Tony Iero

6 Essential Technologies for Today’s Contact Center

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As people turn to self-service for account management and simple tasks, contact centers will spend more time working with customers at crucial touchpoints, such as when they need help with a product or during the sales process. If those key moments are handled badly, people will go elsewhere.

Fortunately, according to thinkJar research, 85% of customer churn due to poor service is preventable. In fact, with a good service strategy and the right technology, the contact center can step up as a primary channel for building loyalty and satisfaction.

Single Customer View

Modern consumers expect companies to know them and anticipate their needs. But with service and information dished out over emails, phone, website, texts, and social media, it’s impossible to understand anybody’s experience with your brand without a single customer view (SCV).

SCV systems pull interactions from multiple channels, analyze the data and bring it all together in one user interface. When people call in, agents have their account information, purchasing patterns, interests and media preferences. They can pick up where other channels left off.

Personalization supported by SCV improves customer experience by lowering the effort it takes to engage. Customers don’t have to repeat their history at each touchpoint. They feel you understand them, which increases loyalty and improves retention. And the data helps representatives know when to offer new products or upgrades.

Intelligent Routing

Intelligent routing uses CRM data, interaction history, caller intent and any other relevant information to send each customer to the best representative. Without intelligent routing, callers could be sent to the wrong person and end up in a cold transfer. People get frustrated and may abandon the call or even the company.

Intelligent routing supports business goals as well. Callers at risk of churn can go to retention specialists and high-value customers can connect with special teams trained to handle major accounts.

Dynamic IVR

Unlike traditional interactive voice response (IVR) systems, dynamic IVR adjusts the call flow depending on context or other information, such as CRM details, phone number or call tracking data. For example, if a customer phoned recently about a payment problem, the IVR can offer the billing department as an early menu option, reasoning that the caller may need follow-up.

Dynamic IVR lowers the time it takes consumers to reach a human, one of the biggest contributors to customer satisfaction.  When combined with SCV and intelligent routing, dynamic IVR can also direct callers to product specialists based on recent web browsing. Customers experience shorter calls, more personalized service and faster resolutions, which deepens their loyalty and saves you money.

Live Chat

Live chat offers a way around the phone queue. It’s especially useful for people browsing the website who have a question about product details, usage or support.

People love chat, which, according to Econsultancy research, has a customer satisfaction rating of 73%. And for businesses, chat increases efficiency while improving sales conversions. One representative can support several customers over chat vs. one over the phone. And shoppers are more likely to purchase if they can ask a quick question or two beforehand.

Scheduled Callbacks

One of the simplest and most powerful technologies in contact centers today is callback technology like VHT Callback. When the queue is long, companies offer the option of scheduling a time for a call back. Customers can get off the hold line and be connected directly to an agent when it’s most convenient for them.

Scheduled callbacks improve CX by lowering wait times and taking the pressure off agents to handle calls quickly. Instead of frustration on hold, people get a personal appointment with an agent who knows what they need.

For the business, callbacks improve efficiency by smoothing out the work load. Agents are neither overwhelmed nor underutilized when incoming volume shifts unpredictably.

Artificial Intelligence

The most cutting edge of contact center technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), can help all these systems do their jobs better. AI comes in two general flavors, natural language processing and machine learning.

Natural language systems analyze text or recordings for key words or phrases that indicate what a customer needs and how they’re feeling. Chatbots powered by AI can also handle simple requests with human-like conversations, leaving agents time for more complex issues.

Machine learning collects and analyzes huge amounts of data about customers, their interactions and their habits to find patterns that predict what people will need or want in the future. It highlights key points for upsell and identifies ways to offer proactive support.

Determining which of these technologies will provide the best return on investment for your contact center depends on business goals and customer expectations. But each one will improve customer experience and move your contact center operation to the next level.

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