Some observations from Forrester CX – New York City, June 11th, 2019, where Enghouse Interactive sponsored the Opening VIP Breakfast session. (Download our presentation here)
Within the Contact Center industry, the typical rhetoric around AI solutions to date has been as a means to reduce operating costs or enhance business intelligence. That said, the key to driving fundamental transformation of the customer experience is focusing AI innovation on extracting detailed, actionable predictive customer insights.
When done right, AI improves the level of personalized customer engagement and drives better customer satisfaction, enabling the contact center to become a revenue generator instead of merely a cost center.
The Current Industry View
If cost reduction is the focus, doesn’t that guarantee that we collectively will negatively impact the customer experience? When was the last time you associated cost-cutting with improved customer service? Never.
Instead, operational and informational advantages provided by data-driven Artificial Intelligence (AI), provides us with a highly flexible tool that can (and should) focus innovation on extracting customer insights in real-time.
If done right, this will enable us to significantly improve the customer experience and better equip the contact center to increase overall customer satisfaction with each customer engagement. Enabling deeper, more positive overall relationships will facilitate the customer’s receptiveness to upsell and cross sell initiatives. The net result is that the cost center will have become a trusted platform through which the organization starts to increase revenues.
Industry Disruptors Are Increasingly Asking, How to Improve the CX?
The Answer: Leverage the organization’s most powerful resource – their data.
This really sets the tone for what we, collectively as the Contact Center industry, have needed to do for a long time.
When we listen to the customer – they tell us what they need or want, then it’s up to us to determine the best way to deliver it, with the technologies we have at hand.
Today leading-edge innovation leverages a wide range of diverse data – the availability of AI and reams of transactional data gives us the ability to extract detailed market intelligence that was always at our disposal but has been sorely missed…until now.
This is the ‘voice of the customer’. Contact centers are in a most unique position – each and every day, the data is refreshed and upgraded, in real-time, providing us with customer preferences, perspectives, commentary, their complaints and (infrequently?) accolades. Properly used, this information becomes our own ad-hoc focus group. They can even become a fully-integrated customer research team – within fingertip reach. No need for industry analysts (Ha! Jokes) we need only look at the data.
The question is – will we as an industry listen? And if we do, what will we do with this insight?
Using our data, we can transform the customer experience, elevating these experiences to new levels – with the ability to propose a solution to the customer – in real time. But most importantly, solutions that are relevant and useable which have the highest probability of resolving the customer’s specific issue(s).
In addition, such an approach will then help to drive increased customer loyalty (and NPS scores!) and ultimately more sustainable revenue growth – all with the same tools we’ve collectively had on hand forever – but now, used more precisely to drive significantly improved results.
Reducing operating costs and driving more revenue. Objectives that are no longer mutually exclusive. They can now be pursued simultaneously.
Achieving These Benefits Quickly. Efficiently. Effectively.
Yet, keep in mind that leveraging the power of AI – does not require that an interested organization build all the technology themselves.
Organizations can (and should) leverage third-party technologies being developed by best of breed companies. They should also explore working with emerging/innovative startups, universities, technology incubators and academics. Using this approach, an organization can attain this desired end-state much quicker and more cost-effectively.
The takeaway? AI has the potential to transform customer experience and revolutionize our industry…if we change the way we view it and unlock its true potential.
“Innovation is Revolution, not Evolution“