The future of contact centers: omnichannel and customer experience

    Platon Begun, Head of CTI Contact Center

    Our brother-IT specialist is always in the creative development process. CTI developers, for example, are now actively working on a new product - an omnichannel chat platform to optimize the work of contact centers . In this article we want to tell you why new solutions are created in the field of CC and what requirements they must meet, what are the trends. It is by trends in a particular area that one can predict which solutions and developments will be in demand, which will appear on the market in the near future.

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    Key trends: omnichannel, automation and cloud technology


    Contact centers that do not learn how to serve customers through a variety of communication channels will leave the market in the coming years, analysts say. Along with traditional telephones and e-mail, customers are increasingly seeking services through chat rooms, social networks and instant messengers. They expect that they will be able to communicate with operators in exactly this familiar way.



    35% of clients access CC through the Web; according to forecasts, this year 17% more customers will use the self-service functions in the KC; the number of customers using more than 4 channels will increase by 35%; while solving complex issues, 51% of customers prefer voice communications (according to Genesis, 2016).

    This is especially true for Generation Y: young people aged 17 to 35 are more and more willing to choose digital channels as the means of communication - the fastest, most convenient and familiar ways of communication. They are used to always being in touch, constantly sending and receiving messages. In the same way, customers want to interact with companies: contact the operator and receive an answer in the most convenient way for them.



    The most commonly used channels for contacts: mobile communications, email, followed by SMS, social networks and the Web. Such data are provided by resolution.cement.com .

    Meanwhile, the business processes of contact centers are traditionally built for voice service, and now companies are forced to follow trends and introduce new ways of communication with customers. The new generation of communication centers should provide all types of services through different communication channels, be able to maintain the context of the request when changing the contact channel (which allows the contact center employee to easily transfer communication with the customer from one channel to another), use the latest technologies to personalize interaction with the client, possess intellectual functions for prioritizing calls, for example, for sending priority requests to the most experienced employees of the company.



    ContactBabel recently interviewed more than 220 contact center managers and found that 63% of them still consider the phone to be the best means of communication in case of complaints. Although the popularity of digital channels is growing, the phone still accounts for 57.7% of customer contacts.

    According to Aberdeen, companies that have already gained some experience with omnichannel customer support in 87% of cases solve problems from the first call, while the average is only 59%. In 2017, contact centers will offer consumers an average of 9 support channels.



    Modern CC is a complex, multicomponent system that requires serious work on the integration of its constituent subsystems (according to Genesys).

    In practice, alternative channels are often poorly integrated with the main “voice” platform of the contact center and perform only reference or information functions.



    The main factors that determine the choice in favor of “digital” KC by customers: customer experience, cost reduction, increasing employee productivity, reducing business costs and scalability (according to crmsolutions.crmnext.com ).

    Another important trend is the widespread use of automation and self-service. Automation of omnichannel service, which has been actively introduced in the CC in the last two years, will make it possible to more widely use digital channels and unify the processes of omnichannel customer service.

    Automated self-service systems provide many customers with the opportunity to independently resolve the issue, while others can quickly connect with the most qualified specialists. “Virtual agents” are able to respond not only to the simplest and most understandable requests from a programmed sequence of answers, but can use artificial intelligence algorithms for more complex communication.



    The main factors that determine the use of KC by customers: ease of use, quick access, time saving, constant availability, intuitive interfaces, “ customer focus ” (according to crmsolutions.crmnext.com ).

    At the same time, contact centers are more focused on the consumer, on the client. The former, traditional indicators and KPI are no longer enough to really assess the work of KC, operators, and outline areas for improvement. You need to monitor and control such indicators as customer satisfaction, time to answer, resolution of the issue on the first call, percentage of dropped calls and call costs. According to Fonolo, 59% of business executives surveyed consider customer satisfaction as the most important indicator of a contact center.

    The tendency of “customer orientation” is also manifested in the development of contact center functionality, which allows reducing the number of missed calls, reducing the client's waiting time in the call queue, and increasing the proportion of issues resolved in one call. Modern contact centers automatically provide operators with information about the caller, keep a history of calls and provide other information to quickly and respond to a request.



    The preferred channels of contacting the company for banks / financial organizations and e-commerce: telephone / SMS, e-mail, Web chat, social media. Such data are provided by crmsolutions.crmnext.com .

    Traditional CCs are also beginning to experience strong competition from cloud services. More and more companies are turning to the cloud to solve customer service problems, preferring cloud services to software and hardware solutions hosted on their site. Modern technologies are better, more flexible, and easier to scale than traditional products. And in a difficult or unstable economic situation, cloud contact centers become a convenient and profitable solution to minimize risks and translate capital costs into operating expenses.

    As in the whole world, the most active cloud contact centers in Russia use retail, banks and other financial institutions. Cloud solutions are in demand, for example, in organizations engaged in consumer lending - due to the fact that they avoid the cost of creating their own CCs.

    Nearly 30% of Aberdeen study participants using contact centers in different countries plan to move to the cloud model. According to statistics, the use of cloud-based contact centers can increase by 57% the Client Retention Rate, increase customer satisfaction by 12.6%, the success of the first interaction (First Contact Resolution) - by 4.6%, and the productivity of operators - by 4.3%. It is possible to significantly increase the efficiency of work with incoming applications while reducing the transaction costs of the CC.

    Studying customer experience in the process of communication with the company


    Customer Experience (Customer Experience) is of paramount importance in the field of customer service, and this applies to a wide variety of industries. For example, market research suggests that in the banking / financial sector, getting a lower interest on loans or a higher interest on deposits is not as important for a client as the quality of service.

    Clients demand from companies timely and high-quality solutions to their problems, with minimal effort on their part.



    The company may not know why it has lost a customer. But the reason is simple: the client is not satisfied with the quality of service, or he encounters any difficulties or obstacles in the process of communicating with the company. As a result, he simply goes to competitors. According to statistics, on average, companies annually lose up to 10% of customers, and the cost of finding new ones is five times higher than the cost of retaining existing ones.

    Today, customers interact with business through many channels. They can use social networks, email, ask questions by phone or chat. To ensure customer satisfaction, each channel should work on a common positive experience.



    Preferred (left) and expected (right) customer communication channels. Current preferences: phone number on the company's website, e-mail mail, chat, online help, mobile application, virtual assistant. Expected: telephone, email support mail, website, chat, physical point of sale, mobile application, virtual assistant, social media. InContact / Harris Poll Survey Data

    Studying the experience of communication with the client allows us to identify flaws in business processes and correct them in time. For this we need analytical systems with developed functionality.



    To understand that customer needs are met and their expectations are met, accurate information, a clear understanding of the situation and control over the process are needed.

    Contact center today is an important point of communication with customers. With properly built business processes for analyzing customer experience and monitoring customer satisfaction, invaluable information can be obtained to improve service processes.

    According to Dimension Data, 82% of companies consider customer experience to be one of the main competitive differences, 75% of respondents are sure that analytics can improve work efficiency, but 49.3% do not apply knowledge about customers outside the contact center. Only 34.2% of specialists use analytics to personalize services, and only 23% implement customer experience based on analytics.



    The life cycle of customer experience (according to Informa, 2017).

    According to Gartner analysts, in 2018, due to technology and personalized service, the total cost of business operations will decrease by almost a third. Effective companies will conduct research and develop new technologies to reduce customer service costs. Those companies that will be able to provide the fastest, most comfortable customer experience will win.

    Implementation of a unified biometric customer identification system


    In this area of ​​Russia does not lag behind world trends. Distinguish such methods of biometric identification of the client as a fingerprint, a scan of the retina and drawing veins of the palm. Here are some pros (left) and cons (left) of popular biometric identification technologies:

    Voice recognition
    + Contactless technology, a small percentage of false recognition
    - External noise makes identification difficult

    Fingerprint scanning
    + Modern fingerprint scanners are reliable enough to recognize
    - Scanners can be “tricked"

    Recognition by iris
    + Extremely low probability of false recognition
    - There are difficulties in the case of contact lenses, the iris changes with age. The scanner is an expensive and not very convenient device to use.

    This mainly concerns banks: after the delivery of their data, the client will be able to receive services remotely. In the future, the system may be used in other industries.



    If a unified biometric base for Russians appears, then a legislative base will be created that will allow the use of biometric methods in customer identification processes during remote servicing, including in contact centers.

    The Ministry of Communications has already approved the concept and the roadmap for creating a Unified Biometric System in Russia. According to media reports, in 2018, Russian banks will begin the full-fledged implementation of a unified biometric customer identification system. After that, it can be used in medicine, education and retail. The date of full launch of the system in 2018 will depend on the willingness of banks and the legal framework.


    Technology in KC - what's new?


    So to summarize. Technology in KC follows global trends. Many companies are already introducing or are planning to introduce omnichannel services, as well as technologies for analyzing large volumes of unstructured data collected from various sources (Big data). Big data analytics help quantify customer experience and draw valuable insights into shaping a company's communications strategy with customers.

    There is growing interest in technologies that allow you to organize remote self-service processes. Companies are interested in such solutions, but so far they are mainly exploring the possibilities of their application in business processes of customer service, although there are already examples of successful implementations.

    The focus is simplicity and convenience for users. What is convenient for the client will be in demand by the market.

    When constructing CC in companies, we are faced with the need to introduce omnichannel services that are in demand on the market. We offer ready-made solutions from Western vendors, but there is a certain shortage of universal technologies applicable on the platform of any KC. Therefore, now we are developing our own product that meets the functional requirements of our customers (including banks) and their needs - CTI Omni. This is a solution that will automate omnichannel service business processes, regardless of which voice platform KC is installed in the organization.

    It ensures the fulfillment of a wide range of tasks related to receiving and processing applications, attracting new partners and customers, improving the quality of customer service, increasing their level of loyalty and satisfaction and, as a result, increasing the company's profitability. Users of the service have the opportunity to focus on business, and not on solving technical issues.



    The main idea of ​​CTI Omni is to give contact center users the opportunity to get access to all services, regardless of the contact channel to the CC, and companies to predict the behavior of their customers.

    Nowadays, there are practically no solutions on the market that have the same developed functions for processing digital channels as telephone communication in voice contact centers, and existing developments require the owners of CCs to completely change their voice platform. As a result, the organization of omnichannel services requires significant costs. CTI

    experts themselves decided to create a technology that meets modern customer requirements and allows you to integrate the omnichannel concept into an existing CC. This solution creates additional opportunities to increase sales, allows you to increase customer and customer loyalty to the brand, and take into account individual preferences of customers.

    The benefits and advantages for customers are obvious - they can get better remote and remote service. This increases the convenience of access to company services, saves time and provides quality service.

    In the omnichannel CC concept, knowledge management is of great importance. When using knowledge bases, self-service mechanisms for customers become more effective, the processing time of calls is reduced, and the cost of service is reduced. In addition, the knowledge base supports marketing and sales, and also provides access to the correct information not only to the operators of the CC, but also to all employees of the organization.

    The future of KC - what the market expects


    As always, from a general point of view, the KC market is waiting for solutions that will improve the quality of customer service, the security of remote services and at the same time will be able to optimize the costs of KC for customer service.

    A few years ago, in order to, for example, get a loan, you had to spend time in line, and now you only need a mobile application, after-sales service by phone or just chat.

    If we talk about contact centers, then we can say that :

    1. Omni-channel service will allow bringing customer service processes to a higher level, meeting customer expectations and increasing their loyalty.
    2. The national biometric platform will become an incentive to introduce technologies for biometric identification of clients in remote servicing, increase the security of access to services and speed up the process of remote identification of clients by contact center operators, and will help fight fraud in the financial sector.
    3. Data analysis systems for measuring such vital indicators for customer service as the customer’s path and customer experience will allow organizations to obtain the necessary information to improve service processes and build a loyal customer base.
    4. Improving the "intelligence" of self-service systems will allow contact centers to automate standard referral service procedures and improve their perception by customers.

    Thanks to contact centers of the next generation, built on the basis of the most modern technologies and the best world practices, it is possible to qualitatively improve the level of customer service and to reach a new level of manageability of CC resources.

    The next stage in the evolution of contact centers will allow us to rise to a new level of customer service.

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