Advances in Contact Center Technology Improve Agents’ Ability to Support Customers
The contact center has long been an important channel to connect to and support customers. According to a market study on the topic of contact center technologies by CCW Digital, it’s become even more valuable since the pandemic. However, evolving consumer behaviors and expectations are forcing companies to rethink the contact center work environment and to reduce the effort customers expend trying to get their questions answered and issues resolved. The question is, how can contact center technology help companies adapt to these changes?
An Ever-Evolving Contact Center Environment
The pandemic accelerated many changes happening in the world today. First, we have more contact center employees working remotely who need quick and easy access to technology and data to support customers. Then, we have evolving customer preferences. Demands for self-service options are growing, but so are demands for agent-led digital interactions (especially to support complex queries). In addition, customers are reaching out to companies through multiple channels, making it more challenging for contact center agents to get a complete picture of their relationship with the customer.
According to the CCW Digital market study, 65% of companies believe the customer experience has become more critical since Covid-19; 63% say the same of the employee experience.
Contact center technology is supposed to empower agents and provide them with the tools and information to help customers. Instead, it’s often preventing them from creating meaningful connections with customers.
In the market study, 91% of contact center leaders say agents need to access multiple screens, dashboards, systems, and databases when handling typical interactions. This number is up from 81% in 2018 despite all the talk of unifying systems. This disjointed agent experience has extended average hold times and led to increasingly frustrated callers.
What’s clear is that as work from home continues, there is increasing importance on having contact center technology solutions that provide remote agents with a seamless experience across a full gamut of channels to have conversations with their customers.
At the same time that agents are interacting in more channels, customers are demanding faster and more personalized experiences. If agents cannot access a 360-degree view of the customer’s experience from a single interface and in real time, they will be unable to rise to the occasion.
Putting the Right Frameworks and Technology in Place
The good news is that the 2022 contact center environment is promising. Companies are extending their technology framework for supporting today’s digital-savvy customers.
Many companies think they are well-prepared technology-wise to support this continually evolving environment. For example, over 60% say their contact center/CX function is either very well-prepared or somewhat prepared to support an omnichannel experience. In addition, 67% are very well-prepared or somewhat prepared to understand and adapt to changing/rising customer demands.
Of course, there is an opportunity for improvement. Fifty-five percent of contact center leaders want to leverage technology to reduce costs or boost productivity. They believe the technology is available to help agents quickly support customers, and there is less tolerance for unnecessary operating costs or inefficient interactions.
Other top goals include reducing agent effort (47%), reducing customer effort (52%), and elevating data and knowledge (45%). These further prove that contact center technology innovation needs to play a bigger role in 2022.
Another interesting finding is the growing importance of convenience. Customers expect a frictionless experience. Therefore, technology that helps the contact center deliver a more seamless, frictionless experience can empower companies to win and retain customers.
It’s also important to note that empathy was selected as the most important quality for contact center agents, along with friendliness, fluency in all channels, the ability to handle different types of interactions, and deal with complex products and processes. Unfortunately, when agents spend most of their time locating data and piecing together a 360-degree customer view, it isn’t easy to be empathic and form meaningful connections with customers.
Finally, agents need to learn how to work with multiple channels and support these complex issues. Along with great coaching and training, technology helps, including solutions that harness the power of AI and provide the much-needed 360-degree customer view.
The Contact Center is Ripe for Innovation
There is a lot of technology available for the contact center today to improve agents’ ability to better support customers. But it can be challenging to know what solution works best for each problem or situation.
Usability for both agents and customers and integration with existing or planned technology were essential features of new contact center technology solutions.
In addition, agents need to be able to uncover meaningful insights about customer demands and preferences. Before the first words are exchanged between the agent and customer, they need to know them. Who are they? What do they value? What are they trying to achieve when interacting with your brand? What do they experience throughout the journey?
Data analytics solutions allow companies to acquire, analyze, and operationalize this intelligence with unprecedented ease and accuracy. When companies unify their systems and databases, integrate their operations, and deploy modern, AI-driven analytics suites, they can instantly acquire a “single source of truth” about the individual customers and their journeys.
How Treasure Data Can Help
The past two years have revealed how dramatically lifestyles, preferences, demands, and behaviors can change. What customers valued yesterday might be completely different than what they want today. Providing agents with the best real-time information will allow them to embrace this change and strengthen customer and agent connections.
Treasure Data’s CDP for Service empowers agents to create these exceptional experiences no matter where they work. It surfaces a single view of the customer in the contact center or customer service application that shows not only the customer’s purchase history but things like recent browsing history on the website and engagement in the mobile application. Along with the single customer view, data is turned into actionable insights with Real-Time AI Agent Assist to recommend the next best action, predict lifetime value (LTV), likelihood to churn, and suggest opportunities to personalize the conversation.
The reality is the cost of fragmentation in the contact center, any fragmentation, is becoming exponentially more significant and costly. With actionable insight into specific customer preferences, intentions, and sentiments, companies can deliver more personalized and relevant engagements.