Growth, retention and market share: How enterprise can leverage smart contact centre capability

Contact Centres have been maligned as cost centres, viewed as a clearinghouse for transactional customer deliver, and driven to deliver extreme levels of productivity while left in a reactive state playing catch up to the enterprise’s strategic imperatives. Customer expectations coupled with recent advances in technology mean enterprises need to lift the bar – to invest more, and expect more, from their contact centres and those that lead them.

The relationship between the customer and enterprise is no more exposed than through the portal of the Contact Centre – the Contact Centre is the place customers make judgements and decisions about the enterprise brand and their ongoing relationship with that brand. Simply put, the experience a customer has with the Contact Centre sets the tone and course for future engagement and brand advocacy. From the customer’s point of view, the Contact Centre is the enterprise.

Too often we see the Contact Centre downplayed as “just a call centre” – which implies a single communication channel (voice) and with that, an overwhelming sense that the call centre is an obligatory means to customer transaction management. There is no implication of strategy, experience or technology in the call centre tag. Language is an important element of perception. We need to ensure that enterprise, employees and customers appreciate and expect far more from the strategic service experience that Contact Centres are enabled to provide today. The call centre service is extinct.

The contemporary Contact Centre experience for enterprise and customers is well beyond a binary verbal conversation. Today customers connect through multiple channels and prefer digital channels overall. Email is now the most used customer channel, eclipsing voice. As customer expectations change and enterprise better leverages and invests in strategic customer service, we can expect that email will over time be surpassed by more expedient conversation channels such as Chat and Messenger. For now, email demands attention as the dominant channel.

The level of sophistication and complexity in the Contact Centre space is growing rapidly and the apex of channel communication technology and data is no better served than through a contemporary Contact Centre organisation. The rise of cloud has enabled enterprise to leverage an unprecedented quantum of data. Leveraging data with rapidly advancing artificial intelligence (AI), automation and analytics technology make for a powerful force in advancing unique customer experiences.

There is a wealth of insight to unlock from unstructured data, particularly email. Smart AI bundled with analytics and automation will unlock significant productivity gains for enterprise and more importantly customer insights that can drive a more satisfying relationship with customers. Email is not seen as a contemporary channel – it is traditional, some may say slow and effort-heavy. The reality for most organisations is that customers trust email: for customers there is an inherent sense of security in email communication.

There is an opportunity to focus on email as a channel to better connect and serve customers – improving the overall experience for the customer and reducing the cost to serve for the enterprise. To do that, we need data and insights from email transactions:

Need – What is driving the customer’s need? What can we find out about customer motivation and the issues that require resolution?

Sentiment – how can we use smart AI to better understand customer emotion and tailor treatment and services to improve customer satisfaction?

Risk and Compliance – how can smart AI assist with risk detection and enable compliance?

Diversity and Inclusion – how can we glean insights from email to understand and respond to diversity and inclusion challenges?

Strategic Opportunities:

• Improving efficiency and quality of the email process – service basics such as Speed To Respond and First Touch Resolution metrics

• Leveraging the rich customer information contained in the email to improve customer experience

• Applying smart AI and automation to drive customer and enterprise outcomes

• Conceptualising and applying predictive AI to the email channel

• Alongside customer expectations, transition email to other channels such as Messenger and Chat.

There is a wealth of data and insights, that can be extracted from the volume of connections made through email every day. Email is a channel that requires increased focus from enterprise to unleash superior customer outcomes and drive the service experience agenda.

We would love the opportunity to discuss what challenges your organisation are currently facing with the email channel and how artificial intelligence and InboxAgent can help. Reach out to our team and one of our experts will be in touch.

Author: Kirsty Hunter – Edis Insights Partner

December 2020