With Customer Service Excellence (CX) being touted as the new sales and marketing department and any business wanting to be taken seriously needing to make a big song and dance about their own ‘Customer First’ ethos, Natalie Keightley, Contact Centre Product Marketing Lead at Avaya, provides the vendor’s take on this key issue.
Comms Business Magazine (CB): How significant is the role of the contact centre within a Digital Transformation (DX)?
Natalie Keightley (NK): The contact centre has a vital role to play across the customer journey in its entirety. Organisations need to consider the customer experience as a whole by aligning and connecting workflows, resources, applications and information in both the front and back office.
It is the consumer who should be in control of all interactions with the contact centre. They choose the type of interaction, the device they are using, the time of interaction and the channel of choice for the interaction. Sometimes consumers will choose a digital channel or a human assisted channel, and sometimes it will be a mixture of both.
From that perspective, the contact centre becomes an enabler of multiple channels that can complement each other to work together. We often see consumers who prefer to use a digital channel for self-service, still want to be able to have access to human assistance should they require it. According to our YouGov survey, one in three customers try to complete complicated transactions online but then need further support. The move towards multi-channel services is becoming increasingly the norm.
CBM: What do you understand by the term ‘Omni-Channel’ and how important is this in the overall CX mix?
NK: There are multiple definitions and terms surrounding omni-channel, and, to some degree, it doesn’t really matter what organisations or vendors chose to call it. What does matter is the customer experience. Omni-channel is about ensuring, no matter what channel or channels the customer chooses, that the organisation manages the entire customer journey holistically, and that customers are served consistently across all channels, delivering an end to end, superior customer experience.
That means organisations need to provide customers with their channel of choice, enable them to change channel seamlessly during the interaction without having to start again or repeat part of the process, alternate between automated, digital and human assisted interactions as their needs dictate and do so in a single, integrated, seamless transaction.
CBM: What will be the impact of GDPR on the future role of the Contact Centre?
NK: Research shows that analytics is one of the top factors that can help improve the customer experience. Collating, processing, analysing and using data, often in real-time, is often key to delivering proactive, personalised customer experiences.
However, data protection is also top of mind for many consumers. The introduction of GDPR in May 2018 intends to strengthen and unify data protection for individuals within the European Union (EU).
This could very well present a quandary for some customers; does the value of receiving highly relevant, personalised and proactive experiences outweigh the need for data protection and privacy? Whatever the case, technology will be key in helping contact centres comply with GDPR whilst meeting the individual needs of a diverse customer base. For example, real-time speech analytics can be integrated to track what an agent is saying to a customer during an interaction and prompt them to ask if they consent to their data being used if they don’t do so at the start of the conversation. Contact recording technology can be used to capture the customer’s consent. And tagging can help quickly identify any customer data that a customer would like an organisation to delete.
A lot of people are getting a little hung up on the ‘Omni-Channel’ thing but Avaya cuts through all that by saying, quite rightly, that no matter what channel or channels the customer chooses the organisation must handle the entire customer journey consistently across all of them.
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