Successful Digital Transformation Requires These 2 Strategies
Most businesses are undergoing some form of digital transformation, which will have a profound impact on contact centers. This provides an on-going opportunity for innovation, and to do so successfully, contact centers should harness the power of their data and embrace technologies like AI.
Technology has become central to our everyday lives, and its utility will keep growing as digital transformation continues. The analog world is giving way to digital technologies. With that comes more connected experiences enabled by the Internet, and more recently, the cloud. As we become more connected, technology becomes the central driving force that keeps people and things connected.
Digital technology also brings efficiencies that analog technology cannot support, but more importantly, it generates new forms of data about all of our interactions. While this represents new opportunities for deeper customer engagement, contact centers have lagged behind their customers in adopting digital technologies.
With CX becoming a strategic business imperative, contact center leaders face growing pressure to close this gap. Customers expect digital solutions when dealing with contact centers, and as the shift from analog to digital continues, the challenge will only intensify. Meeting this challenge will require several responses, and whatever form they take, they should be driven by two strategies.
Digital Transformation Strategy 1: Utilizing Data for Continuous Innovation
Until the world is fully digital, we will be undergoing a transition from analog to digital that will take years, if not decades. Contact centers are still early on this path, and as new data streams proliferate, customer journey mapping will become richer. During this transition, agents will need more support as customer data sets become bigger and more complex.
With so much data being generated from so many different types of interactions, it is fundamental that contact centers harness it in ways that help agents provide great CX. Whatever passes for good CX today will fall short tomorrow, so contact center leaders need to view this as a continuous cycle that builds on having current and relevant data about each and every customer.
By comparison, legacy-based contact centers are rooted in a more static world where analog telephony is the dominant mode of customer interaction and CRM data sets are based more on customer history than on their evolving preferences. As customer expectations become ever-more digital, agents will need to keep pace.
The best way to do that is by embracing innovation. CX is a moving target and can only be addressed by having access to the right data at the right time – in a manner that agents can utilize. By tapping these new forms of data from across the customer journey spectrum, contact centers can uncover new needs, preferences, behaviors and patterns that hold the key to today’s digital CX.
Digital Transformation Strategy 2: AI Driven by Use Cases
Innovation is only possible if the contact center can capture new forms of customer data and extract what’s relevant for every customer interaction. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) comes into play.
Agents cannot do this on their own – the volumes of data are far too great and they do not have the analytics training needed to identify the right data points for each interaction, let alone do so in real time.
These are exactly the challenges that AI is built for. The challenge for contact center leaders will be taking a strategic approach. With AI being so new, it’s not well understood and vendor hype can create unrealistic expectations. Rather than view AI as a silver bullet to address all the problems contact centers are facing, it should be approached with purpose and driven by specific use cases.
At a high level, AI can play a key role in automating workflows and improving self-service options. Not only can this help optimize operations and reduce costs, but it can go a long way in improving the agent and customer experience. Expectations from today’s digital-first customers will only rise, but with that come new forms of data that contact centers can tap to better meet those expectations.
However, in order to translate the promise of AI into tangible outcomes, contact center leaders need to focus on specific use cases that address specific needs or gaps. Success with AI will come from building a track record with focused applications, rather than taking an “everything AI” approach that doesn’t really make agent or customer experiences better. To illustrate, consider these examples:
- Make call routing more intelligent by diverting inquiries to AI-driven automated options, freeing up agents for more complex calls
- Detect customer sentiment from Chatbot interactions before interacting with an agent, and provide support with the right scripting and responses
- Use bots to screen incoming emails and determine which can be handled with automated responses to reduce the volume of emails agents must handle
Use cases for AI in the contact center really are limitless. The more specific the applications, the more beneficial they will be. AI goes beyond automation and optimization; it can also be the engine that drives the innovation that is needed in the contact center.
Digital Transformation requires an on-going strategy that allows contact centers to embrace continuous innovation and utilize technologies like AI to meet the needs of their customers and enhance the agent experience. The two strategies outlined above will help contact centers successfully begin their digital transformation journeys and ensure continuous improvements.