The contact center is ancient history. Today’s digital customers demand something more.
As technology advances, so do customer expectations. Customers want instant, on-demand contact. They expect personalized experiences and recommendations tailored to their interests. They want the convenience of accessing your entire customer experience (CX) ecosystem through the channel of their choice. Most importantly, they expect a consistent voice from your organization and high-quality service, every time they get in contact.
Customer experience is the single best way to differentiate your business from the competition. To gain that competitive advantage, therefore, you need to meet customer expectations, if not exceed them. As a result, the contact center needs to evolve; the future demands a Customer Engagement Hub (CEH). But what is a Customer Engagement Hub, and why is it the next step for your contact center? This blog breaks down four key additions that can elevate your contact center, and set you on the path to a CEH.
The CX Revolution: What is it that today’s customers want?
Customer experience has a measurable impact on the success of your business. 96% of customers are prepared to go elsewhere if they receive poor customer service.1 You have to be able to provide instant contact, anytime, anywhere, and over any channel. 66% of customers see instant, on-demand contact as the bare minimum for businesses.2
Being contactable quickly is just the beginning. Customers expect proactive contact, and an experience tailored to their needs. 91% of customers prefer businesses that provide them with personalized recommendations, and 80% of customers are likely to make a purchase based on those recommendations.3 Customers are also prepared to meet the cost of entry for improved CX. 90% of customers are willing to exchange personal data for a cheaper and easier experience.4
Customers are demanding a CX revolution. What are your next steps?
The Customer Engagement Hub
To provide the hyper-personalization, and seamless omni-channel experiences that customers’ desire at scale, and 24/7, disconnected contact centers are no longer enough – a Customer Engagement Hub is needed.
The Customer Engagement Hub is not a single solution, but rather, a solutions architecture. CEH is about bringing together disparate systems, channels, and databases, into a single holistic CX ecosystem. By unifying your CX, you ensure that your customers will have access to every aspect of this ecosystem and that they will receive consistently delightful CX at every stage. Leave behind disparate and isolated contact centers, to embrace the unified Customer Engagement Hub.
What are the 4 key additions you need to transform your contact centers into a Customer Engagement Hub?
Omni-channel architecture: Text, voice, and video
95% of customer interactions now take place over multiple channels.5 The CEH brings all channels into a single interface, to effortlessly map the customer journey.
Whether a customer gets in contact via SMS, social media, or telephone, you need to be prepared to meet them. The CEH is omni-channel by design and makes every interaction seamless. A CEH has the omni-channel flexibility to allow interactions to evolve as the need presents itself; switching from text to voice, and again from voice to video. If you can’t switch channels seamlessly, your customers will pick up on the friction. Your CX will suffer, and you’ll lose out to your competition.
The second step: Automation
Seamless CX is a good start, but means nothing if you’re not accessible to your customers. Being available 24/7 is a challenge that human agents can’t always meet. A successful Customer Engagement Hub, then, requires more than just human agents. Automation promises constant availability and a host of other efficiencies.
Online chatbots are already transforming the way customers interact with businesses. Today, 26% of all sales begin with a chatbot interaction.6 Younger customers in particular are more likely to trust answers given by a chatbot, over those given by a salesperson.7 A true CEH integrates Machine Agents into the CX ecosystem. Equipped with Natural Language Processing (NLP) that allows them to process unstructured speech, chatbots can automate interactions across any channel, and escalate to a human agent if necessary.
Automation has obvious benefits. For the most repetitive tasks, such as information requests, Machine Agents can take over from humans completely, freeing them to focus only on the most complex interactions. This isn’t the only benefit of AI; Machine Agents can assist in Automatic Contact Distribution, to ensure that customers are routed to the best available agent. They can even use intelligent scheduling to forecast demand, factor in agent preferences, and instantly create a schedule to match.
The possibilities of automation are limitless, but both human and Machine Agents need the information to support them in delivering the best possible experiences. The best way to provide this is with a Customer Data Platform.
The Customer Data Platform
The Customer Engagement Hub is built on a foundation of data, and should integrate seamlessly with any existing system of record. Your customers expect tailored experiences and recommendations. To provide those, you need to equip your agents, human and machine, with customer data.
Underpinning all of this is the Customer Data Platform; a unifying architecture that puts your customer data to work. By integrating with any third-party database, it can make your transition to a CEH seamless. By giving human and Machine Agents access to data, it can create tailored recommendations and experiences that keep your customer coming back. By bringing all your data into one place, it can keep it secure, and minimize the risk of a data breach.
The modern customer knows the value of data. But how do you stand out in this new, digital reality?
The digital customer and the Internet of Things (IoT)
Businesses in the 21st century is being defined by the digital. Society is now hyper-connected. The younger generation is particularly engaged: 95% own a smartphone8, and are more sensitive to poor customer experience than any generation before.9 Now, more and more devices are becoming digital access points. From smart utility meters that send automatic notifications when the power goes out, to fridges that make recommendations based on their contents, the ‘Internet of Things’ is continuing to expand. This is not customer contact as we know it, but it will be essential to engaging the digital customer. The Customer Engagement Hub can help.
A CEH brings every channel of contact into a single interface and allows proactive messaging across them all. Digitally enabled devices can provide notifications that prompt proactive contact, so you can reach your customers before they even notice a problem.
Once equipped with customer data, AI-backed automation, and omni-channel integrations, you need to bring it all together to design a seamless customer journey. To do this, you need insights into your system. A CEH should give you perfect knowledge of your CX ecosystem with real-time reporting and compliance recording. If you always keep your finger on the pulse, you can ensure the highest quality experiences for the discerning digital generation. The Customer Engagement Hub brings your entire CX ecosystem together, giving you deep insights into your customer journeys.
The Customer Engagement Hub, then, is the future of customer experience. All you need are the tools to get started.
Build your Customer Engagement Hub with Content Guru
Building a Customer Engagement Hub is not easy. You need the support of CX experts, and a powerful, single-stack CX solution to make it a reality. Content Guru exists to support you on this journey.
storm® is Content Guru’s flagship cloud-based CX solution. From omni-channel contact with storm CONTACT™ to AI-backed automation with storm Machine Agent™; from unified customer data with storm CKS® to seamless integrations with storm INTEGRATE™, Content Guru stands ready to build your Customer Engagement Hub.
There’s more to learn about the Customer Engagement Hub. To get a deeper look into the CEH and to better understand what makes storm the world’s leading CX solution for high contact volumes, read the full whitepaper: