismic a shift in the nature of the contact center, its role and significance. This necessitates new approaches to customer engagement and the enabling technology required to support these new realities.
The shift that we’ll discuss here is that the contact center is no longer the customer’s first stop for assistance. However, today’s contact center remains the primary repository of customer experience data, collated from a broad range of interaction channels. Organizations must endeavor to aggregate, normalize and activate this data to respond quickly to address customer needs, both in the moment and all throughout the customer’s lifetime.
However, the research finds there are many hurdles standing in the way:
Modern engagement channel usage is growing: social media, live chat, and private messaging now play a major role in customer interactions.
Organizations are overwhelmed by omnichannel interactions and data. Nearly half of the 250 contact center leaders surveyed said managing an increasing volume of customer interactions is one of their biggest challenges.
Of the contact center leaders surveyed, many are struggling to derive insights from data in a number of ways: building a holistic view of a customer’s journey (60%), bringing the data together into one location (46%), deriving meaningful insights (30%), and taking actions based on the data (26%). In addition, larger companies (2,500+ contact center employees) are nearly three times more likely to store engagement data in multiple silos.
Added to these challenges are ongoing issues with talent management – organizations know improving customer experience via an ever-expanding workforce is costly and unsustainable. They need to harness the power of AI and customer experience (CX) automation to improve productivity in contact centers by eliminating time-consuming manual tasks and better managing high volumes of interactions.
What is Open CCaaS?
Given these requirements and challenges, many organizations are rethinking the overall approach to contact center architecture and adopting open systems to provide their organizations with the proper capabilities now and in the future. This is giving birth to a new concept known as Open CCaaS. This is a new take on the well-known term, CCaaS or Contact Center as a Service.
CCaaS was originally developed at a time when most interactions took place via phone, chat, or email. Organizational infrastructure was much simpler then, and customer expectations related to levels of service tended to be lower. A telephony-first, all-in-one, “almost good enough” closed approach with minimal automation capabilities was sufficient. However, this limited the brand’s ability to leverage the power of their data and ability to innovate. Organizations had yet to truly understand the importance and imperative of providing a seamless customer experience across multiple channels. But times have changed.
The basis of Open CCaaS is a platform that is open in all dimensions and is necessary for today’s fast-paced technology environment, to future proof the contact center. Now it’s critical to leverage AI and CX automation at the core to elevate customer experience across channels. By reimagining contact center architecture with an open systems approach, organizations can:
- Unify engagement data to enrich a company’s CX strategies and tactics with real-world insights in real-time.
- Augment the human workforce with an effective team of specialized AI bots to deliver tangible business outcomes and deliver AI to the fingertips of contact center agents, freeing them up to address complex customer needs.
To scale exceptional customer experiences, organizations need a seamless way to make AI and CX automation part of their customer engagement strategy. This ability can be a force-multiplier.
Engagement Data continuously trains AI models and surfaces insights to improve CX automation efforts. As well, organizations now gain a deep understanding of the behaviors of customers, employees and bots, so they can support continuous improvement and organizational pivots as needed.
Effective use of AI, data and automation are revolutionizing the customer engagement landscape; organizations can ill-afford to miss the revolution. With an open approach, organizations can modernize their operations at their own pace and continue to grow as new technologies and innovations become available, all while lowering operating costs and ultimately enabling brands to achieve best-in-class contact center operations.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Singer, global vice president
With more than 25 years’ experience in the Customer Engagement and Customer Experience sector, David Singer is global vice president, go-to-market strategy for Verint.