3 Ways to Win the Technology Tug-of-War

Tug of war

In a digital-first era, how do organisations show customers they care? Ross Daniels at Calabrio has a simple but effective checklist to humanise the customer experience using the latest tech innovations.

In our last blog, we revealed how customers crave speed, convenience and emotional empathy when interacting with their favourite brands, a paradox that threatens the status quo of today’s contact centre. These double-edged customer expectations also present a unique opportunity to empower agents and enhance CX. In this blog, we throw the spotlight on technology and how to use it effectively, adding the human touch to digital interactions.

The technology tug-of-war

Just as customer expectations reflect a stark contrast of needs and wants, there are conflicting views about how technology supports agents in the contact centre. While 45% of agents say they have the right technology and just 9% say technology is holding them back, 40% of agents claim ‘lack of tools’ is the most common reason they are unable to solve a customer’s problem, mainly because the right customer data is not available to them to provide a fast and personalised response. It’s a tug-of-war between what works and what doesn’t and what agents think they need versus what they actually have.

Same objectives, same challenges

Interestingly, although omnichannel speed and in-depth human connections may at first appear to be polar opposites, they share 3 top challenges – channels are not unified, there is insufficient or unsuccessful use of automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and systems don’t collect enough data about customer and agent behaviour including sentiment scores.

3 ways to win the technology tug-of-war

Contact centres can adopt technology strategies to help humanise their digital-first customer interactions. Here is our 3-point checklist:

1. Break down data silos – the reality is most contact centres still have heavily siloed systems and customer data. Nearly half of all contact centres say their biggest technology challenge is that channels are not unified, leaving them with sub-par customer visibility. In addition, companies identify a disconnect between the IT and contact centre teams as their biggest technology pain point.

Therefore, seek out technology platforms that allow agents to see and track their customers across all channels and touchpoints.  This 360° visibility delivers the connectivity that defines a true omnichannel experience.  It empowers agents with the context and background to deliver service that empathises with a customer’s experience and anticipates their future needs.

2. Accelerate the use of intelligent automation – many customers enjoy the speedy benefits of self-service tools such as chatbots and most contact centres have deployed some form of automation of this type. In addition, using intelligent automation effectively empowers agents with more time and emotional energy to dedicate to the most complex and demanding customer interactions. However, more investment in self-service and AI is still required by customer service teams.

3. Put analytics into action – organisations know that analytics tools have tremendous potential and yet, many are not leveraging their full capabilities.  For example, earlier this year, 2 in 5 contact centres said they could not use analytics to see customer issues or predict customer behaviour. Meanwhile, 1 in 3 contact centres said they’re not yet doing any voice-of-the-customer (VOC) analytics.

The most successful contact centres are using analytics in meaningful ways.  This includes identifying in real-time where bottlenecks and friction points are hindering CX or utilising valuable customer insights to deliver a better, smarter, more predictive service.  Meanwhile, they are turning to analytics-fuelled forecasting and dynamic scheduling tools to anticipate volume more accurately and rapidly adjust their operations in real time – putting the right agents, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time.

Learn from the winners

Theory is great but nothing beats following the lead of real-life successes.  Take US roadside assistance company AAA Northeast.  Using speech analytics the organisation identified call types, which uncovered inconsistencies in interactions with members who were calling for help when stuck on the highway. Meanwhile, desktop analytics showed agents were not using the Global Positioning System (GPS) locator tool as often as they should, relying instead on asking members questions to establish their location. This analytics intelligence guided the organisation to ramp up agent training on the GPS toolkit. As a result, AAA Northeast’s contact centre leaders were able to increase awareness and clarity regarding safety procedures, reduce Average Handle Time (AHT) and improve the customer experience.

In our next blog, find out how to become a cloud-smart contact centre with a 3-pronged approach to resolving complexity.  For more ideas and inspiration, download Calabrio’s report: “Embracing double-edged customer expectations: Navigating the complexities of rising demands and digital-first customer experiences” by visiting www.calabrio.com

About the Author

Ross Daniels is Chief Marketing Officer at Calabrio

Ross Daniels, CalabrioCalabrio is the customer experience intelligence company that empowers organisations to enrich human interactions. Through AI-driven analytics, Calabrio uncovers customer behaviour and sentiment and derives compelling insights from the contact centre. Organisations choose Calabrio for its ability to understand customer needs and the overall experience it provides, from implementation to ongoing support. Find more at calabrio.com and follow @Calabrio on Twitter. 

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