As rapidly advancing technology continues to disrupt the customer service economy, organisations are constantly looking for innovative ways to make the most of digital transformation. Interest in artificial intelligence (AI), customer analytics, automation and other advances is booming across the customer service industry, and changing the way agents interact with consumers.
Some people fear the demise of the human workforce, anticipating replacement by computerisation and bots. However, the truth is that technology has the potential to empower companies and their contact centre employees, enabling them to offer next-level customer support.
According to Forrester, ‘While contact centre job transformations have long been predicted, 2020 is the year that the first real, tangible changes will rear their heads’.
Reduction in Quality Assurance Staff
It has been predicted that throughout 2020, major contact centres will reduce their quality assurance staff by 40%. This is largely due to the development of speech analytics, which means that all calls to contact centres can be evaluated automatically and digitally. By recording customer-company conversations, speech analytics can gather insights and identify how to solve problems much faster than any human could.
However, as one door closes, another one opens. This isn’t a case of staff losing their jobs, but rather the opposite; it allows companies to retrain and shift their agents into new roles. Quality Assurance specialists can be redeployed into other areas, becoming business analysts, data scientists and technicians.
The experience these employees have from interacting with consumers will inevitably come in handy in their new roles. For example, technicians need to ensure that bots retain the ‘human touch’ by training them to display genuine concern for customers’ needs.
The role of AI, Analytics and Automation
AI, analytics and automation can supplement and complement contact centre operations to optimise customer interactions – making them quicker, easier and more fluid. For example, you can count on all three to capture and manage big data, predict customer behaviour and improve self-service. It’s therefore no surprise that, according to Forrester research, only 11% of technology workers are not open to training software systems to enhance their work.
Even so, only 17% of companies say they measure the impact of AI on Customer Experience (CX). Similarly, only 18% are confident that their employees are comfortable working with automation technologies. In 2020, firms need to invest not only in integrating AI, analytics and automation into their contact centres, but also in managing the transition of their workforce to use this new technology and move on to more human-required roles and functions.
Improving Cultural Affinity
Contact centre staff are ultimately representatives of the company they work for – the middleman between the brand and its consumers. Customers associate their experience with a customer service agent with the brand itself, making it crucial for these interactions to go smoothly.
It’s common knowledge that companies need to really know their customer in order to successfully attract and retain them. However, it’s equally important that agents can do the same, given that they are the line of direct communication between the company and its clients.
Customer service agents should be familiar with buyers’ lifestyles, understand their point of view and be able to empathise with them. Consumers want to feel that their voice is truly being heard, and will undoubtedly become frustrated if their problems aren’t properly addressed and effectively solved.
Contact centre employees can unknowingly serve as the biggest obstacles to customer satisfaction. Linguistic barriers, a lack of company knowledge and security and privacy concerns can all prevent an agent from providing exceptional customer service.
Offshore outsourcing is a common source of frustration for customers, and their queries are becoming increasingly complex. To avoid further dissatisfaction and safeguard customer loyalty, organisations must rethink their nearshore and offshore options and counteract the potential cost increases by investing in more efficient technologies to build a more scalable service organisation.
Innovation and Integration
Forrester predicts that US brands will spend $8 billion more on customer service in 2020, focusing on skilled agent retention and employee experience (EX),
such as company culture and training tools. Although digital technology will continue to disrupt telecommunications, people will always remain at the heart of the customer experience.
The key to success in contact centres lies in integrating new tools into customer service processes and empowering agents to embrace these changes, whether by retraining them or making the most of their talents elsewhere in the business. As Five9!’s CEO Rowan Trollape explains, ‘Machines bring mastery and humans bring heart’.
If you’re interested in looking further into the latest trends in customer support, join us at the upcoming CX Innovation Exchange on Wednesday, 25 March in London, at the Curzon Victoria. This lunch-and-learn event will help you enhance your organisation’s customer support by hearing firsthand real-life customer service experiences along with the expertise of industry leaders, Zendesk.
With over 15 years’ experience as technical and consultancy CRM experts, redk aims to support companies seeking to enhance efficiency and profitability through world-class CRM and CX technologies that optimise team performance across organisations. Talk to us to see what we can do for your business.