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Article : Leveraging AI to Understand the Omnichannel Customer Journey

#contactcenterworld, @redboxrecorders

Author: Richard Stevenson, Chief Executive Officer, Red Box

While it may seem obvious to say, understanding the customer journey is of paramount importance to businesses. While many are cognisant of this, the dynamic and rapidly evolving nature of customer behaviours makes doing so a complex task, with many failing to have adequate insight into their customers’ journeys.

It’s imperative, therefore, to keep up with changing behaviours, and businesses must have real-time visibility into their customer journey in order to do this. The million dollar question is simply: how? We are starting to see businesses manifest their answer to this question in three key ways:

  1. An increased adoption and implementation of sophisticated AI and analytics solutions

  2. A shift from a multichannel to an omni-channel strategy

  3. An increased emphasis on and capture of AI-ready voice data to fuel the aforementioned AI and analytics solutions

Transforming the contact centre

Of course, a key way many businesses interact with their customers is through call centres. Unfortunately, call centres are still host to friction points which have traditionally provided little insight into the customer journey.

This, coupled with a shift in customer expectations ushered in by technological innovation, has added increased pressure for organisations to adopt new technologies that enable customers to engage with brands in the way they choose. More so than ever before, customers are able to switch to rival providers with ease so for businesses to retain or achieve a competitive edge, they must eliminate friction between channels and create a seamless experience.

What we expect to see as a means of combating this is a greater adoption of an omnichannel strategy.

"Omnichannel customer experience hubs bring together customer interactions across multiple platforms, from phone calls (which provide rich voice data to be analysed and provide further insight) to social media. These hubs use the power of analytics, AI and machine learning to see emerging customer problems and identify the best solutions. This is transformational for the customer experience, as well as employee efficiency and productivity." Comments Shameem Smillie, Mitel.

To put this into context, imagine a scenario you’ve no doubt experienced: an inability to resolve an issue over chat or with a voicebot, followed by an overly lengthy and ultimately underwhelming call where you’re forced to repeat all of your account ID details and reexplain the issue you’re experiencing. A standard multichannel approach saw the conversation split across various funnels, wasting precious time for both you and the organisation you’re dealing with.

By contrast, an omnichannel approach allows you to switch seamlessly from live chat to voice call providing the agent with all of the relevant background information and enabling them to get to the resolution faster. This enables a deeper understanding of the customer, reduced customer effort, shorter call times and an overall reduction of the cost per contact.

Customers should be able to start their journey on one channel and end it on another, whilst ensuring that any agent engaging with them is informed. "Businesses that are eliminating friction as a priority are elevating their customer experiences, and their own bottom line," explains Shameem.

Choosing the right tools

Operating concurrently with an omnichannel strategy should be the adoption of AI and analytics solutions. One such tool is high quality automatic speech recognition. "Organisations are looking increasingly to drive higher value human interactions with agents in the call centre, whilst moving simpler, routine tasks to self-serve online portals or chatbots," explains Pete Ellis, Red Box CPO.

With high quality audio, metadata and accurate speech to text transcriptions, AI can provide real-time and post call analysis of conversations to derive context, meaning and actionable insights from AI-based voice analytics. Identifying, for example, points of frustration for customers; when customers drop off; and how staff are reacting with difficult calls. The data can also be amalgamated with other data sources for a unified insight across all channels and alongside operational data, providing increased efficiencies and leading to the implementation of better practices, and better training for staff.

The use of automation also enables the contact centre to process and monitor a greater volume of calls compared to a solely human team, who are naturally limited in their capacity. Not only does processing a greater volume of calls bring with it obvious operational benefits, but also teams leads or compliance officers are alerted to specific calls or communications that require greater attention or review.

AI-Ready voice data

To successfully implement an omnichannel approach - which is to say, to take advantage of the rich insights and data provided - businesses must place an emphasis on capturing high quality audio data from across the customer journey, alongside other communication and operational data. The capture and access of voice data is imperative in successfully leveraging AI initiatives, something supported by a recent KPMG report*

Having reliable access to conversations being captured across any given organisation isn’t commonplace. Research has shown that less than half (49%) of organisation-wide conversations are being captured**, suggesting limitations with current call recording solutions and set up.

86% of organisations also stated that an open API approach is pivotal to their voice strategies enabling them to feed voice data into tools and applications of their choice (such as CRM, compliance, business intelligence, AI and analytics tools, or even custom-built applications) and crucially not tying them to one provider. Yet, only 8% of those surveyed say their voice data is easily accessible for fuelling AI engines and analytics, so data sovereignty also appears to be an issue.

Businesses across multiple sectors that are faced with similar challenges are undoubtedly looking into alternative and effective call recording solutions that will underpin their AI initiatives.

Conclusion

As cliché as it may be, a new decade will usher in new tools, new strategies, and new building blocks that businesses will put at their heart of their CX strategy.

The technology - from the AI solutions to the voice capture that enables them - is now at a stage where it is sophisticated, inexpensive and easy to implement. Previous barriers to entry are no longer the hindrance they once were.

It is now up to businesses to make the critical decisions that will define the start of their next decade.

#contactcenterworld, @redboxrecorders


About Richard Stevenson:
Since joining the company in 2016 I have worked to ensure Red Box continues to expand its global footprint and drive to develop solutions to meet the needs of customers. Having worked in the software and financial services sectors for over twenty years my track record is in leading transformation and innovation. Working with a variety of business, ranging from FTSE 100 companies to start ups, my global experience spans the USA, South Africa, Hong Kong and Germany.

About Red Box:
Company LogoRed Box Recorders provides software-based voice and data recording solutions.
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