The Digital Contact Center
By Paul Smith, CEO, InfinitAI
Today, the company I have the privilege of working for released a new paradigm and accompanying product that outline our approach to customer support and our focus on the “digital customer.”
As we began the process of building that framework (and technology) and conducting upfront analysis of the Contact Center industry, we found interesting and puzzling things. Chief among them was the existence of a significant disconnect between how customers feel about the quality of service they receive and how the companies providing those services evaluate their effectiveness. A recent study of customer experiences conducted by CCW revealed that only 3% of customers are extremely happy with the support they receive. In striking contrast, the average customer satisfaction score reported by most contact centers is 94%. Given this 91-point gulf, I think it is fair to say there is a significant disconnect between what customers want and what brands believe they want (and therefore provide). Case in point, the aforementioned survey indicated that 56% of customers felt their brands had no interest in their feedback (CCW Customer Experience Report 9/18).
Before building our product, we looked at the major issues customers have with how their brands currently serve them and found the following to be the most prevalent:
- Wait times
- Ill-prepared agents
- Multiple transfers
- Inconsistent information across channels
- Repeating information across channels or agents
We then looked at which channels customers prefer to use, finding that:
- 71% prefer Live Agents
- 76% prefer self-service options
- 46% prefer email.
(CCW Customer Experience Report 9/18)
According to a previous analysis conducted with a Major Health Insurer, 58% of people tried to self-serve prior to reaching out to a Contact Center.
Taking into account both this information and generational preferences (Millennials and GenXers tend to use self-serve options when possible), we came to the conclusion that the Contact Center market needs an alternative to the current “Voice-first” model. We believe that alternative requires a shift in focus to chatbots and voice assistants.
We also assessed present AI capabilities and its limits. In short, advances in this technology bring with them a paradigm shift. We are here to help organizations navigate this shift, to prepare our clients for the deployment of “digital first” solutions.
The Digital Contact Center model we’ve developed addresses the most significant issues facing call centers by providing the following:
- Constant updates to digital information
- 2-way communication with clients
- Guaranteed response times on digital content
- Live Agent access with audit trails
- An Automated Self Service ring (surrounds live agents with AI, minimizing interaction with frustrated customers)
- Consistent brand messaging based on digital-only content
The above illustration outlines our concept of the Digital Contact Center and how it functions. It is our way of looking at the challenges facing contact centers and applying technology to assist in meeting customer expectations during the Support portion of the Customer Journey. It must be said: many of these challenges are the same ones contact centers have strived to address for upwards of a decade. Unless we move past the current “voice-first” paradigm, these challenges will persist (and grow) through the next decade (and beyond). When telephone systems and the accompanying infrastructure were the primary way people communicated, voice-first systems made sense. We now live in a different world, with vastly different (and more complex) communications frameworks. I’m not arguing that voice will fade away, simply that digital has ascended to primacy, a trend which will surely continue. While voice remains an important part of the present communication landscape, we need to recognize that digital customers have digital expectations: they want superior service where they live, that is to say on their mobile device with its accompanying infrastructure.
With our Digital Contact Center model, we believe we are opening a different path. We look forward to other organizations not just employing this model but also enhancing it as new capabilities become available.
Founder & CEO
Paul has 35+ years in executive leadership, sales management, and business management. He is an entrepreneur with a passion for inclusivity, giving back (InfinitAI gives 1% of profits to charity), and for improving the world with technology. His last 10 years in artificial intelligence and bots has fueled his desire to improve the way bots work with humans for the betterment of business and customer satisfaction.