EMEA Solutions Ambassador Director Pegasystems
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Customer engagement to match today’s expectations

12th Jul 2021
EMEA Solutions Ambassador Director Pegasystems
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Heavy investment in technology is being made by customer-facing organisations in a bid to provide a fantastic customer experience whilst also alleviating pressure on their expensive customer service teams. However, industry research tells a worrying story about an ongoing disconnect between what customers demand from an excellent service and how organisations are adapting to meet their expectations. 

Despite efforts to shift customers away from call centres, recent Pega research revealed that 70% of respondents still prefer to speak to a human than an AI system or a chatbot when dealing with customer service. Furthermore, the 2020 Gartner Loyalty Through Customer Service and Support Survey found that only 13% of customers found resolution wholly within self-service, the rest interacted with a service representative at some point in their service journey. So why are these investments in technology falling short?

For many companies, the reality is that the technology they are buying is not fit for purpose for the modern-day consumer who expects a rapid, personalised service on their channel of choice. Furthermore, to have a successful CX program, it’s not enough to have the right technology in place, they also need to attract and retain the right talent who have fantastic people skills that are going to deal with disgruntled customers with ease. Todays consumers demand frictionless service on their own terms meaning self-service has to work consistently and when the human touch is needed agents have the required level of skill to manage the situation.

However, call centre agents’ jobs are becoming progressively more complicated and demanding. Due to increasing abilities to self-serve, the individuals who end up reaching the call centre tend to have genuinely challenging problems. Not only does this cause more work for call centre workers, but it also means the customer is already agitated and will require careful communication. As the role becomes more difficult, better talent with more experience is needed. Yet a Pega study found that 81% of businesses claim that “people issues” are the biggest challenge to delivering a great CX.

The good news is there is technology available that will both help meet customers’ expectations and make call centre agent’s lives easier at the same time. With this approach, businesses will be able to attract the right talent with better technology and smoother processes.

To achieve this, the key areas of focus should be:

  • AI Integration: In most organisations, customer views are fragmented and incomplete. When consumers reach out for help, it’s more frustrating than it should be. An AI core can give customer service agents a 360-degree view of customer’s context so that they can approach each customer methodically. From there, businesses can build their systems from the centre-out to make life easier for the customer service agent and empower a better quality of service. By making sure customer support agents are equipped with guiding intelligence, they can delight customers at every interaction.
  • Rollout RPA: Enterprise-level contact centres are a great place to start an RPA initiative. A simple calculation demonstrates the benefits: typically, between 20 to 80% of contact centre production work can be automated. If you automate 20% of 1,000 people’s work in the contact centre, you generate more business value than you would from automating 100% of a 10-person workstream elsewhere in the organisation. However, organisations often begin with projects that only involve smaller teams and processes. Overall, implementing attended RPA in the contact centre is an agile way to generate the operational benefits of RPA and provide customers with better service.
  • Don’t be afraid of chatbots: Chatbots allow customers to easily resolve simple problems, freeing up time for the customer service agent. To truly depend on digital channels as the first line of defence in customer service, smart businesses need to unite their chatbots with enterprise systems that can do real work – not just fetch bits of arbitrary information. At the same time, they must apply advanced artificial intelligence to deliver truly personalised interactions in real-time.
  • Empower customer service functions with low-code: Low-code empowers customer service teams  to take customer feedback on board more proactively. Developers cannot be the only ones tasked to keep up with demand and low code can offer you the speed that traditional coding is just not capable of as customer demands evolve. Low-code solutions allow citizen developers within a call centre to build and change applications, despite having little to no coding knowledge – delivering viable versions of apps in real-time as they are ready.

Today, an outstanding customer experience is considered a key brand differentiator. What’s more, customers are now willing to pay a 16% price premium for better customer experiences, so any investment made now to improve it will be recouped in the future. The bottom line is that if an organisation fails to pander to customers’ growing needs, they will go to a competitor that does.

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Andrew Moorhouse
By Andrew Moorhouse
13th Jul 2021 15:49

This reads like a faintly disguised PEGA advert. Nothing personal here intended (Simon and others) please, articles by Verint are far worse. The real issue is there's nothing actionable here for contact centre leaders. The article also does an excellent job of severely contradicting itself:

If 81% of businesses claim that “people issues” are the biggest challenge to delivering a great CX, then why is there such a tangibility bias towards investing in tech?

Moreover, "...only 13% of customers found resolution wholly within self-service... " Yet the article suggests you should not be afraid to invest in chatbot tech... For self service?

Finally, the "agent of the future" has purportedly been on the cards since a 1999 article by Bain. I don't see any stats suggesting calls are more complex. Take any water company. Customers call in about raw sewage, leaking water or billing problems.

Now, all these teams have seperate silos for the three skills, but the ops leaders I know want to multiskill their teams to help WFM, capacity planning and manage peak demands. The "guiding intelligence" capabilities of PEGA would help here. Show me the stats that say AHT and C-Sat are not affected by multi-skilling the team. That would be useful. Hint... C-Sat went down 18% when this was trialled in one FTSE firm. (Not with any intelligent automation or real time prompts). Not a PEGA solution either for avoidance of doubt. But that's the baseline. I'd like to know what are PEGA's numbers?

Hopefully these comments are taken in the spirit it's intended. To provoke discussion about real issues and not celebrate archaic views like delighting customers.

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