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What does the Contact Center of the future look like?

Aanya Khanna

Aanya Khanna

What does the Contact Center of the future look like?

Being the most advanced slice of the enterprise communications, the contact center industry has been the early adopter of technologies like conversational AI, sentiment analysis, advanced analytics. As the industry can have big financial impacts especially in terms of cost savings for businesses, it is quick to adopt new technologies. Since the early days where the primary role of the first call centre that emerged was to handle inbound and outbound telephone calls, the industry has evolved.

Moreover, with new channels including emails, social media emerge, the contact center has transformed from just being a telephony solution to becoming a centralised administration hub for all inbound and outbound communications.

With the speed that AI and technology has been revolutionizing the industry, do we know what the contact center of the future will look like?

Well after musing over for a while, the following trends are what immediately springs to mind. Let’s take a look at some of the evolving trends in the industry.

Rise of omnichannel

Earlier viewed as a reactive solution, contact centers are now considered to be a strategic customer engagement tool where stronger relationships can be fostered with customers. As CX emerges to be a key differentiator for businesses, they have started to support a broad new range of digital interactions including social media, live chat, etc. This is because these days the customers are not just using a call to interact but have started adopting various channels to communicate.

It is astonishing to see how some businesses don’t even realise that their customers are talking about them or to them on social media. And for those who are aware, have started using omnichannel experiences in the contact centers. The Covid-19 pandemic has also created intense challenges today and the archaic systems of yesterday cannot handle the rapidly evolving demands of customers today.

This adoption in technology to connect with the customer using their preferred strategy provides additional convenience for the customer and a strong differentiator for the business.

Infusion of AI and automation

Call centers have been leveraging advanced technologies such as first-gen call routing systems for decades. Whether it was call routing systems or IVR that connected customers directly with agents, customers did not seem to be pleased. However AI has changed this. AI allows agents to automate some parts of the customer conversation, giving them the ability to spend more time on assisting customers on complex queries. Conversational AI especially chatbots is one such use-case. A global big four services firm, utilised Samespace Conversational AI to to deploy an effective solution to inform employees about COVID-related workplace rules, HR policies, mental health, and employee benefits. The positive response was immediate and the team witnessed an increase in employee engagement and awareness, more than 2,000 users in the first few weeks, and a decrease in time spent answering repetitive inquiries.

On considering the mundane tasks, the bots can easily replace tasks such as getting customer information, navigating customers to the right area, allowing agents the space to provide better support. Also, considering that bots become intelligent with every conversation, there is a possibility that bots might just completely replace customer agents in a contact center, shares Victor Antonio (Author and Business Consultant).

Likewise, long before the pandemic, companies were struggling to operate effectively and deliver experiences and speedy resolutions. One specific area that hardly got attention was the after call work and call dispositions.

Ask yourself- how many times have you waited to connect to an agent over the phone? I’m sure many times. Long customer wait times are a common source of frustration and did you know that the main reason for such long waiting times are due to data entry?

After-call work takes an average of two minutes. AI and automation especially CSA (Conversational Service Automation) can reduce this after-call work, shorten the average handle time and call waiting duration, while, at the same time, increase agent productivity and efficiency. This happens by bridging the gap between humans and machines as well as back- and front-office operations throughout a customer’s conversation using robotic process automation (RPA), and workflow automation.

Shift towards Cloud

The first wave of CCaas (Contact center as a service) began in the early 2000s where many companies saw the huge opportunity to take a traditional call center software and host it over the internet or the “cloud”. With the maturity of these cloud platforms, many companies have started moving towards the cloud to gain agility, scale and cost benefits, increasing the sheer level of revenue for these companies.

However, while the number of on-premises contact center solutions have drastically dropped, a fraction of customers are still afraid to change and risk their customer experience. And this is where CCaas comes in to break down the silos and offer customers an exceptional experience. Even more, this shift towards migrating onto the cloud is opening the world of remote opportunities, giving agents the flexibility to work anywhere, which means that contact centres may not be office based any more. With easy coaching and monitoring tools, supervisors can also work from mobile locations and monitor agents.

Predictive Behavior Routing

Can you imagine a routing method that takes the personality profiles of the customer as they call in and matches them with agents of similar profiles who are available to take a call? Imagine the satisfaction of a customer who would be connected to a like-minded individual. Game changing isn’t it? AI can help you do that.

Voice Authentication

Tired of answering standard security questions? Well, voice authentication is just the thing you need. While some financial institutions have already adopted this technology, you can expect a boost in this over the next few years. Voice Authentication enhances your customer’s experience by ensuring that they won’t have to go through the verification process with every call because the system will verify their voice for the agent. How? AI-based voice recognition evaluates a person’s biometric voice signature based on previous inputs by analysing their voice patterns like speed, tone, and pitch. Results? Decreased costs, convenience and happy customers.

Redefining CX with IoT

An interesting technology that CX could probably adopt in the future is IoT. IoT brings interconnectivity of devices and enables the possibility of preemptive customer service. Think about, calling out to your speaker to log an issue, and it initiates support via the faulty product, basically helping it fix itself. The problem is fixed before you even realise. By removing the need of the customer to proactively approach the agent, adoption of IoT will help companies take the CX game a step further.

High Fidelity On-net Calls

The idea of real-time audio calls over the internet is not new, most of us use it for personal communication with apps like FaceTime. But contact centers have not been able to take advantage of this game-changing technology due to legacy systems and they still rely on traditional phone networks for business communication. These on-net calls use a highly efficient Wideband audio codec that produces richer and natural sound. The codec is also optimized for transmission over the Internet, it can smartly handle unstable internet connections without compromising the call quality.

Samespace Contact Center solution is Internet native, hence it has all the modern tools right out of the box including Samespace HiFi — The high fidelity web call. Samespace HiFi is revolutionizing the contact center industry by not just providing a HD-audio sound quality to customers but also by eliminating the need to verify caller identity through built in authentication. Finally, by providing a direct line for customers or prospects to connect with the agent at free of cost, expect companies to adopt this technology in a blink of an eye and modernize their communication.

To Sum up

In this rapidly changing world, call centers have evolved from simply answering customer phone calls, to a multitude of different customer contact channels, such as web calls, live chat and video chat, omnichannel customer support. ‍ With technology becoming a dominant part and changes coming in so quickly, companies will have to react quickly. If you’re looking to equip your team with the latest contact center technology such as Conversational AI, sentimental analysis, webcalls and more, discover what Samespace can do for you today.

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