Many of the digital capabilities available in the contact centre fall under the broad heading of Omni-Channel. Omni-Channel is an approach that seeks to create a seamless customer experience, whether it is online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, or in a bricks-and-mortar outlet.
The four key digital capabilities of this omni-channel approach are as follows:
Social Media Integration – Historically organisations would focus on social media as a listening tool to passively gather data from the market to learn how trends and preferences were changing moment-to-moment. However, over recent years the capability to tap into and serve customers more effectively using social channels has been significantly developed to a point where social media can now be a sales or customer service channel in its own right.
Chatbot - A chatbot is a piece of artificial intelligence (AI) software that can simulate a conversation (or a chat) with a user in natural language through messaging applications, websites, mobile apps or through the telephone. Chatbot applications streamline interactions between people and services, enhancing customer experience. At the same time, they offer organisations new opportunities to improve the customer engagement process and operational efficiency by reducing the typical costs of customer service.
Machine Learning – The interaction between an organisation’s representatives and its customers is a crucial area for customer success. A typical contact centre receives thousands of calls, emails, webchats etc. every day. To help correlate, analyse, produce real-time business insights, and dynamic business processes, organisations are implementing machine learning solutions to automate and orchestrate their contact centre operations.
One use case for machine learning is to reduce call volumes by eliminating the need for customers to call at all. An example of this could be a network fault for a telecommunications company. By analysing voice / speech patterns, emotions and words from incoming calls, machine learning can identify:
- that there is an issue (anger or irritation based on tone of voice)
- what the issue might be (“slow line speed” or “no reception”)
- where it might be (based on the caller’s location)
By analysing an influx of calls and identifying these types of patterns, machine learning could kick off a notification to technical support to notify them of the issue, and enable the contact centre to send out a pre-emptive SMS to subscribers in the affected area, or post a message on Twitter / Facebook to let them know that they are aware of the issue and are working on having it resolved.
Personalised experiences – Treating a customer as a person and not a number is increasingly becoming a key success criterion for many contact centre operations. Key to being successful in this space is being able to capture and correlate data across all channels and use that data to enhance the customer experience. One of the biggest challenges for organisations is bringing together offline and online data to deliver the omni-channel experience. Both a collaborative process and a capable data management platform is required to ensure data can be captured, stored and accessed securely and consistently by the contact centre operation.