Imagine you’re sitting outside a café somewhere, and you overhear what’s clearly a first date at the next table. Let’s say it’s boy meets girl. He asks her about herself, because he’s genuinely interested. He’s not pushy about it. She asks him about himself, and he answers, but he doesn’t grandstand, as some men do. Instead, he says enough, and then brings the conversation back to her. She’s clearly smart, and funny, and charming – and so is he. He says something, and they laugh. He says the strudel here is good, so they order some.
This date is going very well. It’s great for you to see people so happy.
Transforming customer interactions and experience
Imagine now you’re back in an office environment (at last), and you’re watching a great contact center operation in action. It may not seem the same as the café at all – but in many ways, it is.
The business asks customers about themselves, not in a pushy way, but because it’s interested. It wants a relationship. It answers questions about itself, and shows what kind of brand it is, but without grandstanding. Customers want something, too – they seek information and talk about themselves. They want it to be easy, and natural, and straightforward.
This is why customer contact centers are evolving into what might be called experience hubs. They help customers, by providing relevant information that’s easy for them to find; by letting them serve themselves when they want to, and by helping them out when they don’t; by making everything consistent and instinctive; and by being responsive to them as individuals.
For itself, the business builds loyalty, and reduces churn; it improves responsiveness; it increases opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell, either now, or down the line; and most importantly of all, it has the satisfaction of establishing relationships its customers will value, and to which they will return.
Frictionless and intelligent
To achieve these mutual benefits, contact centers need to be modernized. It means integrating their operations from end to end, so that everything works in a frictionless way. It also means introducing new strategies, technologies, data, and analytics, not just to improve front-end customer experience, but to manage back-office operations, and to introduce approaches including intelligent automation, which can help in areas such as self-service.
What emerges is a unified approach, that accommodates customer engagement across all channels, and that makes information available in the right way and in the right context, whether customers are being helped by team members, or whether they are seeking answers for themselves. A customer experience management (CEM) system draws on a comprehensive knowledge base, and directs low- and medium-complexity queries to cognitive bots. Highly complex queries are routed to agents. Agents and bots alike are supported in the information and recommendations they make to customers.
In the back office, robotic process automation (RPA) bots handle routine work such as data entry and status updates, logging transactions and feeding customer information back into the unified knowledge base for analysis that may be useful not just in future, but even in the moment.
Measurable benefits – and happy people
The result is contact center operations that can be scalable and productive, and that can deliver relevant, personalized customer experiences. At Capgemini, we bring together our consultancy and technology expertise with our operational bandwidth so as to deliver smart, frictionless models such as these. Benefits we’ve measured include 50% reductions in operating costs, a growth of 10% in digital channel operations – and, importantly, a 30% increase in customer responsiveness, and an overall growth of 15% in customer satisfaction.
It’s great to see people so happy. A modernized contact center will be like sitting outside that café, but at scale – sadly, though, without the strudel.
Philip Bush is the Amazon Connect SME & GTM Lead in North America focusing on cloud contact center modernization across all business sectors.
Stephen Barnett is responsible for designing and implementing core digital customer operations technology solutions, leveraging his 19 years of BPO call center industry knowledge to improve our client’s customer experience.
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