Guest blog by Charanya Kannan, Chief Product and Engineering Officer at Talkdesk
Charanya Kannan, chief product and engineering officer at Talkdesk, explains why contact centres are an essential part of any CX strategy.
Gone are the days when contact centres offered limited functionality and mostly played a minor, supporting role in a business’ operations. We’ve entered a new era in which modern contact centres can provide tangible business results and differentiation through more efficient, personalised and connected interactions. New solutions and capabilities are allowing businesses of every size and kind to streamline services, create unified experiences across channels and elevate CX to a competitive advantage.
Thanks to cloud-based applications, artificial intelligence (AI) and omni-channel capabilities, contact centres are becoming the hub for unifying the customer journey and collecting insights across today’s multi-channel environments. Transforming into a strategic asset, they’re able to map interactions and deliver customised, ‘in the moment’ experiences that remain consistent, even as an interaction or conversation moves from one channel to another. In a world where consumer choices and expectations continue to grow with the availability of more digital options and channels, the CX revolution is the contact centre’s opportunity to shine.
Look no further than the retail industry, where consumers frequently engage with retailers through a variety of channels, but not necessarily in a seamless manner. One common challenge for retailers is that brick-and-mortar and online retail experiences are evolving separately, making it difficult to connect the dots to capture a complete real-time view of the customer and ensure consistent interactions throughout the journey.
The findings of a recent report on the CX revolution in retail illustrate the need for a better way to harmonise these engagements for fast, accurate, cross-channel service, and make better use of the rich insights gained by doing so. According to the research, nearly half of retail customers said they don’t believe that retailers can deliver excellent experiences completely digitally. Moreover, 58 per cent described their last retail experience as lacking in personalisation.
Closing the gap in perception between what consumers believe and what is actually possible with the latest technology is now top of mind for many retailers, as they work to replace siloed legacy systems with advanced contact centre technologies that can tie channels, customer service teams, and data together to dramatically improve CX.
The research additionally found that only 19 per cent of retailers have deployed purely cloud-based contact centres, although 86 per cent are considering migrating their systems in the next two years. Similarly, while only a third of retailers said they are currently leveraging AI, that number is expected to increase in the next two years as well, at a projected growth rate of around 84 per cent. The pandemic has undoubtedly fuelled this change, driving the need for solutions that can be implemented quickly, scaled just as fast, and accessed from anywhere, including when agents work from home.
Besides offering greater speed and flexibility, cloud contact centres can easily serve as valuable repositories for customer data, uncovering preferences and habits, and revealing useful customer feedback on products and services. Once an individual case is closed, for example, the lifespan of that information need not end. With AI, analytics, and integrations with customer relationship management systems, it can be drawn from to create a mosaic of the customer to inform CX strategies and other initiatives. CX professionals strongly agree on the value of such intelligence with eight out of 10 indicating they would like to see more insights from their current contact centre solution.
AI and automation are also making contact centres much more efficient. Routine tasks can be automated, allowing customers to self-serve. This frees up agents to focus on more complicated requests, manage inquiries requiring greater empathy, or engage in cross-sell/up-sell opportunities.
Contact centres can also now take advantage of human-in-the-loop technology, which removes the barrier for organisations, especially smaller businesses, to adopt AI. No coding and no data scientists required. Agents themselves can become AI expert trainers using their own product and customer knowledge. In fact, technology is available today that can be used to automate 80% of contact centre interactions.
With so many technology innovations at the ready, the modern contact centre is proving its mettle, emerging as a strategic resource that can equip any business to not only lead in the CX revolution, but also swiftly adapt to whatever lies ahead.
Click here to find out more about Talkdesk’s cloud-based contact centre and AI solutions.