03.28.2017Enterprise Tech

4 contact center trends fitting for today’s digital world

By: Maria Montenegro

Do you really want to be held by your insurance company? Let’s be honest – as much as some companies may try to lighten the mood by telling you that it’s “nice to be held” while you wait impatiently to speak live with a customer service representative, most of us loathe the often frustrating experience of going through a series of voice prompts while desperately trying to get information or resolve an issue. 

According to Alla Reznik, director of Customer Contact Solutions with Verizon’s Product & Business Innovation group, technology advances are significantly changing the contact center game by reinventing the experience for a consumer population that by and large prefers digital self-serve features - accessible through a mobile app for example - but still sometimes needs to take the contact center route.

Reznik, who recently spoke on this topic at Enterprise Connect, pointed to several trends that are shaking up the contact center customer experience for the better:

  • Artificial Intelligence (or AI), which essentially is emotional intelligence by machines that mimics cognitive functions such as learning and problem solving associated with human thinking, has reached an inflection point where consumers are now accustomed to interacting with robots on the phone and chat bots online.  Natural language recognition technology for example has now matured allowing consumers to speak more casually and still be understood which is helping to build acceptance.
  • Contextual Customer Experience (or Contextual CX) involves leveraging data to deliver a more personalized experience that is more in sync with where a consumer is in the customer service cycle.  More specifically, providing a contextual experience means anticipating customer needs at the time of contact which can improve and shorten the customer service interaction or even make it entirely unnecessary. A person contacting their insurance company for example will benefit if the agent is already aware, through geolocation data, that the caller is on the road in bad weather which can potentially allow the agent to anticipate the call might be related to an accident so that it gets prioritized in the queue. Contextual CX then allows an enterprise to tailor service appropriately which can be a brand differentiator and positive reflection.
  • Mobile Customer Experience (or Mobile CX) is allowing consumers to more easily and securely use their smart phones for customer service. Organizations such as retailers and financial services companies have recognized how much time consumers spend using their mobile apps and are making them user friendly by designing features with a ‘mobile first’ mindset from the ground up rather than as an afterthought. Moving away from cumbersome password entry to simple and secure thumb recognition when tapping on an app is one such outcome that is improving customer experience. 
  • Brand globalization or expansion into other countries is creating the need for seamless and personalized customer service experiences that transcend geographic boundaries and devices. An organization’s customer service program is a critical link to maintaining brand image on a global scale. For example, once a customer becomes accustomed to a certain level of service with a hospitality company, consistency is expected whether they are in the U.S or traveling in China. Similarly, this consumer should expect to use the same methods when communicating with the travel company– if texting for dinner reservations while in New York is preferred, the experience should be the same when in Paris. Ultimately, a company equipped with the right technology can deliver these consistent experiences to customers and earn their brand loyalty.

Today, Verizon is continuing its innovative heritage in the contact center space by expanding its leading contact center portfolio to countries throughout Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. Specifically, Verizon’s Unified Customer Experience solution, the company’s cloud-based contact center platform that enables seamless interaction with customers via voice, email, chat, social and mobile, is now available to the company’s enterprise and government customers in countries and territories including Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.