Last week 5000 contact centre professionals descended on London for Call and Contact Centre Europe, a two-day, annual event centred around customer experience management.  Exhibitor stands and seminars were awash with talk of the sector’s coming of age as it embarks on a period of digitalisation, with emerging technologies placing the industry firmly on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution. It is an exciting time for the contact centre.  Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Chatbots have opened up a world of possibilities and are changing the face of the contact centre – enabling brands to shorten processes, and free up agents to spend more time on delivering an exceptional customer experience.

How to smooth the path to digital transformation

The benefits of these emerging technologies are undeniable.  Take the chatbot as an example.  At a very basic level, it reduces pressure on the call centres, giving customers an additional outlet and instant access to information.  From a financial perspective, the benefits only continue – with research[1] indicating that the use of chatbots will result in cost savings of over $8 billion by 2020, primarily in banking & healthcare. In fact, leading analyst house Gartner[2] believes that by 2020, chatbots should take over 85% of customer service interactions. However, before looking to implement any new tool, organisations must define their goals so that the path to digital transformation is focused on what that organisation needs, and is less influenced by the features that vendors are promoting. The customer is king.

As with any implementation, questions need to be asked. How will the technology fit into the contact centre? Which systems does the tool need to integrate with? How will it be rolled out to customers?

There are no right or wrong answers here, and no one size fits all approach – instead organisations must choose tools based on what provides the greatest value, while offering the simplest integration for the most manageable cost.  The customer must also be a prime consideration here – and the impact of any technology on a customer’s journey with a brand must be assessed.

The adoption of technology, if done well, should only enhance this customer journey. Afterall, customers today expect so much more from their brands than ever before – expecting instant access to information, irrespective of the channel used, as and when they want it.  Speeding up processes through automation, providing live chat functionality, and digital agents will only improve customer experience levels more.

Time to invest? It goes without saying that the better the customer experience, the happier the customer.  A happier customer means better review ratings, greater referrals, increased return business and potentials for upselling.  In the contact centre, the voice of a brand, this is more important than ever. Digital transformation will not happen overnight, nor should it. Change should be considered and measured based upon an organisation’s requirements and what suits its customers and objectives best.  What’s great is that with a host of amazing technology to pick from, the time has never been better to start a journey of transformation.

[1] Chatbots, a Game Changer for Banking & Healthcare – 2017

[2] Top 10 Strategic Predictions by Gartner – 2017

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Published in CX Magazine 29th March 2019