As more companies look to install contact center functionality as a service (CCaaS), the key to success will be to view it as a human support tool rather than a human replacement tool.
Cloud-based CCaaS applications manage and track customer journeys and employee interactions, as well as other inbound or outbound customer communications. They are also deploying technological tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to improve the customer experience.
Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of security and collaboration at Cisco, explained that these services help eliminate friction for the user while providing the agent with important customer information.
This “mixed mode” of human interaction paired with AI can go a long way to improving an experience that many customers find annoying and time-consuming.
“What you need is a bot smart enough to say, ‘Let me connect you with an agent who can answer this question for you.’ And that connection to the agent needs to be seamless. “said Patel.
He explained that a key factor is ensuring that the CCaaS platform can support an omnichannel experience, where customers have the ability to engage in multiple places.
“You should be able to get help from any of these social networks or communication channels, and if there’s a need for a human, it transfers immediately and seamlessly to a human,” Patel said. “This platform should be viewed as a human support tool rather than a human replacement tool.”
Related article: 4 reasons why the call center should be omnichannel
AI propels CCaaS into the future
Patel sees automation and AI taking CCaaS in an even more proactive direction in the future, where customers can be alerted to issues before they are personally aware of them.
“The way to think about this whole experience isn’t just what happens when someone calls and goes through a plethora of menu items to connect to someone and then have them forwarded three times – that’s not is not the way to success,” he said.
From his perspective, the path to success with CCaaS means becoming proactive, anticipating issues, and ensuring the customer can engage across multiple channels based on their preferences and priorities.
Gayathri Krishnamurthy, associate vice president of product marketing at RingCentral, called AI the “next wave” for the contact center, helping to drive intelligence in both the customer and agent journey.
According to Krishnamurthy, artificial intelligence can identify intent, provide guidance, offer predictions and be proactive, all before a customer or employee needs something.
“Our customers can leverage artificial intelligence with open APIs that integrate with AI engines, natural language platforms, and machine learning technology, giving them the ability to integrate with various bot providers in the market.”
AI finds use in bots, coaching agents, updating CRM records
Krishnamurthy explained that RingCentral sees many use cases for AI, from customer-facing bots that help people self-service to agent-facing bots that can deliver the right knowledge to an employee in real time.
“There’s also more interest and investment in the operational side of the house with smart routing, mapping the personalities of specific agents to talk to certain customers,” she continued.
Krishnamurthy said she sees automation as more of an efficiency game and a great cost lever to eliminate repetitive and mundane operations, giving back a few hours of the day to an agent or supervisor.
“We are seeing automation on the agent side of the house, based on RPA (robotic process automation) technology where some of the mundane activities of updating records in CRM and other systems are taken over by robots. automation,” she added.
The future CCaaS will offer mobile, IVR and augmented reality
According to Krishnamurthy, other technologies will contribute to the evolution of CCaaS in 2022 and beyond, including mobile knowledge, mobile self-service, mobile interactive voice response (IVR) and video applications such as augmented reality and Virtual.
Cisco’s Patel emphasized that continuity of interaction is at the heart of any successful CCaaS deployment. When the client needs to switch from one channel to another, there should be no loss of context.
For example, if a customer switches from a website chatbot to a phone call, the contact center agent shouldn’t have to ask for the customer’s account information again.
Patel noted that there are still a host of technical challenges with integrating omnichannel contact center services, but says boardroom attitudes towards contact centers are changing to recognize a holistic experience. , which can have a “huge impact” on brand loyalty.
“Cost cutting can’t be your primary motivator,” Patel warned. “The mentality should be to drive the best experience. As you do that, of course you want to keep a level of efficiency in mind. But don’t drive it with the idea of eliminating humans and keeping the AI inside I think you will find this to be a very disappointing experience.
Related Article: How Contact Center Automation Drives More Than Cost Reduction Measures
The future of AI in CCaaS deployment will deliver a seamless omnichannel experience, a feat that will improve customer and employee satisfaction rates. As new challenges will eventually arise, this technology is set to change the state of digital marketing forever.