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Where to start in a sea of new Customer Experience Technology

contact centre technologyThe biggest change in the world of contact centre technology over the past several years has been the rise of mobile and digital channels. It’s been a case of “follow the consumer”, as organisations frenetically play catch-up to deploy new technology to feed their customers’ insatiable digital appetites.

Budgets and the capacity for organisational change are always limited, and the decision-making to allocate resources to specific technologies (whether customer or internally driven) has become more complex and contested. For a start, the cast of stakeholders goes way beyond the IT department now, with increasingly operations, marketing, finance, and even compliance pushing for change. In a world of omni-channel customer experience, the contact centre simply can’t operate in a silo. 

How to evaluate the right customer technologies

There’s an ever growing list of technologies you may want to either adopt or improve, for example:

·         In-app service and communications

·         social media contact management tools

·         chat and call-me-back functionality

·         self-service tools

·         smart agents using artificial intelligence

·         video chat

With cloud infrastructure and software-as-a-service commercial arrangements, procuring and deploying new technologies is easier than it has ever been. However, the ability to join up and integrate these tools, so that your agents and customer really can benefit from that elusive ‘single view’, is a growing challenge. Even in the age of the ubiquitous API, the practical barriers to using new customer technology remain, irrespective of how easy and cheap (and numerous) the individual solutions have become.

Back to customer basics

Don’t forget the basics before you get lured by the shiny new technologies which are dazzling the market:

·         call your numbers, follow the IVR options and see if they a) make sense, b) work the way they’re intended to (and if you have a voicemail facility call it when you know it will be triggered [i.e. outside opening hours] and see when you get called back)?

·         go online and walk through some customer journeys, check out the appearance of chat buttons or help content?

·         contact your brand via email or social media to test how quickly and satisfactorily your query’s responded to?

There’s value in doing these exercises in a thorough, consistent – but time-consuming – manner, but equally there’s insight to be had from just ‘dipping in’ and carrying out some random checks – or co-opting a willing friendly to do it for you. Their unbiased ‘outsider’s perspective can be invaluable.

 

What next?

Start simple to get a pulse of where things are at: make some calls, send some emails, initiate some chats and see how you’re currently treating your prospects and customers.

Then take some time with your team to understand what your customers are looking for; what is and isn’t working well; and where new or updated contact centre technologies might add value. Summarise and review these and you can draw up your ‘Customer & Business Requirements’ and make some plans.

A specialist external consultant – aware of, but not tied to any particular technology or vendor – can help you do this.

Find an independent contact centre technology consultant




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