Waves of digital transformations have been occurring for close to fifty years in the contact center industry. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems automated manual employee processes, shifts to cloud and SaaS have changed how businesses pay for and own the products they use and machine learning and artificial intelligence are beginning to uncover patterns that drive new products and services.
The modern digitalization of contact centers, which some are even calling the digital transformation of customer experience, has the way we interact with customers at the center. Along with implementing new technologies, companies are taking a step back to analyze if they are really doing all the right things in parallel.
If executed correctly, a digital transformation of your contact center will impact agents, operations, and perhaps most importantly, customers as value is added to all three.
Agents are perhaps the group most impacted by the digital transformation of customer service for two main reasons.
While we see AI-powered contact centers will work in parallel with contact center agents, AI doesn’t mean masses of contact center agents will be losing their jobs. It is simply a shift in the industry, similar to how computers shifted skillsets from paper, the Internet shifted from in-office processes and CRMs stored customer information instead of rolodexes.
Industry leaders believe this shift will increase agent skillsets and bring increased levels of job satisfaction. Agents may be asked to support new digital channels, like social media, chat, SMS and email, which require additional skillsets like writing, multi-tasking and more.
For at least the foreseeable future, actual human support agents still need to have a presence in your digital call center because even the most intelligent FAQ section can’t solve every problem. By experiencing a call center digital transformation, you are empowering your live human agents to do their jobs better, as well as keeping everyone happier, and perhaps safer.
The main focuses of the current digital transformation include AI-powered contact centers and movement to the cloud, often simultaneously. Both of these can impact operations dramatically, but in the long-term the automation and cloud migration provide leaders with valuable information in a timely manner.
In a digital call center, software and AI can help detect customers needs by recognizing identified keywords by digital audio channels, chat boxes, etc.. The AI can then direct the customer to a self-help portal online or by routing to a human agent that can handle that may need to handle that scenario. The ease and speed of this flow mean less aggravation and a better experience from both the human agent and customer perspective. Nobody likes to be passed through numerous agents to solve an issue or spend hours digging through resources to solve their problems.
Digital communication channels also offer more security and reliability with high-level encryption software designed to minimize the risks of hacking.
In general, digital transformation is critical to turning marginal growth into exponential growth due to increasing productivity, implementation of new business models and revenue growth.
As mentioned in below scenario regarding operations, convenience and choice for customers is at the heart of the digital transformation for contact centers. Customers can often receive 24/7 support by talking to IVRs that use natural processing (NLP) or chatting with AI-powered chatbots.
Technical innovations have created more digital channels—like messaging apps, video chat and more that consumers can use to interact with businesses. This gives the choice of how and when they want to interact to the customers.