Customers want freedom to move, freedom to choose, and the freedom to create their own experience. We all know the tried-and-true approach of “if you don’t like the answer, call back and get someone else”. This is especially prevalent with large organizations like cable/dish TV providers and cell phone service. Simply incorporating a chat function alongside the voice channel benefits both the customer and the company.
Offer customers omnichannel CHOICE
Customers have begun to simultaneously combine chat+voice (CHOICE) during a call. While the caller is navigating through an IVR and then waiting for an agent to take the call, they are also activating a chat through the company’s website. CHOICE saves the customer time and gives them the power to fact-check one agent with the other. Plus, with chat the customer usually gets a transcript of the conversation and/or can take a screenshot to back up their claim of what they were promised. Conversely, chat can also protect the company and/or agent against false claims by a customer.
With more customers using the CHOICE method, information sharing across channels and within a CRM through seamless system integration is more important than ever. In the past customers were reluctant, but willing to accept the fact that the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing within a huge organization like “The Cable Company”. Today’s savvy and digitally adept customers are not and the companies that do not adjust to this new Era of the Customer will find themselves amongst the casualties of the Retail Apocalypse.
The Future Of Voice in Customer Interactions
Does this new omnichannel landscape mean the end for the voice channel with chatbots driven by AI and machine learning replacing live agents? Customers often start an interaction through a non-voice channel, but eventually most customers will move to voice. Voice becomes crucial after the customer has self-educated on their issue and then needs to speak with a person to confirm and/or complete their “customer journey”. In this scenario, the customer expects a well-trained and highly capable agent who will have the information they need, including the complete history of the customer’s path. The agent becomes “The Closer” and is therefore highly valuable.
The Importance Of AI / ML for Contact Centers
AI and machine learning is not simply the latest “wave of the future” trend, it is the way to the future. Thanks to comprehensive reporting and analytics tools that contact centers have deployed over the past decade, each customer generates massive amounts of data with each interaction. And, new ways to collect, parse and analyze this data are being created all of the time. As a result, all of this data coming from all directions at seemingly lightspeed can be overwhelming. People can’t “connect the dots” fast enough, but machines can. AI in the CC is not a “robo agent” that will take the place of a human. Rather it is an assist function that will empower agents, make them better/faster, make their jobs easier and improve CX.
The Creation of a Monster
Has our collective ambition and innovations created a data monster that we must now feed? We have developed hundreds of ways to slice and dice data to the point of overload. We may have created a monster, but we have also created its handler in AI-infused solutions to assist both the agent and the customer. Agents are armed with modern tools to win on the rapidly evolving landscape of customer experience, while customers are empowered with the freedom to customize and chart their own customer journey.
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