The Evolution of the Contact Center

Today’s customers are growing increasingly accustomed to accessing the information they want, when they want it, wherever they are. However, the traditional contact center often struggles to meet customer expectations for an instantaneous, accurate response. Rapid advances in omni-channel and integration technologies, as well as the increasing commingling of information management and communication capabilities, are leading towards the next stage in the evolution of customer contact: The Customer Engagement Hub (CEH).

What is the Customer Engagement Hub?

The Customer Engagement Hub enables customers and companies to contact each other at any time, from anywhere, through any device. It converges traditionally distinct contact center and CRM infrastructure in a centralized cloud-based environment, while also connecting to relevant supporting technologies, such as WFO, AI and ERP. This type of engagement facilitates communications across the wide range of digital channels available today, including video, WebRTC and social media.

Customers are able to self-serve through intelligent interfaces powered by complex algorithms and AI capabilities, or connect to an engaged agent, while contextual, updated information about their interaction history is used to mass-personalize and optimize their experience. By joining every channel of communication and every source of information in a consistent, centrally-administered platform, customers and agents are able to get to the information they want, when they need it, without the need to repeat information or follow complex manual processes.

A Changing World

  • By 2020, customer experience is expected to overtake price and product as key brand differentiator1
  • 51% of consumers will expect companies to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions by 20202
  • It takes 12 positive experiences to recover from one unresolved negative one3
  • In a single quarter in Singapore, 40% of customers cancelled bank services due to “having to repeat information”4
  • 94% of customers who have experienced a “low-effort service experience” intend to buy from the same company again5

Which Factors are Driving this Evolution?

Today’s challenges to contact centers are driven by the new WWW: Whatever, Wherever, Whenever.

Whatever

Customers expect to be able to communicate with businesses in whatever manner they desire. However, companies are struggling to meet this demand because:

  • The speed of technological development means that new and non-traditional channels such as social media are seeing rapid uptake by consumers, who now expect the same level of communication with businesses as they enjoy in their personal lives.
  • Extending architecture and functionality to encapsulate new trends alongside traditional channels is time consuming and costly.

The Customer Engagement Hub: Blends all channels of communication, enabling customers to engage both with customer service agents and automated interfaces on the channels of their choice, giving the customer a consistent experience.

Wherever

Customers expect to be able to contact businesses and brands from wherever they are in the world. However, many businesses are finding this challenging because:

  • Contact centers don’t have the ability to dovetail resources across different time zones from different locations; data held in one location is not always available in another.
  • Contact centers find it difficult to offer a ‘local’ experience from a different geographical location.

The Customer Engagement Hub: Ensures customers have access to the right information irrespective of their location.

It increases the capacity for personalized automation, leading customers to the best resource for their particular inquiry every time, despite disparate data sources.

Whenever

Customers expect to be able to communicate with a business whenever they want, regardless of the time or reason. Many businesses struggle with this customer need because:

  • Contact centers find it difficult to handle international 24-hr support due to varying time zones and the difficulty in acquiring live agents for all hours of the day.

The Customer Engagement Hub: Uses the cloud to ensure support is consistent around the clock, combining intelligent automation with live agents to streamline the 24/7 customer experience.

Benefits of the Customer Engagement Hub:

The CEH allows businesses to reshape their communications landscape, unifying all channels and presenting agents with a single dashboard to alleviate the need for constant page-switching. Intelligent automation can also be implemented in order to deal with mundane inquiries and free up agent time for more complex customer inquiries. Improving agent experience in these ways increases their ability to deliver an effective service informed by individual customer data, allowing them to confidently navigate the new WWW.

Ultimately, the objective of a CEH deployment is to improve customer experience. By facilitating a consistent, seamless, and more personalized service for the consumer, First Contact Resolution is increased and brand loyalty deepens. As customer experience becomes the most important factor in differentiating your brand, optimizing it will be essential to continued business growth and performance in the marketplace.


[1] The Guardian, 2016

[2] Salesforce, 2016

[3] Forbes, 2015

[4] Frost & Sullivan, 2018

[5] CEB Research, 2014