When it comes to digital services, customers continually raise their expectations. They want easy-to-use self-service features, coupled with the ability to connect quickly with a human agent when needed. They want the agent to have immediate access to their personal and transactional data, while keeping confidential information protected from unauthorized users or hackers.
To keep pace with consumer demands, enterprises need to invest in digital customer experience (CX) initiatives, despite financial or economic headwinds, according to two industry analysts. “Organizations want to be sure their CX programs will integrate with other applications, scale quickly and deliver operational and financial benefits,” said Mila D’Antonia, principal analyst, Omdia. She and her colleague David Myron, principal analyst, Omdia, spoke on “Navigating Change in a Digital World” at an Enterprise Connect virtual session on December 14.
IT leaders can build a case by sharing case studies from other organizations with key shareholders, D’Antonia said. “You should also conduct in-depth evaluations to see how your digital program can benefit the business units. When you combine customer and employee feedback and share that data and insights as to problem areas, your budgets might open up,” she added.
Move to a CCaaS platform
If you want to build an intelligent, contextual customer experience strategy, a good starting point is moving to a CCaaS platform, according to Myron. The benefits include flexibility in scaling up or scaling down, ability to include AI-based applications, and providing agents with a consistent experience regardless of location. “CCaaS solutions enable agents to quickly set up, log in and work from home,” he added. “And cloud-based workforce management solutions let managers forecast their staffing needs.”
Looking to the next six months, Myron said the financial benefits of moving the cloud are particularly relevant, with lower upfront investment costs. “While the cloud rush is slowing down, the market will grow in 2023 the number of cloud-based agent seats will surpass on-prem seats in the next few years.”
However, the industry is overserved and organizations can expect to see vendor consolidation, Myron said. “Look for CCaaS vendors who can innovate and also provide your agents with a single pane of glass, rather than toggling between one window and the next.”
Other steps for elevating CX
Along with moving to a CCaaS platform, D’Antonia and Myron offered several tactical approaches to help achieve the goals of digital CX initiatives:
• Connect the dots. “Customers today use so many channels to interact with brands, that you need to integrate customer and enterprise data from a variety of sources,” said D’Antonia. But that means overcoming organizational silos and technology barriers – a difficult challenge as 47 percent of companies surveyed by Omdia said they lack holistic customer data. “You can connect the pathways through APIs or building a single tech stack that can give agents a 360-degree view of a customer account,” D’Antonia added.
• Install chatbots. If you can create a blended workforce of humans and chatbots, you have the best of both worlds, Myron said. “When done well, this approach frees your human agents to handle more complex interactions, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing costs.”
• Integrate AI into multiple applications. Rather than take a siloed approach, build multiple AI-powered workflows, D’Antonia said. “By integrating AI in different areas, you can make more of those insights actionable. We are seeing a high success rate with organizations that take this approach to implementations.”
• Empower employees. Myron emphasized the importance of giving agents access to all necessary business applications through one integrated view on the desktop. “Making the information easily accessible allows them to make data-driven decisions,” he said.
As for first steps, Myron suggested looking for “low-hanging fruit” – challenges that can be readily addressed that add value to customers and agents. “Deploying chatbots and agent-assist applications are two good areas to start,” he said. “Migrating to the cloud can help you implement these types of steps.”