Article : How to win the digital customer experience race
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Before heading off to ICUC 2017 at NICE Interactions – the largest contact center event in the US – inContact partner, IMImobile, looks at some of the challenges contact centers around the world are facing in the "digital transformation era" and how they can be overcome.
We live in astounding and complex times. It takes a dedicated specialist to keep on top of even a fairly narrow field because the pace of change and speed of digital innovation is so fast.
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Content continues ….Running a contact center, customer service center, or customer experience program is no different. The array of disciplines – resourcing, planning, learning and development, telecoms, IT and cloud, branding, marketing, digital to name just a few – needed to deliver what today’s customers are demanding is dizzying, and unlikely to be found in one person or even one organization.
Change brings challenges
About the only thing that’s constant in business today is change – and even the pace of that is accelerating. Customer-serving operations are facing tremendous change, driven by both customer demands and the continuing digital transformation of business and society.
Some of the most important challenges customer experience professionals are now facing include:
- How to differentiate customer experience and support omnichannel interaction?
- How to build and orchestrate omnichannel customer experiences without replacing existing IT infrastructure?
- How the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and chatbots will shape the contact center of the future?
- How to empower your agents and workforce with the right tools to allow them to deliver better customer service in the digital world?
While some of these have been around for a long time, others are new, but even the familiar challenges take on new flavors when digital technology is introduced.
For example, what constituted a reasonable amount of time to respond 2 to 5 years ago has considerably shrunk in our instant gratification, social media-driven world.
Going digital is easy, doing it right is not
There is almost universal acceptance by businesses of the need to meet customers on their new digital stamping grounds. This requires omnichannel rather than multichannel, customer experience that is proactive and customized, and automation to speed things up at the front end.
In the latest Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report, DDH identifies 2017 as the changeover year between telephone-focused customer experience, and digital-focused CX. The report tellingly warns that "there is a growing gap emerging between those committing to digitizing their CX to the standards expected by modern/evolving customer types, versus those procrastinating on when and how to make their move."
You will find, at ICUC 2017 and other events worldwide, an enormous number of vendors promoting solutions to all the above challenges, and more besides. Solving problems is what business is all about after all.
From a technology point of view you need to make an assessment which parts of your own stack need adjustment - whether you require additional telco channels, want to move your stack into the cloud to become more agile or whether you need to fill gaps with best-of-breed solutions. This is necessary as while many contact centers share the same challenges, what specifically needs to be done to address them is unique for each company. There is no one size fits all, especially when it comes to digital.
Integration is the elephant in the room
So how do you get your chosen digital stack components to work together in the most efficient way?
While many companies are able to identify cost savings and isolated improvements in KPI’s from even limited digital investments, the Global Benchmarking Report shows that a lack of senior management coordination and technological integration is to blame for overall disappointing performance. For example, only 13% self-rate their CX delivery at 9/10 or higher, and only 10% consider their digital strategy to be optimized.
What’s holding contact centers back is the difficulty in using technology to efficiently create simple, differentiated user journeys that engage and connect customers with their brand across all channels.
Achieving this implies not only operational involvement and the digitization of business processes, but also the integration of technologies along the company’s value chain, from front to back office.
In the contact center itself, digital channels need to be integrated with routing, CRM, and workforce optimization software, and everything has to be enriched with advanced data analytics. This is the digital contact center; a level of integration of technologies and processes that the vast majority of organizations are still striving for.
Beyond integration comes orchestration
What’s missing, in many cases, is a "conductor" to get everything working together as efficiently as possible, including disparate systems. A company like our own, a specialist in digital channel orchestration through our Platform-as-a-Service – IMIconnect – provides an orchestration layer between channels and contact center systems, helping companies take significant strides towards a fully integrated digital customer experience.
In addition to enabling users to easily add channels to their existing platforms, it includes pre- and post-contact triggers for integrating surveys and other follow-up actions into customer interactions, as well as enterprise-grade AI-powered chatbots for customer service that can also be connected to other voice and digital channels for smooth hand-offs between live agent and automated channels.
We look forward to attending ICUC 2017 in Las Vegas and expect through our new partnership with inContact to provide contact centers with digital and customer service automation capabilities to help to transform customer experiences and integrate new one-to-one messaging channels to meet the brand’s digital CX goals.
To find out more about our platform capabilities, come and see us at ICUC 2017 at NICE Interactions in Las Vegas from May 8th to May 10th, 2017.
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About Matt Hooper:
Matt Hooper, SVP Global Marketing at IMImobile, is an experienced senior enterprise software marketer and general manager, with over 20 years in international marketing, customer experience, product management and business development. He joined IMImobile in 2015 from cloud compliance SaaS provider Cognia. Prior to that he worked with Boston-based Lavastorm Analytics, MDS, Colibria and as a founding executive of service delivery platform pioneer Elata. Matt has also held senior roles at Qualcomm, HP, BT Global, Orange and Parametric Technology. He is a chartered marketer.
IMImobile is a cloud communications software and solutions provider that enables companies to harness mobile and digital technologies to better communicate and engage with their customers. Organisations that trust us to deliver smarter digital customer engagement solutions include Vodafone Group, O2, Telefonica, Aircel, Airtel, EE, AT
Published: Thursday, May 4, 2017
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